Detroit Lions fans who were hoping to have quarterback Matthew Stafford signed to a new deal by the start of this year’s training camp will have to continue to wait.
Stafford took to the podium to talk to reporters in Allen Park during the first day of Lions training camp. When asked about his contract situation, he reported that there was “no timetable” for a new deal to be officially worked out.
Cue the collective fingernail biting.
“No timetable. I know that Tom (Condon) my agent and the guys upstairs are continuing talks. That’s all I can really tell you,’’ he said on Saturday. “That’s why I hired him to deal with that stuff and I don’t have to talk about it except when you guys ask questions.’’
“Honestly it’s not difficult for me,” he continued. “I come in every season no matter five years on the deal, one year on the deal, three years on the deal. There’s no difference to me as far as my preparation. I’m just doing everything I can to be ready mentally and physically ready to go.”
If and when the two sides agree to a new deal, Stafford could potentially become the NFL’s highest paid player at his position. He’s entering the final year of his deal this season and stands to make $22 million. Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr recently signed an extension worth just under $25 million per year, making him the current highest paid player.
Lions president Rod Wood told ESPN last month that the team believes Stafford is a “very, very good player” at his position, and that the team is working on keeping him in the Honolulu blue long-term.
“It’s going to be whatever it takes, I think, to make it happen from both sides,” Wood explained. “And whether he becomes the highest-paid or not, it’ll be a short-lived designation because, as [general manager] Bob [Quinn] said, and I think it’s true, if you’re in the top whatever of quarterbacks, when your time comes up, your time comes up, and then somebody else’s time comes up, and they become the highest [paid].”
“It’s a premium position, and you need to have a very, very good player at that position to be credible and be competitive, and I think we do have that, and we’re working on getting a deal done.”
Stafford is coming off a season in which he threw for 4,327 yards, 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He was selected by the Lions out of Georgia with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.