How Patrick Mahomes’ Contract Could Impact Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford

Getty Matthew Stafford during a game against the Chiefs.

The Detroit Lions and the rest of the NFL watched as the Kansas City Chiefs made Patrick Mahomes the highest paid quarterback in NFL history on Monday afternoon.

Both sides agreed to a reported 10 year deal that will pay Mahomes $503 million $477 of which will be guranteed. That contract blows Matthew Stafford’s deal from a few years back out of the water, and in the wake of the Mahomes extension, thoughts around Detroit will naturally turn back to Stafford and where he’s trending in the future.

As Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press pointed out, another deal with Stafford could be soon on the radar.

Will the Lions be the one to give it, however? Plenty of that will be determined by how Stafford plays in 2020 and beyond, so it’s safe to say the stakes just got even higher for the quarterback heading into the season. If he can play well and continue to put up numbers while winning big on the field, he might just be able to cash in again in a big way.

Mahomes re-set the market for quarterbacks again, and in order for Stafford to do so another time in Detroit, he will probably have to do some big winning.

Matthew Stafford’s Contract Becomes NFL Value

A new list showed off by Field Yates shows Stafford is no longer within the top 8 of the highest paid quarterbacks in the league. In fact, Stafford isn’t even within the top 10. He sits on the outside of that at spot No. 12 in terms of the AAV of his current contract.

At the time, many were wringing their hands about the deal and how Bob Quinn got it done. Stafford was near the top of the league in AAV for his contract, yet had not made strides toward winning in the regular season or playoffs. While the same is true now a few years down the road, Stafford’s contract might actually make him a value for the team moving forward. Either he manages to start winning big and becomes a transformational player at a cheaper price, or the Lions can eventually pull the rip cord on the deal if things don’t work out with smaller consequence.

It’s hard to knock the Stafford deal now in hindsight. Even as Detroit has struggled with Stafford the last few seasons, the value on the deal has only gotten better to the point where the Lions paid in the beginning, but might be rewarded on the back end, either with a veteran quarterback who puts it altogether, or a player who isn’t that hard to get rid of if things don’t work out.

Obviously, the hope is the former plays out for Lions fans and not the latter. No matter what happens, though, Stafford’s once much-maligned deal is only getting better for the team now and in the near future.

Matthew Stafford Trending Upward in NFC North

Can Stafford be the best quarterback in his own division this coming year? If CBS Sports analyst Sean Wagner-McGough is to be believed, that answer is a resounding yes. Recently, Wagner-McGough put together his list of the top 10 quarterbacks in the league for 2020 and Stafford made the list at No. 7 overall.

It wasn’t just because Stafford is healthy again after a lost 2019 season. According to Wagner-McGough, the quarterback’s talent as well as his new offensive system and the weapons he has at his disposal helps to combine to make him one of the best players in the league at his position. In fact, Wagner-McGough thinks Stafford will be the top quarterback in his own division.

He wrote:

“It continues to fly under the radar that Stafford was on pace to throw for 4,998 yards, 38 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions in 2019 before an injury ended his season after eight games. At the time of his injury, Stafford ranked second in touchdown passes, fourth in yards per attempt, fifth in passer rating, third in DYAR, fifth in DVOA, and seventh in total QBR. Freed from the constraints of the Jim Bob Cooter offensive system that focused more on short passes and playing in a Darrell Bevell system that allowed him to use his arm talent to throw downfield, Stafford thrived.

With Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones still around, and T.J. Hockenson entering Year 2, Stafford is poised to pick up where he left off. Assuming he can stay healthy this time around, Stafford has a legitimate chance to put together the best season of his career. He’s never been better equipped to do so.

That’s why he’s ranked seventh on a list that doesn’t include Aaron Rodgers. I think he’s going to be the best quarterback in the NFC North in 2020.”

If healthy, this could easily be the case. Rodgers seems to be on the decline with the Green Bay Packers, the Chicago Bears have an uncertain situation and Kirk Cousins has been average at best since joining the Minnesota Vikings. With this in mind, Stafford has a chance to step in and put up some numbers in addition to leading some big winning on the field.

Stafford has never won the NFC North, but he has the talent to do so if he is able to unlock everything in a vital season. He could have to start winning big in order to cash in on another big deal.

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