The Matthew Stafford Deal: Does it make sense?
From a financial standpoint; Yes, it makes sense.
Look, a lot of people way smarter than me got together to work this deal out, and came out with this. Believe me, no owner from any team on any sport is giving money away just because he likes X or Y player, most players are actually underpaid, that's just the way this works. "Best paid players ever" pop up more and more often nowadays, I'm sure Stafford won't remain in that spot for a very long time. Pay the man.
The Detroit Lions have no salary cap issues. Matthew Stafford is arguably the only player on their roster with nation-wide recognition, you could maybe argue for Golden Tate, T.J. Lang, or Darius Slay, but the fact remains that Stafford is the only one selling jerseys outside of Michigan. So yeah, it makes a lot of sense that you pay most to the, not only most marketable, but also most important player on your roster.
From that angle, there is no discussion. But, should Stafford be the best paid player in NFL history, taking into account every other player in the league? No, no he shouldn't.
We all know Matthew Stafford is not the best player in the league. He is not the best quarter back in the league. He is not the best quarter back in his division. Well, talent is subjective, you may prefer Stafford over Brees, or over Wentz. That's fine, we all have different taste. So, because of that, it's hard to say who deserves what from a talent standpoint, to many variables.
So let's look at the cold hard numbers.
The Detroit Lions went without a winning season from 2001 to 2010. Stafford was drafted in 2009. I'll cut him some slack because 2009 was his rookie year and he didn't really play the 2010 season due to injury. Then in 2011 he came back and gave the Lions their first winning season in a decade when they went 10-6 and made it to the playoffs. They lost in the wild card round to the Saints. After that, Stafford has taken the Lions to 2 other playoff appearances, losing in the wild card round both times. That's 3 playoff trips in the last 6 seasons with no W's. That is a little bit rough. But what really caught my eye is the overall regular season record the Lions have under Stafford since 2011; 48-48. An exact 500.
For comparassion, Andrew Luck is 43-27 overall in the regular season, and 3-3 in the playoffs. I bring up Luck because he, like Stafford, is clearly the best player in a team with a somewhat limited supporting cast.
The numbers don't back up Stafford, at least collectively. What about his personal numbers? Well, 2011 and 2015 were great years for Stafford (didn't make the playoffs in 2015) ending those seasons with almost 100 passer rating. Still, no MVP seasons. The more I analyzed, the least it felt I was looking at an elite level quarter back. There isn't a sustained greatness with him, which is what you should find in elite QB's.
To conclude, Stafford shouldn't be the highest paid player or quarter back in the league. But he deserves the money he gets. And the way this works, Stafford's deal is gonna give other players the ability to negotiate better contracts for themselves, and at the end of the day, that is a good thing.