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Projecting Matthew Stafford’s next deal using Andrew Luck’s extension

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If the Lions choose to extend Matthew Stafford next year, what does Andrew Luck’s deal tell us about the look of that contract?

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Indianapolis Colts v Detroit Lions Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images

Earlier in the week, Pro Football Focus listed Matthew Stafford’s current contract as one of the five worst quarterback NFL contracts currently on the books. While it’s true that his $22.3 million remaining cap hit per year is likely more than he’s currently worth, that number doesn’t seem too ridiculous after the monster contract Andrew Luck signed on Wednesday. Adam Schefter has the details:

Luck’s major deal was the second noteworthy quarterback deal this offseason. Back in March, Joe Flacco received what was the biggest quarterback contract in NFL history. His three-year, $66.4 million deal included a record-breaking $40 signing bonus ($44 million total guaranteed).

Though Luck’s deal doesn’t have a higher signing bonus ($32 million), his whopping $87 million in guaranteed money dwarfs Flacco’s $44 million. Of course, Luck’s deal was a five-year extension to Flacco’s three-year bump.

Stafford’s current deal is set to expire at the end of 2017, meaning by this time next year, the Lions could very well be in negotiations with the quarterback on a new deal. With both of these new deals, what kind of contract would we expect the Lions to offer? Let’s take a closer look at both contracts.

As you can see, both quarterbacks are averaging cap hits around $24 million a year on their new deals, which isn’t all that much more than Stafford is getting right now. However, Stafford is toward the end of his contract, when cap hits tend to be the highest.

But before we start projecting numbers for Stafford’s deal, we have to determine where Matthew’s on-field value lies in comparison to Flacco and Luck. Stafford falls right in the middle of the two in age (28, compared to Flacco’s 31 and Luck’s 26). Statistically, Stafford again splits the two quarterbacks.

Completion % Y/A TD % INT % Passer Rating
Andrew Luck 58.1 7.0 4.8 2.6 85.0
Joe Flacco 60.9 7.0 4.0 2.5 84.7
Matthew Stafford 60.9 7.0 4.4 2.7 85.8

As you can see, all three quarterbacks have incredibly similar career statistics in the NFL. You could argue Stafford is currently worth more than Flacco simply because he’s younger when you’re paying him, but also because you’re paying him through his prime. Using that logic, Stafford would also be a little less valuable than the 26-year-old Luck.

So next we must decide on how long Stafford’s extension will be. Luck received an extra five years on his deal, essentially signing a six-year contract. Flacco tacked on an extra three years to his existing contract, also extending the contract to six years. Baltimore rushed the extension due to their need of cap room this year, but the Lions don’t share that problem. Therefore, if the Lions choose to enter negotiations with Stafford next year, the deal will look closer to Luck’s numbers.

Let’s assume Stafford is in line to receive a five-year extension. Considering his career numbers are nearly identical to Luck’s, but his ceiling is perceived to be a bit lower, it's logical to assume Stafford won’t get quite the record-breaking deal that Luck inked on Wednesday. However, it might be close to resembling those figures found in the Luck deal, especially considering the salary cap is expected to increase next season. Expect Stafford to aim for a five-year extension, pushing his deal to somewhere around six years, $130 million with somewhere close to $75 million in guaranteed money.