A quiet worry for many Detroit Lions' supporters was the team's previous inability to solve Matthew Stafford's murky contract situation. Check another item off Martin Mayhew's offseason to-do list, as reports indicate the Lions' franchise quarterback isn't going anywhere for a while.
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes Stafford's contract will be extended three more seasons through 2017, paying him $43 million dollars in guaranteed money. He'll see $53 million dollars in new money. Detroit's cap hit on Stafford was expected to be in the neighborhood of $20.8 million dollars this upcoming season. Per-year, Stafford is now expected to cost Detroit around $15.3 million. Stafford is expected to complete this new deal soon with a signature.
Considering quality quarterbacking has seemingly been hard to come by around Detroit's locker room since Bobby Layne left, the Lions couldn't afford to drag their feet on this issue with their elite passer, especially within the new confines of a salary cap system. Now that Stafford's deal is set to be done, the Lions will likely be able to move forward with a bit of cap relief in the future, though nobody yet knows what that current amount might look like.
Still yet to be decided is what to do with defensive leader Ndamukong Suh, the next big contract that is set to come due. As Birkett points out, that situation is a bit trickier, considering his $21.4 million dollar cap charge in 2013 likely precludes the Lions from placing the franchise tag on him. Birkett notes that would cost Detroit $25.7 million dollars, which is far too much money to be allotting a defensive tackle, no matter how productive.
Regardless of whatever that future maneuver becomes, the Lions have solved a very underrated issue over this offseason by locking up another team leader. Counting Calvin Johnson from 2012, that makes two in back to back seasons, which is certainly nothing to sneeze at.
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