The Detroit Lions aren’t atop many lists, but one list shows how much they’ve allocated to the most important position on the field.
For 12 seasons, particularly after shaking off an early career injury bug, Matthew Stafford was about everything the Detroit Lions could’ve asked for in a quarterback. Of course that only yielded three one-and-done playoff appearances, and Stafford was traded to the Los Angeles Rams last offseason as he tries to get a Super Bowl ring before his career is over.
As part of the deal that sent Stafford to Los Angeles, with a 2022 first-round pick to incentivize doing it, the Lions acquired Jared Goff and his bloated contract. Outside the cocoon of the Rams and Sean McVay, Goff has been fully exposed as a limited quarterback.
Investing in quarterbacks has not been problem for the Lions
The Lions ponied up to keep Stafford with a five-year, $135 million contract extension in August of 2017. It was not a mistake to briefly make Stafford the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL–the failure to fill the rest of the roster with talent was not due to financial constraints from paying him.
The Rams signed Goff to an ill-advised contract extension after a Super Bowl run. That deal finally kicked in this year, so it’s the Lions’ problem now. Upon aquiring him, Detroit even restructured the contract to make it harder to part ways one season in.
Spotrac recently put out a list ranking the 32 NFL teams based on how much money they’ve paid quarterbacks over the last five seasons.
Apart from Stafford’s contract and taking on Goff’s, the Lions also gave Chase Daniel a nice-looking contract to come in and be Stafford’s backup in 2020. So it’s not too surprising they’ve spent the most cash to quarterbacks since 2017. And in true Lions’ fashion, they’ve paid nearly $1.5 milllion more per win than the next closest team (Washington) and only five other teams are within around $2.5 million in quarterback cash spent per win.
Having a capable young quarterback on a rookie contract is a cheat code to build a playoff-caliber roster. It’s also a luxury the Lions have not had for a long time, though that’s got a chance to change with the 2022 draft. Reducing the money doled out to the starting quarterback will be a big step toward accelerating the rebuild.