The Detroit Lions agreed to a 6-year deal with Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford on Friday night. The deal is said to be worth up to $78 million and contain an eye-popping $41.7 million guaranteed.
Unless Stafford becomes one of the best quarterbacks in the league within the duration of his contract — and if he does, I’ll gladly eat crow — then he already has failed in my eyes.
Stafford will help upgrade the Lions’ quarterback position, nevertheless, and will be the face of the organization’s new structure — which began with a new logo earlier this week. Fortunately, working in Stafford’s favor is that a year after an NFL-record 0-16 season, there is nowhere to go but up. With a new coaching staff, new additions to the defense, and an entirely new attitude, chances are good that the Lions will have the biggest turnaround of any team in the NFL.
Stafford will compete with Daunte Culpepper for the starting job, and even if he doesn’t win it in training camp, if the Lions struggle early I don’t think they’ll hesitate to put in the rookie.