Detroit Lions extending quarterback Matthew Stafford’s contract was met with mixed emotions throughout the NFL. Fans in Detroit were thrilled that Stafford signed a five-year, $76 million ($43 million guaranteed) contract extension because they believe he has what it takes to win. Meanwhile, fans elsewhere in the NFC North were excited because they think Stafford is too inconsistent to lead the Lions anywhere. Regardless, veteran center Dominic Raiola plans to stand behind Stafford every step of the way.
“This guy came in and was a Day 1 starter for us,” Raiola said, according to DetroitLions.com. “He took that and ran with it and took us to the playoffs (in 2011). He’s progressed well and really taken leadership of this team. That’s what franchise quarterbacks do.”
Stafford exploded in 2011 in his first season in which he was able to stay healthy for all 16 games. He completed 63.5 percent of his passes for a whopping 5,038 passing yards, 41 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He is only the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw more than 5,000 yards in a single season.
Unfortunately, Stafford’s numbers dropped off quite a bit in 2012. His 59.8 completion percentage, 20 touchdowns, 17 interceptions and 79.8 passer rating were not ideal for a team trying to reach the postseason again.
With that being said, Raiola and the rest of the Lions firmly believe Stafford has the talent and leadership to take the organization to new heights within the next few years. The 34-year-old Raiola is just hoping he is still with the team when that happens.