Tom Lewand struck an optimistic note about contract negotiations with quarterback Matthew Stafford today, but the Lions president acknowledged that talks will be tabled until after the season if a deal isn’t done at some point. “We’ve still got some discussion to have, but at some point in time we’ll either get a deal done or we’ll focus on football,” Lewand said at the Nate Burleson-Stephen Tulloch charity softball game. “It’s a different dynamic when you have two years left on a contract versus one. Most of them get done with a year left. And we’ve worked through a lot of those issues and continue to do that, want to continue the dialogue. But at some point in time we’ll either have a deal or we’ll agree that the focus needs to be on what’s going on on the field.” The Lions opened talks on an extension for Stafford at February’s combine, but those discussions didn’t pick up steam until before the start of the off-season program in April. Stafford still has two years left on the six-year deal he signed as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft, but he has hefty cap figures of $20.8 million this year and $19.3 million next. If the Lions don’t get a deal done before next season, they risk exposing their franchise quarterback to free agency or needing to use a $23.2-million franchise tag to keep him off the open market. Several quarterbacks across the league have signed high-paying extensions already this off-season. Joe Flacco got $51 million guaranteed on a $120-million deal a month after winning the Super Bowl, Tony Romo got $55 million guaranteed on a seven-year, $119-million deal April 1, and Aaron Rodgers got $54 million guaranteed on a $130-million deal four weeks later. Stafford’s deal will be in the same price range. Lewand declined to say exactly where talks were Saturday, and he wouldn’t put a date on when discussions would cease for the year.
Matthew Stafford extension done before season, or tabled until after
Detroit Free Press | Jun 8