People happiest about Derek Carr’s new richest-in-NFL-history $125 million contract, ranked:
1. Derek Carr and his family
2. Matthew Stafford
Carr’s monstrous new extension raises the ceiling for all NFL quarterback extensions, and next up for a profitable negotiation could well be the Detroit Lions’ signal-caller. With Carr’s contract now setting the market, Stafford and the Washington Redskins’ Kirk Cousins are the next two quarterbacks in line for new deals. Cousins’ contract has a deadline of June 17 because he’s under a franchise tag. But Stafford could use the Carr contract as a baseline, if only because it’s obvious that any starting quarterback with at least one functioning arm is in line for a nine-figure deal.
“It’s a premium position,” Lions president Rod Wood told ESPN, “and you need to have a very, very good player at that position to be credible and competitive, and I think we do have that, and we’re working on getting a deal done.”
Stafford has one of the strongest arms in the NFL, able to throw the ball out of any stadium in the league. He made the Pro Bowl in 2014, and over the course of eight seasons has taken the Lions to three playoff berths. However, over that time the Lions have lost in the wild card round all three times, and the team was apparently in such disarray that the greatest receiver in franchise history decided retirement was a better option than playing for Detroit.
Stafford is slated to earn $16.5 million this season, the last year of his current contract. It’s almost certain that he’ll be the highest-paid player in NFL history, and it’s equally as certain that he’ll only have that honor for as long as it takes Matt Ryan, Jameis Winston, or Marcus Mariota (all signed only through 2018) to work a new deal.
“I’m comfortable in getting a deal done with him, and we’ll see where that ends up,” Wood told ESPN. “It’s going to be whatever it takes, I think, to make it happen from both sides, and whether he becomes the highest paid or not, it’ll be a short-lived designation.”
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at email@example.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.