By: Will Burchfield
For Matthew Stafford, it’s all quiet on the contract front heading into the 2017 offseason. Neither he nor his agent has been contacted by the Lions organization about a potential extension.
“No, haven’t heard anything,” Stafford said on Monday, during the team’s season-ending interviews.
Stafford’s current deal expires at the end of the 2017 season. It’s widely believed that he’ll sign an extension before that time comes, but don’t expect Stafford, whose wife Kelly is expecting twins in April, to instigate negotiations.
“It’s not up to me,” he said. “It’s up to the people upstairs and the Fords and whether they want to or not. So it’s not on the forefront of my mind at the moment. Got a lot of things going on personally that are important to me, so I’ll figure that out when I need to.”
Asked if he would welcome the opportunity to talk with the Lions about a potential extension, Stafford said, “I’m not going to deal with hypotheticals, man. If they come to me, they come to me. If they don’t, they don’t. I’ll talk to you guys about it then.”
It was reported in November that Stafford was seeking an extension that would make him the highest-paid player in the NFL, a rumor he quickly shot down. But the fact remains that the 28-year-old QB (to be 29 next month) is due for a raise on his current $17.6 million salary.
Andrew Luck is the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback at the moment, making over $24 million per year. It’s not unrealistic to think Stafford could assume that title with his next contract.
If that ends up being the case, wide receiver Golden Tate would have one thing to tell his QB: “Well deserved, my friend. You’ve done everything you possibly can.”
“I think he’s done more than his part,” Tate added. “He’s been in the community, he’s been a voice for the city, he’s helped us win a bunch of ball games. He’s been here through the highs, the lows, he’s gained everyone’s trust.
“Athletically, he’s still going up. I think he’s like a fine wine. He gets better with age. I think he deserves it, no doubt. I think he puts in the work every single day. We just gotta help him out, we gotta help him out. So I hope he does.”
Prior to injuring his finger in Week 14, Stafford was enjoying an MVP-level season. He finished the year with 24 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a passer rating of 93.3