Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford could become the league’s first $25 million-per-year player after having two of the better seasons of his career in 2015 and 2016 under head coach Jim Caldwell and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. The 29-year-old said most of the discussions have been between his agent, Tom Condon, and Detroit’s front office. He prefers to stay out of it for the most part so he can prepare to play the 2017 season, contract year or not. He does recognize, though, that other teams in the league have found ways to pay premium sums for high-level quarterbacks and still manage to field winning rosters.
“I know every year teams find ways to put good teams around good quarterbacks,” Stafford said. “You see it every year. So I’m not too worried about that. I know salary caps and all that kind of stuff is as malleable as you want it to be.
“So I think you just go and try to make a good decision not only for the player but the team and go from there.”
Over the past two seasons, Stafford has completed 66.3 percent of his passes for 8,589 yards, 56 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. He’s the franchise’s career leader in passing yards (30,303) and touchdown passes (187). He also holds the Lions record for highest passer rating in a career (86.8). A Pro Bowler in 2014, Stafford is No. 47 in NFL history in pass attempts (4,285), No. 44 in yards and No. 49 in touchdowns.
Lions general manager Bob Quinn said at the NFL combine he would like Stafford to be with the Lions long term, something the quarterback echoed Tuesday.
“I would love to,” Stafford said. “I’ve had a really good time playing here, would like to be here long term, but that has yet to be seen.”
Stafford said there is no firm timeline on a potential deal. He said he has “no preference” on whether a deal is reached prior to the start of the 2017 season in September and that he looks to Condon for those matters.
He’s been pleased with Condon’s work on his career so far. After the 2017 season, Spotrac estimates Stafford will have made $127,278,969 in the first two contracts of his career with the potential of another massive deal looming.
“He’s done a good job for me the last two times, my rookie year and the second one I signed so hopefully we’ll get something done,” Stafford said. “If we don’t, we’ll play this year.”
One thing that won’t be in question for Stafford is the right middle finger he injured against Chicago in Week 13. Stafford said no surgery or procedure was needed on the finger after the season. The Lions lost their final four games while Stafford played wearing a modified glove to protect his injured digit.
He said he threw Tuesday and that he has been throwing for the past four to six weeks.
“Just took some rest,” Stafford said. “It was after Super Bowl until it started feeling, you know, better.”