Stafford is definitely (maybe) worthy of his new deal

Since entering the NFL as the first overall pick in 2009, Stafford has earned three lucrative multi-year pacts with the Detroit Lions. He cashed in after the draft, signing a five-year, $72 million contract that pre-dated the fiscally restrictive rookie wage scale by two years. (Hooray for timing!) He signed a three-year, $53 million extension in 2013 that paid him like a borderline superstar he hadn't yet become.

On Tuesday, he inked a five-year, $135 million extension that gives him both the highest average annual salary and the highest total contract among quarterbacks. If you haven't been paying attention to the financial realities of the quarterback position in recent years, this was probably shocking. But it really shouldn't be. Teach your children to be strong-armed and proficient field generals and you needn't worry about the uncertain fate of social security.

As expected, the Stafford hot takes are coming at a fast and furious pace today. To help put Stafford's career in perspective, we connected with our friends at the NFL Media Research Department to look at the good, bad and ugly of Detroit's financially pliable franchise passer.


» Before Matty Stafford arrived, the only thing memorable about Lions quarterbacks in this century was Dan Orlovskyrunning out of the back of his own end zone. Stafford is just 29 and he owns every relevant franchise passing record. That's completions (2,634), passing yards (30,303), passing touchdowns (187), passer rating (86.8).

» 30,000 yards before your 30th birthday? That feels unprecedented, right? It is! He reached 30K in his 109th career game. That was the fastest to the summit since the 1970 merger.

» Stafford is one of five players in NFL history with a 5,000-yard passing season. The other guys on that list? Some randos named Brees, Peyton, Brady and Marino.

» The Lions were not a very good team last season and they still made the playoffs. You can thank Stafford. He led eight fourth-quarter comebacks, setting an NFL single-season record. He has 25 such comebacks since he entered the NFL in 2009 -- no one has more. My personal favorite? The "My Shoulder's Out!" Game. That was pretty impressive.


» Stafford is 51-58 career as a starter (.468). Among the 13 active quarterbacks with more than 100 starts, only Ryan Fitzpatrick has a lower winning percentage (.401). Also, Ryan Fitzpatrick went to Harvard.

» Stafford has yet to win a playoff game in three attempts. His last appearance, a 26-6 loss to the Seahawks last January, was particularly dispiriting. Detroit has averaged less than 14 points over those three losses, outscored 95-54. That's obviously not all one QB1, but it is notable.

» Stafford is 5-46 (.098) in his career against teams to finish the season with a winning record (including playoffs). Again, we'll go with the It's Not All On The Quarterback qualifier here, but 5-46 is ... well ... 5-46.

» Stafford has been in the NFL for nine seasons and has been named to one Pro Bowl. Out of 22 quarterbacks selected first overall since 1967, he is one of seven passers with one Pro Bowl berth or fewer. That puts him in the company of guys like JaMarcus Russell, Tim Couch and Jeff George.

Stafford has obviously had a far more successful career than those guys, but that only strengthens the argument that Stafford has never truly established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in his own era. And yet, he's paid better than all of them.

That's the business of professional football in 2017. Can't blame Stafford for cashing in on an advantageous situation.

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