After passing for 4,100 yards or more in each of the past two years and leading their teams to the playoffs at least once, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan are expected to receive contract extensions this offseason that could each exceed $100 million.
With the way talks have reportedly progressed between Stafford and the Detroit Lions in recent days, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft could be the first of the talented trio of quarterbacks to agree on a new deal. The negotiations have advanced to the point that it could just be a matter of time before the two sides reach an agreement, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Since the start of the 2011 season Stafford has thrown for 10,005 passing yards and 61 touchdowns in the last two seasons combined -- to rank ahead of Eli Manning, Tony Romo and Philip Rivers in both categories. During that span, only Drew Brees and Tom Brady have passed for more yards. Stafford, 25, has two years remaining on his six-year, $73.5 million rookie contract.
A restructured deal for Stafford could provide the Lions with the cap room necessary to offer a new contract for Calvin Johnson after the end of the 2013 season. Stafford, 25, is set to carry a cap hit of at least $19.3 million over the next two seasons. Johnson, meanwhile, is scheduled to make a base salary of only $5.0 million in 2014. Johnson's cap hit of $13.05 million in 2014 increases to $20.5 million in 2015.
In February, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew indicated that he expected the team to extend Stafford's contract at some point this offseason. The Lions' front office has been pleased with the increased leadership role Stafford has assumed in recent months. Stafford has spent a large portion of his offseason working out at the Lions' team facility and helped recruit Reggie Bush to Detroit.
"There is not a guy that's done more for this franchise in this off-season than Matthew Stafford," Lions president Tom Lewand told the Free Press. “The guy's been in the building every day. He's been living here the entire off-season. He's been involved on a daily basis in trying to get ready for the season, and he (will) do anything to help us be successful."
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