While many are watching the calendar wane away until actual football games resume, Lions fans are busy counting down the days until Matthew Stafford inks a deal; one that will presumably keep him in Detroit through the prime of his career.
They may not have to wait much longer.
Per Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Oakland Raiders are nearing an agreement with their own franchise quarterback, Derek Carr:
Raiders and Derek Carr are close to finalizing a deal expected to pay their quarterback about $25 million per year, per league sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 21, 2017
With Carr on track to pull in close to $25 million per year, Stafford’s contract could be not too far behind. Some believed Stafford’s contract negotiations to be contingent on Carr signing his deal, but according to Stafford, he’s not all too concerned with will of “those other guys” and what their contracts end up looking like when signed. He also wouldn’t self-impose a deadline by when he’d like to get his deal done, essentially leaving it up to Carr—who wants his deal done before training camp—and Kirk Cousins—who has until July 15 to get something worked out with Washington.
“The only time I ever talk about (my contract) or think about it is when you guys ask me questions about it, honestly,” said Stafford to reporters as the team’s minicamp neared its conclusion. For Stafford, it’s all about going out to play, be aggressive and get better.
Cliches aside, the team’s front office has been rather vocal about the progress towards a deal, even hinting at just what kind of checks the Lions could be cutting to the veteran quarterback.
Earlier this week, team president Rod Wood spoke about Stafford’s potential deal, saying he’s willing to do “whatever it takes” and came just short of saying he’s willing to give Stafford a contract that would eclipse the earnings of Carr’s potential new deal.
Before that, general manager Bob Quinn sounded off on Sirius XM Radio about hoping to have some news “later in the summer” in regards to Stafford’s prospective extension.
While it’s going to take a significant chunk of change to keep No. 9 in Detroit, Wood made mention of how the thought of shelling out a record-breaking deal doesn’t phase either him or Quinn:
“Whether he becomes the highest-paid or not, it'll be a short-lived designation because, as [general manager] Bob [Quinn] said, and I think it's true, if you're in the top whatever of quarterbacks, when your time comes up, your time comes up and then somebody else's time comes up, and they become the highest-[paid player].”
The first domino to fall looks to be Carr, but even if this does take until late into the summer as Quinn alluded to in his interview, Stafford’s time is coming. Even his former teammate believes so:
And Matthew Stafford smiles like he's in a 4th quarter down 4 with 40 seconds left...#wegot9— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) June 22, 2017
UPDATE: Derek Carr and the Raiders have reached an agreement to make him the highest paid player in league history—$125 million kver five years—according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network:
The #Raiders and QB Derek Carr have finalized a 5-year monster extension worth $125M, sources say. Highest paid player in history— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 22, 2017
Enjoy your short-lived title run, Derek.