Photo credit: Leon Halip / Getty Image Sport Author: Jon Kuzma
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Derek Carr is no longer the NFL’s highest paid player, that title now belongs to Detroit Lions Quarterback Matthew Stafford. Stafford signed a 5 year $135 million dollar contract extension with the team and now the former 1st overall pick will remain with the Lions until at least 2022. Stafford will make a whopping $27 million dollars annually and if that doesn’t excite you to play your best football nothing will. The former University of Georgia signal caller is already in his 9th professional season and is one of five quarterbacks to throw for 5,000 yards in a single season. A lot of people like to question whether Stafford is an elite quarterback but keep in mind he is the fastest player to ever throw for 25,000 yards. There’s no doubt Detroit wouldn’t even have a chance to be a winning football team without Matthew Stafford at the helm and ultimately that’s why it was a no brainer to sign this guy for the long term. Now Detroit can focus their attention on the other 52 contracts on their roster and there isn’t a dark cloud of whether or not the Stafford deal will get done hanging over their franchise. That would have been extremely bad for morale heading into the regular season but now the Lions have all their ducks in a row and it should be smooth sailing for this franchise. The NFC North is going to be more competitive than usual with the Vikings and Packers both making strides this off-season. On top of that the Chicago Bears are slowly improving as well. Stafford is the only QB in the division that can rival Aaron Rodgers and that’s why the Packers and Lions battled down to the wire for the NFC North championship last year. Expect similar results this upcoming season and Stafford will have to raise the bar now that he is paid more than anybody else in NFL history. With great power comes great responsibility and now Stafford has to go out and uphold his end of the deal. He can do that by throwing for another 5,000 yards, winning the division, or putting together a deep playoff run. Preferably all three if you’re a Detroit Lions fan.
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