Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford out to prove he’s worth big contract extension
By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
ALLEN PARK — Matthew Stafford has more time, and money, to accomplish what the Detroit Lions drafted him to do for the franchise.
The Lions gave the standout quarterback a five-year extension worth $135 million, keeping him under contract through 2022. The franchise desperately hopes he can return the investment and help it have success in the playoffs that has been elusive.
Stafford’s contract surpassed what was — briefly — the richest deal in the league. Derek Carr signed a $125 million, five-year deal earlier this summer with the Oakland Raiders.
Detroit drafted Stafford No. 1 overall in 2009 and he has led the team’s transformation from an 0-16 laughingstock to being relatively respectable. He guided them to the playoffs last season, for the third time in six seasons, but has been unable to stop a playoff drought lasting a quarter of a century.
And Stafford, 29, hasn’t pushed the team any closer to winning an NFL title for the first time since 1957.
“I was lucky and happy and honored to be a part of getting it from where it was then to where it is now,” Stafford said Tuesday. “And hopefully that exponential of a jump can happen again.”
Detroit, though, will need more than one man to be the best team in the league.
Lions manager Bob Quinn insisted the lucrative deal doesn’t hurt the team’s chances of surrounding Stafford with enough talent to win.
“Yeah, there’s more money to go around,” Quinn said. “And it’s my job and the scouting department’s job and our contract people’s job to make everything fit and field the most competitive people that we can.”