I was just thinking about this...Stafford says he really wants to be the #1 pick and help turn around the Lions. If the Lions don't take him, there's a good chance he falls several spots or more--most teams after us are already set at QB and there's no guarantee another team will trade up that far to get him.
A few assumptions...
1. The Lions are low-balling Stafford, knowing he's likely to lose a lot of money if he doesn't go #1, and knowing that the majority of fans would be happy with Curry, who would make a big improvement to our defense.
2. As we know, the ridiculous amounts of money rookies at the top of the draft make benefits a few players and their agents.
3. Agents get paid based partially (I don't know all the details) based on how much their prospects make.
Now, suppose Stafford wants to take the "modest" offer the Lions have put on the table. Would Condon, his agent, also want him to?
Agents have a huge incentive to keep salary demands ridiculously high. The top of the NFL draft is the only place where players don't have to prove anything in the league to get a crazy amount of money, and enrich their agents in the process.
If a #1 pick declines to demand the sun & moon, and instead takes a modest offer, what happens to the #2 pick, the #3 pick, the #4 pick? What happens to the handsome young QB at the top of next year's draft? Or the year after?
When teams have a precedent to cite in negotiations--a #1 pick who was willing to take less money, agents lose some of their bargaining power.
Matthew Stafford may be better off economically taking a modest #1 offer from Detroit than risking falling out of the top 5, but it could be catastrophic for his agent to allow him to do so because of the risk of future lost revenue.
Matthew Stafford may be worse off economically if he falls down the draft a little, but it would be better for his agent for Stafford to get paid like a traditional (overpaid) #6 or #7 pick--instead of setting a precedent that the #1 pick doesn't get $40 million guaranteed.
Stafford is worse off in this scenario, but his agent has managed to let the status quo stay intact (a highly-paid #1 pick). Next year's top QB still gets a big payday. Even if Aaron Curry takes less money than Jake Long, it is rare for a linebacker to go #1, so it shouldn't cause a big shakeup.
Players would certainly like to believe that their own interests line up perfectly with the guys they pay to represent them, but this may or may not be true...is there a conflict of interest here?