Last offseason, one of the Detroit Lions' top priorities was to get wide receiver Calvin Johnson a new contract. Not only did they want to lock him up to a long-term deal, but they needed to create cap room by getting a new deal done.
This offseason, the Lions are in a similar situation with quarterback Matthew Stafford. While he did have his fair share of struggles in 2012, Stafford is still viewed as the Lions' quarterback of the future, and the team wants to make sure he is a part of their long-term future. Also, they want to create cap room, as Stafford is currently set to have a cap hit of around $21.2 million in 2013, according to Spotrac. This is why Lions general manager Martin Mayhew is hoping to extend or renegotiate Stafford's contract this offseason.
Mayhew on getting a new deal done for Stafford: "We'll make an effort to renegotiate or extend Matthew Stafford"— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) January 2, 2013
This will really be an important part of the Lions' offseason, as just how much cap flexibility they have will depend on Stafford's contract. His giant cap number is a result of restructuring his contract in the past to create cap room, and now the Lions need to extend or renegotiate his deal to free up more cap space.
I don't know if I would put this at the very top of the Lions' list of priorities for the offseason, but it's certainly up there. If the Lions truly want to have the flexibility to go out and sign free agents who can make an impact in 2013, they will have to decrease Stafford's cap hit.