In August, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford became the highest-paid player in NFL history, signing a five-year deal with an annual average salary of $27 million.
That’s quite a number for a guy who is 0-3 in the playoffs.
That tidbit isn’t lost on Lions fans, either.
“(His contract has come up) a lot (in recent weeks). No question, it has come up a lot,” Lions radio voice Dan Miller said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “That’s a hot-button issue here, and honestly, I don’t get it. I think he’s a special player.”
Stafford, the No. 1 overall pick in 2009, has put up solid numbers in his career. He threw for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns in 2011 and has thrown for at least 4,200 yards in six consecutive seasons. Still, he led the Lions to a winning record in just three of his first eight seasons.
For Lions fans, that is a problem.
“The frustration that a lot of fans feel toward Matthew Stafford isn’t necessarily just about Matthew Stafford,” Miller said. “It’s about a lot of frustration over a lot of decades with the football team here. Every guy that kind of comes through and wears that uniform feels that frustration from the fans until they can find a way to change it. Certainly this team hopes they’ll be the one to do that. But look, he’s a hell of a football player.”
Miller also don’t put much stock in the highest-paid label.
“That’ll last about as long as cut flowers when Aaron Rodgers gets a chance to get his new contract or Matt Ryan gets his new contract,” Miller said. “In three or four years, he’ll probably be the sixth-highest-paid quarterback in the NFL. I just know this: You can win a lot of games with Matthew Stafford. What this organization needed to do – and what Bob Quinn has tried to do – is make the team better around him. When all is said and done, when you throw it up on a blackboard and try to figure out what you got and what you don’t have, Matthew Stafford is part of the solution, not part of the problem.”
The Lions (2-0), who have opened the season with wins over the Cardinals and Giants, host the Falcons (2-0) this Sunday. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET.