Should the Lions really make Matthew Stafford the highest-paid quarterback?

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Jan 1, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) during the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

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The Detroit Lions and Matthew Stafford are reported to still be far apart in their negotiations for a new long-term deal. With Stafford expected to become the highest-paid player in the NFL at nearly $30M a season, it is wise for the Lions to take their time.

After initial reports in mid-July that a signed extension could be imminent, that has since cooled considerably and there is no apparent timetable.

I am in the minority in believing the Lions should NOT sign the QB to a long-term deal, at this time.

NFL: Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints
Dec 4, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) celebrates after throwing a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints during the second half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Lions defeated the Saints 28-13. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Going into his ninth season, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft has yet to win a playoff game despite playing along side one of the greatest receivers of all-time Calvin Johnson. I fully understand that he came into a bad situation and has not had the defense nor running game that may be necessary to win a championship, but only three playoff appearances and losing all three just doesn’t scream “highest-paid quarterback ever” to me.

It is very difficult for me to believe Stafford is going to somehow instantly become a winner. Quarterbacks like Russell Wilson, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, and even Joe Flacco have taken their teams to titles. These are the players that deserve these types of contracts.

In fact, all of the names above rank in the top 10 among highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL right now, all with an average annual salary of at least $21 million per year. Stafford meanwhile currently ranks 17th in that department with an average annual salary of $17.67M.

You want to talk $18M, maybe even $20M, I can be on board with that, but $30M is outrageous. I believe the team should let him play out the season and take it from there.  Is that a risk? Of course, but he needs to prove he can win. If he were to get us a playoff win or two this season, I may loosen my stance, but for now the Lions need to stay firm.

5 Things to Expect From the Lions in 2017

I am fully prepared to go into 2018 with Jake Rudock and Brad Kaaya trying to pick up a Jimmy Garoppolo, Kirk Cousins, or even Colin Kaepernick in free agency. Using a first-round pick in 2018, pending the result of 2017, is not out of the question either.

I am a very die-hard, life-long Lions fan who wants nothing more than to see this team win the Super Bowl, just like the rest of ‘Honolulu Blue and Silver’ Nation. I think we have the talent to contend, but we need our quarterback to lead us to the promise land. If not successful though, it is time to cut our ties and move on.

Stafford appears to have the tools, and sure, he could use some help in other areas of the team to take some weight off his shoulders. But he ultimately plays one of if not the most important position in all of sports.

One encouraging thing to see as training camps get underway, Stafford seems to be physically-ready to go in 2017.