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The Lions are paying Matthew Stafford $135 million to be above average

Adam Schefter reported on Monday that the Detroit Lions are handing Matthew Stafford a 5 year/$135 million contract, making him the highest-paid player in NFL history.

Stafford’s deal is worth about $27 million a year, topping the $25 million annual salary of Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.

It’s not just the annual salary or lump sum of cash the Lions are paying Stafford that’s unprecedented, but also the guaranteed money and signing bonus that set new records.

Here are the further details, per ESPN:

“A source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Stafford’s deal is expected to guarantee him a record $92 million, including a $50 million signing bonus. The previous record for guaranteed money issued to an NFL player was $87 million for Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts.”

There’s two ways to look at this contract. On one hand, holy shit that’s a lot of bread to pay a player who has never won a playoff game.

On the other hand, Stafford has been the model of consistency since he was drafted 1st overall in 2009.

The Lions are exactly 48-48 since Stafford took over, which is I guess impressive considering the Lions’ history of being totally shit.

But Stafford is 5-46 against winning teams, making that 48-48 record look not so great.

This is kind of the conundrum of the current NFL. There’s only a handful of quarterbacks who are especially good, then a second tier of solid quarterbacks, and then a crop of just the worst quarterbacks.

If you take a look at some of the guys set to line up under center in week 1 (Blake Bortles, Mike Glennon, Jay Culter, Trevor Siemian, Jared Goff, etc.) it’s gotta feel pretty great to have Matthew Stafford.

But what is the end game here? Do the Lions think that Matthew Stafford will lead them to a Super Bowl? They shouldn’t because that would be a dumb thing to think.

So they’re paying this dude a guaranteed $92 million to be relatively competitive, maybe sneak into the playoffs and hopefully win a game or two in the postseason.

There’s nothing wrong with this strategy at all, it’s better than trotting out anyone on that aforementioned list and knowing you’re gonna suck, but it’s the nature of the NFL.

If you have a relatively good quarterback, cling to that dude with everything you got by paying him just the most money possible.

All of the highest-paid players in the league are quarterbacks.

And that’s not exactly a list of the best quarterbacks in the league.

It’s going to be so terrible/hilarious when the football team from Washington makes Kirk Cousins the highest-paid player in the league next summer because that’s what teams have to do when they have even a slightly above-average quarterback.

So good luck to the Lions on being relatively competitive next year. Hopefully Matthew Stafford is like, kinda good. I think he will be kinda good.

Is he ‘worth’ $135 million? He’s worth whatever price the Lions put on not employing Blake Bortles.

Anyways, Stafford and Clayton Kershaw went to the same high school and are the highest-paid players in the NFL and MLB respectively. That’s weird.

Get your bread Stafford. And throw some touchdowns to Golden Tate for my fantasy squad.