Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has earned midseason MVP chatter in leading his team beyond what many expected, and with his contract set to expire in 2017, he will explore an extension with Detroit after the season. Stafford's agents will seek a deal that would top Aaron Rodgers at $25 million per season, league sources said, a target they envisioned before the season and one bolstered by his excellent play.

Stafford, 28, already has secured two massive deals and is signed through 2017. He is set to make $16.5 million next season. With quarterback salaries soaring -- in many cases for less-accomplished passers -- the veteran is primed to cash in again. Letting a quarterback of his caliber play into his lame duck season is not ideal, and while the Lions would franchise him in 2018, that figure alone could be inching up to $25 million for one season by then.

Lions rookie general manager Bob Quinn never has done a deal of this magnitude, but Stafford has built a compelling case since the middle of last season when Jim Bob Cooter took over as offensive coordinator. Since Cooter was promoted last November, Stafford has the NFL's fourth-best passer rating (103.4), second-most touchdown passes (38 in 18 games) and sixth-best interception ratio (1.4). And that's despite suffering the third-most sacks (48).