Tom Kowalski is reporting that the Lions have agreed to contract terms with Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry. A deal is in place, and now the Lions appear to be waiting for Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford's next move. Here is more from Kowalski:
The source said he believes that Stafford's agent, Tom Condon, will eventually agree to a deal with the Lions but probably won't do it until it gets closer to the Friday deadline. The price of the contract can only go up in the final hours so Condon will likely push the issue as far as he feels he has something to gain.
According to the story, the Lions aren't going to wait for Stafford beyond Friday. With a deal already in place for Curry, this gives Detroit an immense amount of leverage. That is undoubtedly part of the reason why the Lions wanted to get a deal done with Curry so quickly. This puts the pressure on Stafford and also gives the Lions a backup plan if things don't progress with the Georgia QB.
Note that I said Aaron Curry is the Lions' backup plan in that last sentence. That obviously hasn't been reported, but by reading between the lines, it is pretty obvious who plan A and plan B are in this situation.
Earlier today it was reported by Dave Birkett that Tom Lewand met with Lions owner William Clay Ford to get a deal with Stafford approved. NFLDraftBible.com also reported that Ford signed off on a deal worth $40 million in guaranteed money, but we all know how little credibility that site has left. The Lions, as expected, denied both reports, saying they are "absolutely untrue."
Kowalski basically debunked both stories as well, reporting that two sources said Lewand did not meet with Ford today. To add on to that, ESPN's Rachel Nichols reported on SportsCenter that Martin Mayhew said negotiations with Stafford are "going well." Nichols actually talked to Mayhew, and the Lions' GM made sure to point out that Stafford is not the Lions' only target at this point. Even so, unless Mayhew is completely lying right now, it is evident that a deal has not been finalized just yet.
This situation could be viewed in two different ways. The first is that the Lions want both Curry and Stafford to agree to a deal and then will make their final decision after the contracts are already worked out. The other view is that Stafford is the Lions' top target, which is why they are waiting for him to agree to terms and are simply using Curry for negotiating purposes and as a backup plan. It certainly seems like the latter scenario is the accurate one, as all signs point to Stafford.
Obviously things could change if a contract isn't agreed to, but I would be surprised if it got to that point. I guess we will find out just how bad Stafford wants to be the top pick and just how bad the Lions want Stafford. If the money becomes an issue for either side, then Aaron Curry has a good chance of being the top pick. As stated already, though, I would be surprised if the Lions and Stafford let that happen. I guess we will find out for sure in the next 48 hours or so.