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Matthew Stafford named 2nd-tier, 8th-best quarterback by league insiders

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The perception of Matthew Stafford is nearing an elite quarterback.

New York Jets v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

On Tuesday, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell wrote an extensive story on Matthew Stafford and whether it is worth it for the Detroit Lions to shell out $25 million a year (or more) for the veteran quarterback. Barnwell eventually concluded that simply because of a lack of better options, that, yeah, the Lions probably should retain Stafford.

However, Barnwell wasn’t all that complimentary of Stafford. He dug through stat after stat showing how Stafford was probably around the 12-16th best quarterback in the league for his career.

“All of the changes have resulted in a quarterback who has managed to remain useful without ever sniffing the league's elite.

“Stafford has never once gotten a Pro Bowl nod as one of the three best quarterbacks in his conference, having made it to the game only as the injury replacement for Peyton Manning in 2014. (Stafford did turn down a second appearance as an alternate last season.) He has never received an All-Pro or MVP vote. He racked up huge counting numbers in 2011 and 2012 by leading the league in attempts, but that's the only black ink on his traditional résumé.”

While Barnwell has a point about post-season honors, many believe his 2016 season was worthy of “sniffing the league’s elite.” Had a finger injury not derailed the last month of his season, Stafford may have received All-Pro and/or MVP votes.

In fact, ESPN recently polled 50 “league insiders” (ESPN Insider required) to place 36 current NFL quarterback in to tiers. Stafford was firmly entrenched in the second tier with an average vote of tier 1.96—tied for eighth-best in the league.

With an average score of 1.96, that means Stafford received at least two votes as top-tier quarterback. Or to be stated more simply, at least two NFL Insiders not only think Stafford is sniffing elitism, but think he’s already there.

And the league evaluators who know him the best are the ones in his corner. "Matt Stafford is close to being a 1, really," one evaluator from a different NFC North team told ESPN. "He has limited some of the boneheaded stuff. If he does not hurt his finger last year, I don't know if Green Bay wins the division.”

Here’s a look at the top two tiers and the order of the quarterbacks:

Tier 1

t-1. Tom Brady
t-1. Aaron Rodgers
3. Ben Roethlisberger
4. Drew Brees
5. Matt Ryan

Tier 2

6. Andrew Luck
7. Derek Carr
t-8. Philip Rivers
t-8. Matthew Stafford
10. Russell Wilson
11. Eli Manning
12. Cam Newton
13. Kirk Cousins

To check out the full rankings and tiers, you’ll need ESPN Insider.

Do you think it’s fair to call Stafford a top-tier quarterback, or does he still need to prove himself among the league’s elite?

Poll

What tier quarterback do you think Matthew Stafford is?

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    Tier 1
    (469 votes)
  • 52%
    Tier 2
    (524 votes)
  • 0%
    Tier 3
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    Tier 4
    (7 votes)
1007 votes total Vote Now