As you probably know by now, Matthew Stafford has agreed to a deal worth $27 million a year over five seasons. That breaks the record previously set by Derek Carr’s five-year, $125 million ($25 million/year) contract signed earlier this offseason.
But that wasn’t the only record-breaking portion of Stafford’s contract. According to Adam Schefter, Stafford’s contract also includes an unprecedented $92 million in guaranteed money and a signing bonus of $50 million.
For comparison’s sake, Derek Carr’s deal only had a $12.5 million signing bonus and $70.2 million guaranteed.
Perhaps the reason for Stafford’s high signing bonus is because of the deal he could have received by taking two consecutive years of franchise tag deals, which would have amounted to about $58.08 guaranteed over two years.
Despite the incredibly high numbers in guaranteed money—which tends to drive up the cap hit immediately—the Detroit News’ Justin Rogers is reporting that the deal will actually clear up about $5 million in cap space this year.
Still waiting on final structure of Stafford's deal, but I've been told they freed up around $5 million in cap space for 2017.— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) August 29, 2017
That’s important to note, because Detroit only had $7.28 million in cap space prior to this deal, according to the NFLPA public salary cap report, which was the second lowest amount of room in the NFL. Now the Lions finally have some wiggle room if they want to make a trade for a player with a gaudy contract.
In the end, Stafford probably took a little less average salary per year in order to get more money up front. That works well for the Lions in the interim, and I’m sure Stafford is happy getting that money right away, rather than waiting for later.
Once full details of the contract are out, we will provide them in full with yearly cap hits, annual base salaries and more.