Since 2011, the man under the center of the Lions has not been implicated. This is Matthew Stafford, and he will be the quarterback of the Motown franchise for the foreseeable future.
But to what extent are Lions actually married to Stafford?
ESPN’s Dan Graziano took a look at each NFL franchise’s commitment to their respective starting quarterback and has Lions at # 27, which means they’re not overly married to Stafford.
As Graziano explains,
“The Lions are paying Stafford $ 15 million this year and nothing is guaranteed after that. In fact, following Stafford’s restructuring in December, $ 7.2 million of that $ 15 million is now an option premium tied to a 2023 option on his contract, and the Lions have up to the day before their first game in the 2020 regular season to decide whether to exercise it. If they don’t exercise it, that $ 7.2 million adds to his 2020 salary, so he gets the $ 15 million anyway. And the year 2023 cancels out anyway, so it’s just a manipulation of the salary cap.
However, he does not envision the Lions negotiating Stafford.
Graziano said: “They said they are not, publicly and privately, and I think he will be their quarterback in 2020. But this is just a flexibility ranking exercise contracts. And the fact that Lions have three more months to pay this bonus lowers Stafford a little lower than the others in his tier. Even if he plays for them all 2020 season, Lions can terminate his contract the next off-season with a charge of $ 19 million in dead money and more guaranteed wages owed. . ”
Let’s go into the “winding machine” now when the Lions wrote Stafford in 2009.
In this 2009 ESPN article, Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew had a plan in place for his new quarterback.
“Now it’s up to us to develop it and put good players around it,” said Mayhew.
With just three playoff appearances and no playoff wins for Stafford, it seems that Mayhew’s plan at the time was unsuccessful.
The question now is how the Lions are invested in Stafford 11 years later.
Let’s see what current Lions general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia recently said about Stafford’s status in Detroit.
In an appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show”, Patricia responded to the fact that the Detroit home of the Stafford Metro is up for sale.
“I really don’t read in the real estate market unless it’s my house,” said Patricia. “… I think the word I used was laughable. From my perspective – Matthew Stafford and I – I just couldn’t be happier, more blessed, to be in a situation where he’s our quarterback. ”
In an article written by Detroit Free Press in February, what Quinn said to Stafford when trade rumors surfaced earlier this year was highlighted.
“I called Matthew and said,” Look, I haven’t had a single conversation. I’m not trying to – we don’t trade you. Period, “said Quinn. “And he was great. It was like, ‘Yeah, I don’t wanna go anywhere. ‘ “
From the outside, it looks like Stafford and the Lions are 100% invested in each other.
However, we already know that Quinn and Patricia are walking a tightrope, with the property mandate to transform the Lions into playoff contenders in 2020.
“We expect to be playoff candidates, and those are our expectations, which we expressed to both Bob and Matt,” said team owner Martha Ford in an open letter to fans of Lions at the end of last year.
What if the Lions have another losing season in 2020 and don’t meet property expectations?
We can assume that Quinn and Patricia will be gone. But, will the new regime which will follow then seek a replacement for Stafford?
Time will tell us.
It’s safe to say that as long as the Lions have a productive and winning season in 2020, the marriage between Stafford and the Lions will remain strong.
If the season unfolds differently, however, there could be a new man under the center who would don the Honolulu Blue in 2021.
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