When the Detroit Lions and Matthew Stafford agree to a new deal, the expectation is for him to become one of the NFL's highest-paid quarterbacks. In turn, he should end up being one of the NFL's highest-paid players, as he could potentially end up with a deal worth more than $100 million.
On Tuesday, Stafford was asked about his negotiations on a new deal, and he made it clear that he isn't interested in breaking records in the contract department. Instead, he'd rather break records on the field and win games, and he knows that he needs to have talent around him for that to happen. From the Free Press:
"I want talent around me, frankly," Stafford said after Day 2 of the Lions’ off-season program today. "There’s opportunities. Everywhere in the league you see guys breaking records with how much they’re making and all that kind of stuff, and honestly, you want fair market value.
"I don’t really care about breaking records too much. I want to break records on the field. I want to win games, I want to have as many good players around me as I possibly can."
Does this mean Stafford is willing to take a hometown discount? I suppose that depends on your definition of hometown discount. I personally wouldn't expect Stafford's deal to come in significantly lower than what we're expecting or anything like that. In his case, fair market value is still a lot of money, as evidenced by what Tony Romo recently got from the Dallas Cowboys. I simply took Stafford's comments to mean that he's not interested in holding out for Aaron Rodgers type money, which the Lions probably have no interest in giving him anyway. (Rodgers' new deal, which likely will set some records, should be in place shortly.)
If Stafford does want to be surrounded by talent, it's important for his new deal to be cap friendly. In today's world, cap friendly for a quarterback is still a lot of money, but the Lions need more flexibility than having a $20.8 million cap hit for their starting QB, at least in the next couple years. Down the road, if the cap goes up, that's a different story. In the immediate future, though, the Lions need to reduce Stafford's cap hit to be able to continue to surround him with talent, and that's why it's so important for the two sides to get a new deal done at some point this offseason.