One of the biggest free agents of 2012 has finally signed a new NFL contract. Joe Flacco was given the richest deal in the league’s history after winning and being named MVP of Super Bowl XLVII. Could the new $120.6 million contract have a negative impact on the Detroit Lions.
Flacco is set to make over $19 million in 2013 from the Baltimore Ravens. In 2013, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford will get paid $20.8 million, with a base of $12.5 million. The Lions are working on restructuring a deal with their former number one pick overall.
Here is a look at Stafford’s numbers:
2011: 421/663, 63.5%, 5038 yards, 41TD/16INT, 97.2 rating
2012: 435/727, 59.8%, 4967 yards, 20TD/17INT, 79.8 rating
Career: 59.8%, 82.8 rating
And Flacco’s numbers:
2011: 312/542, 57.6%, 3610 yards, 20TD/12INT, 80.9 rating
2012: 317/531, 59.7%, 3817 yards, 22TD/10INT, 87.7 rating
Career: 60.5%, 86.3 rating
As you can see, Stafford and Flacco have comparable numbers. Stafford is signed by the Lions through the 2015 season, so they won’t have to worry about him hitting free agency for a couple of years. However, the new deal with Flacco could make re-structured deals harder to accomplish. In 2012 Stafford made a base salary of $620,000 before bonuses took it up to $8.9 million.
With huge money already committed to Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh, the team is trying to free up cap space for 2013. Lions management and fans will find out how committed Stafford is to winning with the Lions. If Stafford thinks the team can contend for a Super Bowl, he should be willing to restructure his contract like Nate Burleson and others have done. Otherwise, Stafford could be willing to let his contract run its course and test free agency in 2016.
Flacco’s deal could be only the beginning in a string of record breaking quarterback contracts. The quarterback position is still the premier spot for any franchise. Teams will continue to shell out record deals for talented top ten quarterbacks. A new contract with Stafford could hurt the Lions salary cap issues going forward.