The Detroit Lions have been negotiating with quarterback Matthew Stafford's representatives on a new deal throughout this offseason. Talks are still going on, but it's not clear how close the two sides are to actually agreeing on a new deal.
What is clear is that the Lions don't have any plans to let the negotiations linger on into the upcoming season. If a deal isn't done by a certain date, the Lions are simply going to table the talks until after the season, according to team president Tom Lewand. From the Free Press:
"We’ve still got some discussion to have, but at some point in time we’ll either get a deal done or we’ll focus on football," Lewand said at the Nate Burleson-Stephen Tulloch charity softball game. "It’s a different dynamic when you have two years left on a contract versus one. Most of them get done with a year left. And we’ve worked through a lot of those issues and continue to do that, want to continue the dialogue. But at some point in time we’ll either have a deal or we’ll agree that the focus needs to be on what’s going on on the field."
Stafford is heading into the 2013 season with a cap hit of $20.8 million for this year. He's got a $19.3 million cap hit for next year, which is part of the reason why the Lions want to get him a new deal. He's only got a couple years left on his current contract, and a lot of cap space could be freed up if he receives a new one.
If the Lions and Stafford aren't in fact able to agree to something before next season, it will be interesting to see if his value changes based on his play this year. If Stafford puts together a career season and leads the Lions to a deep playoff run, for example, he will be in position to get an even bigger payday. On the flip side, if things go poorly for Stafford and the Lions, I suppose his value could drop, but neither side wants that to happen.