Matthew Stafford just signed the deal of a lifetime. And the Lions locked up their quarterback for the long run.
On Monday night, as first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Lions and Stafford agreed to a five-year extension that is expected to make him the highest-paid player ever. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the deal is worth $135 million, which comes out to $27 million per year.
The Lions confirmed the news, though they didn't announce any financial figures.
Stafford was entering the final year of his contract that paid him $17,666,667 per year, per Spotrac. Before Stafford signed his extension, the highest-paid player in the NFL was Derek Carr, who makes $25 million per year after signing his new deal in June. His reign didn't last long.
The idea of Stafford becoming the highest-paid player in NFL history might come as a surprise given his quality of play over the years (he's a solid, not great quarterback), but the fact that they made him an offer he couldn't turn down shouldn't. The Lions were never going to let him hit the open market. For Stafford, it was always a matter of when -- not if -- he'd get a new contract. There just aren't enough good quarterbacks to go around. So when a team gets one who's capable of leading a team to the playoffs, it doesn't let him walk for free, even if that means overpaying him. That's just the way the NFL quarterback market works.
Stafford, 29, joined the Lions in 2009 as the top overall pick in the draft. Injuries derailed the first two years of his career, but beginning in 2011, Stafford began demonstrating why he was such a highly touted prospect. Since entering the league, Stafford ranks eighth in passing yards and ninth in passing touchdowns. Last year, Stafford experienced one of the best years of his career under offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, completing 65.3 percent of his passes for 4,327 yards, 24 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and a 93.3 passer rating. He broke Peyton Manning's single-season record for the most fourth-quarter comebacks. Some even regarded him as an MVP candidate before his numbers faded down the stretch due to a finger injury.
Golden Tate is pumped:
Quarterbacks around the league should also be giddy about Stafford's new contract, because it resets the market. As it stands, top quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan are due for extensions in the near future.
Most importantly, though, let's check in with Kirk Cousins, who is entering his second straight season under the franchise tag and could be poised to sign a massive contract next year: