Is Matthew Stafford Worthy of his New Contract?
Move over, Derek Carr. A new player earns the title of “Richest Player”. Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions inked a 5 year extension, worth $135 million. The question that is being asked now, is Stafford worth that much and should have the Lions paid that amount?
Stafford’s Contract Comparison
Matthew Stafford is the highest paid, of course. But how does his contract compare with the top ten highest paid contracts in the NFL? Lets see. (paid per year)
Matthew Stafford new contract gets him $27 million a year.
Derek Carr = $25 million per year.
Andrew Luck = $24.6 million.
Carson Palmer = $24.4 million.
Drew Brees = $24.3 million.
Kirk Cousins = $23.9 million.
Joe Flacco = $22.1 million.
Aaron Rodgers = $22 million.
Russell Wilson = $21.9 million.
Ben Roethlisberger = $21.85 million.
So Stafford’s contract is $2 million more than Carr’s contract (2nd). That may not sound like a BIG gap, but it is a pretty decent gap, considering the top ten. The gap between the top contract to the 2nd highest contract is larger than the gap between the 2nd, and 6th contracts.
NFL teams have a bad habit of wanting to pay “Their” quarterback the highest amount. Just this year, you can see the salaries rise in the quarterback position. Andrew Luck became the highest paid QB, than Carr became the highest paid, etc. This is nothing new, but most of the time, the teams do not pay “A lot” over the next highest contract. Just enough to give their player satisfaction that they are the highest paid. When Carr edged out Luck for highest paid, it was only by $0.4 million. That is why the top ten contracts are very close to each other in value. Because a team will barely edge out the other teams to give their player the highest amount.
However, I guess the Lions did not get the memo, and decided to pay Stafford $2 MILLION more than the “then” highest paid contract. So, the Lions went a little overboard with Stafford.
Is Stafford Worth his Contract?
It depends on what you look at. Statistically, Stafford is pretty good. He leads the Detroit Lions records in multiple passing stats. Stafford is only 1 of 5 QB’s in the history of the NFL to pass for 5,000 yards or more. So statistically, he is worth quite a bit.
Now, if you look at just pure gameplay, and WINNING…That’s when it gets a little murky. Stafford has 25 4th-quarter comebacks since 2009, most in the NFL over that time. Plus, he had 8 comebacks last season, which was a NFL record. So, he could be considered “Clutch”.
However, Matthew Stafford overall record is not that impressive. Overall, Stafford has a record of 51-58. That is not great. Only two other quarterbacks of the top ten paid have an overall losing record. One is Kirk Cousins, who is on the Redskins, so that is understandable. The other one is Derek Carr, who proved himself last season, and was in contention for the League MVP, until getting injured. Plus, Stafford has never won a playoff game, so there is another little fact.
Should the Lions have given Stafford this Contract?
This is the big question. I think that Stafford is an underrated quarterback in the NFL, and does not get enough attention. From the Lions point of view, they are not a super-stacked team, and they need to keep any talent that they can. Stafford may not be the best, but he is the best that they have seen, and probably will ever have for a long time. So it is understandable why they would want to just give Stafford a bunch of money, and not have to worry about the QB position for a long time. And with how NFL teams are working contracts nowadays, you do not have to be the best in the League to get the most money, you just have to be valuable to the team.
Flacco is valuable to the ravens, so he gets paid a lot. No one thinks he is a Top Ten QB, but he is not getting paid based on comparison to other QB’s. He gets the money by being valuable to the Ravens. Same applies to Stafford. Yes, no one in their right mind honestly thinks that he is the best player in the NFL, but he is very, very valuable to the Lions, and that is why he is getting paid $27 million this year.
However, one little issue that I see with the Stafford contract is that he is getting paid $2 million more than the previously highest salary. Other teams usually just barely edge out the top contract, but the Lions went a little overboard with Stafford. I have a feeling that they could have paid Stafford $25.5 million, and have saved 1 and a half million dollars a year, and still claim him as the highest paid man in the NFL. However, it is what it is., and remember Sports Reaction Nation, be the best sports fan you can possibly be.
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