The value of an elite quarterback is something many people aren’t even willing to debate. “Pay him what he wants,” fans often say of his franchise quarterback, especially if they’ve just won their team a superbowl.
Of course, if you can get one of the best quarterbacks in the league with a rookie contract, you’ve basically found the Game Genie of building an NFL team, and you’re bound to see immediate success.
Otherwise, the way the NFL works is simply this: If you have a top 10 quarterback in this league, you will pay him as a top 5 quarterback, maybe even a top-one quarterback, and that means that today, disbursing the minus $ 30 million a year.
And that’s why Matthew Stafford is number 4 on our list of the best salary cap deals for the Detroit Lions 2020.
Reminder: This list is based on 2020 caps only, not the entire contract. Also, 2020 rookies are not included in the list as several remain unsigned.
Cap shot 2020: $ 21.3 million
2020 top success ranking: 14th among quarterbacks
Matthew Stafford’s contract is extremely affordable for a very simple reason. He signed his extension three years ago. This is also the cheapest year on his deal, apart from the season he signed the contract. Next year, his compounding shot will jump to $ 33 million, which is currently slated to be the seventh highest cap number for 2021 among quarterbacks.
But just look at some of the quarterbacks before Stafford in the 2020 cap: Jared Goff ($ 28.8M), Jimmy Garoppolo ($ 26M), Philip Rivers ($ 25M), Ryan Tannehill ($ 22.5), Derek Carr ($ 21.5 M), Alex Smith ($ 21.4M), Jacoby Brissett ($ 21.4M). I think it’s safe to say that Stafford is better than most, if not all, of these listed quarterbacks.
Not convinced? Let’s take statistics from the last three seasons:
Stafford: 65.6 comp. %, 7.6 Y / A, 97.0 pin rate, 69 TD, 26 INT
Goff: 63.3 comp. %, 7.9 Y / A, 95.4 passer rating, 82 TD, 35 INT
Garoppolo: 67.6 comp. %, 8.4 Y / A, 99.2 passer rating, 39 TDs, 21 INTs
Rivers: 65.5 comp. %, 8.0 Y / A, 96.2 passer rating, 83 TDs, 42 INTs
Tannehill: 67.3 comp. %, 8.4 Y / A, 105.4 passer rating, 39 TD, 15 INT
Carr: 67.4 comp. %, 7.3 Y / A, 93.7 passer rating, 62 TD, 31 INT
Smith: 65.5 comp. %, 7.4 Y / A, 97.2 passer rating, 36 TD, 10 INT
Brissett: 59.8 comp. %, 6.6 Y / A, 84.6 passer rating, 31 TDs, 13 INTs
In addition to Garoppolo and Tannehill, Stafford has featured better stats than everyone else on that list.
And as we all saw last year, he took his game to an even higher level when combined with Darrell Bevell’s aggressive airstrike. While his three-year average for yards per attempt was just 7.6, it was 8.6 in 2019 alone. In fact, if we just follow last year’s statistics, Stafford outperforms everyone on the list with the exception of Ryan Tannehill.
Of course, Stafford only played in eight games last season, and it remains to be seen if he could maintain that kind of pace throughout the season. This year, however, it has an even more impressive supporting weapon roster. If the Lions’ offensive patchwork line can stay together for four months, Stafford could be one of the biggest bargains among all NFL quarterbacks in 2020. Obviously, there are boys on his rookie contracts: Kyler Murray ($ 8.1M), Lamar Jackson ($ 2.6M), Daniel Jones ($ 5.9M), who have ridiculously valuable contracts, but among those who are not on their first NFL contracts, Stafford’s looks pretty good for next season.
Top 10 Detroit Lions salary cap values for 2020:
10. TJ Hockenson
9. Duron Harmon
8. Desmond Trufant
7. Matt Prater
6. Joe Dahl
5. Da’Shawn Hand
4. Matthew Stafford