You will look at the numbers being reported on the new deal for Detroit Lions quarterback Matt Stafford, one that , and you will scoff.
You will look at his record against teams with records better than .500, and him never having won a playoff game, and it will make you seethe.
Here's the justification: If you have a franchise passer, you have to do everything to make sure you keep him around. You can't play the game of signing journeyman also-rans like Josh McCown, Brian Hoyer or Ryan Fitzpatrick every year and expect to compete. Plus, it was Stafford's time. He was in the final year of his deal, so the Lions had to be proactive for a guy they clearly like.
That's the thing with these quarterback contracts: The biggest one goes to the next guy up on a team that feels it has their franchise guy.
Earlier this year, it was Oakland's Derek Carr. Now it's Stafford. Then it will be Matt Ryan. On and on it goes. That's because without one, you are stuck being the Jaguars or Browns, and money to try and fix a spot that seems to be getting tougher to fill by the year.
Yet as news of the Stafford deal hit, the quarterback vultures swooped in for the kill. They picked apart the Stafford carcass, laying it bare for the world to see. You would think his name was Matt Saracen from "Friday Night Lights" and not Matt Stafford.
They point to Stafford never winning a playoff game, with an 0-3 record.
Tim Tebow has more career playoff wins than Stafford😂— Jack Roy-Becker (@jroybecker) August 29, 2017
And tom Brady is making like 14 million ....— Believe In Brady (@JayHates666) August 29, 2017
They point to his 5-46 record against teams with a winning record, which means he stinks. Well, guess what: Rodgers, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan all have losing records against teams with winning records. Stafford's overall record is 51-58, which is another bullet to fire against him.
He's a come close guy....unreal money for a come close guy...— Mike North (@North2North) August 29, 2017
They also say he pads his stats late in games.
The reality is Stafford is a damn good quarterback who is probably a little underrated, especially when you consider what he has dealt with as a starting quarterback.
A quarterback's two best friends are a running game and a good defense. Since 2009, Stafford's first year, here are the Lions' rankings in scoring defense: 32nd, 19th, 23rd, 27th, 15th, third, 23rd and 13th. The year the Lions were No. 3 in 2014, they went 11-5. See a correlation?
I once went around asking star quarterbacks if they would rather have a big-play receiver or a top-five defense. They all answered the same: Give me the defense. It makes life a lot easier.
So does a running game. Yet here are the offensive rushing numbers in Stafford's time with the Lions: 24th, 23rd, 29th, 23rd, 17th, 28th, 32nd and 30th. That's repulsive.
Still, some will say Stafford has been a garbage-time quarterback, but the reality is he has been carrying this team. It helped he had Calvin Johnson until last season, but Stafford has been significantly better than most think despite having little help from the two key areas. In the past six seasons, starting in 2011, he has averaged 4,583.5 yards passing. The only passers with more yards in that time span are Drew Brees and Ryan.
Stafford also has 168 touchdown passes in that time, which ranks sixth behind Brees, Rodgers, Brady, Philip Rivers and Ryan. His 87 interceptions in that time frame are the fifth most, but Rivers has 98 and Brees has 88. Ryan has 80. So the idea he is a turnover machine is a little exaggerated.
The problem with Stafford is he's a gunslinger. He will take chances that others won't, and sometimes the results are bad. But that same mentality is why he can fire a rifle shot for a big play into tight coverage. He doesn't play scared. I love that.
When Stafford was the first overall pick in 2009, he came to the Lions with the hope that their quarterback chasing would be over for a long time. He has done just that, and in the process he has made a ton of money.
As one of the last draft classes before the rookie wage scale, he cashed in on his first deal, getting $72 million. That means since he's 29 now, he will be a $200 million man by the time he is 33 if details of this contract are accurate.
That's unreal. Let's just say Stafford came into the league at the right time.
This was a move that had to be made. Stafford has proven to be far better than his critics think. He has never had much help, yet he's the only Lions quarterback to have two seasons of double-digit victories.
So Lions fans need to get used to his daring ways, his ability to fit passes into tight windows that make your jaw drop and his chancy throws that make you throw things at the TV. That's who he is now, but if the Lions get more help and actually play good defense and run the ball, Stafford can be even better.
Is he worth the $27 million per season? Not when you consider what the top guys are making, but that's the market now, so deal with it.
He's a lot better than you think.
And would you rather be chasing McCown, Hoyer or Fitzpatrick every year? Yep, didn't think so.