We are deep into the NFL’s offseason, which means one thing: lists. But it’s not just our PODcast that is starting to rank players, and it isn’t all a Detroit Lions slam-fest by Pro Football Focus. No, some outlets are actually paying the Lions compliments.
Take, for example, former NFL quarterback David Carr. Carr had a small segment for "NFL Now" on who he believed were the three most underrated quarterbacks in the league. He chose his brother, Derek Carr, at No. 3 and placed Philip Rivers at 2. But it was Matthew Stafford who topped the list.
Here’s what Carr had to say about the Lions quarterback:
"He’s done a great job, even towards the end of last year, was playing as good as any quarterback in the league. Has every throw in the book. The guy can throw from all angles, he can move around, he’s sneaky athletic, he’s got a laser rocket arm, as they like to say. So Matthew Stafford is my No. 1 most underrated quarterback. Watch out for the Lions this year."
How much a quarterback is underrated is a tough unit to measure. In terms of finances, Stafford will be paid the sixth most of any quarterback in 2016, meaning the Lions value him quite a bit. However, when looking at the average salary per year in his current contract, Stafford falls all the way to 17th.
If you’re talking about overall perception of Stafford, that’s a different story. Going into last season, Stafford was considered a middle-of-the-road quarterback. Depending on your power ranking source, Stafford landed anywhere between the 10th best and 20th best quarterback in the league. Most opinions had the quarterback ranked around 13th or 14th in the league.
So how does that compare to Stafford’s actual output? Well, of course, that depends on what measurement you prefer to use. Last season, by using Football Outsiders’ DVOA and DYAR statistics, Stafford ranked 10th and ninth respectively. By QBR, he was 14th. By passer rating, he was ninth.
So by most measures, Stafford was between 10th and 14th in the league. His average salary lands him at 17th in the league, and the general perception of him going into last season was a mid-tier quarterback ranked about 14th. In other words, Stafford does appear to be underrated, but not by all that much.