Matthew Stafford‘s underwhelming 2018 season has led some to wonder whether he’ll be sticking in Detroit long-term. Both Stafford and Lions head coach Matt Patricia have made it clear that the former No. 1 overall pick is in it for the long haul.
“I think there’s something special about a guy getting a chance to play his entire career in one place,” Stafford told ESPN’s Michael Rothstein. “Not many guys get to do that these days. I would love to be one of those guys.”
Patricia seemed to echo that logic, stating that Stafford, 30, will be back under center come the start of the 2019 season.
“We’re in a situation where Matt Stafford‘s our quarterback,” Patricia said (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com). “That’s what it is. I think the world of the guy.”
Of course, the pairing has more to do with money than sentiment. Prior to the 2017 season, Stafford inked a lucrative five-year, $135M contract that includes $92M in guaranteed money (the deal kicked in at the beginning of this season). His base salary is fully guaranteed in 2019, and his salary cap hit is at $29.5M. The team also doesn’t have an easy out via trade; the Lions would face a $30M cap hit if they dealt Stafford.
In other words, it’s in the organization’s best financial interest to give Stafford at least another season at the helm.
Still, despite the monetary implications, that hasn’t stopped some pundits from questioning if the Lions (5-10) could start hunting for a new signal-caller. Last month, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com wondered if the “culture change” in Detroit would eventually lead to the Lions seeking a new quarterback. As PFR's Andrew Ortenberg pointed out, it’s much more likely the team eyes a coaching change, potentially at offensive coordinator.
Stafford is on track to finish his first season with fewer than 4,000 passing yards since 2011. In 15 games, Stafford has completed 66.3-percent of his passes for 3,511 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.
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While many quarterbacks have thrown passes for the Detroit Lions over the years, this quiz only lists the signal callers who led the team in passing yards in the years displayed. The Lions were called the Portsmouth Spartans from 1930-1933.