When the Lions made Matthew Stafford the No. 1-overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, they were confident they'd finally found their franchise quarterback.
Stafford, 25, already holds franchise single-season records for passing yards, touchdowns, completions and attempts. He could also become the franchise's all-time passing leader this season if he accrues at least 2,903 yards, which will pass Bobby Layne's franchise mark of 15,710.
The Lions consider Stafford, inking a three-year extension that keeps him a Lion through the 2017 season. Stafford had two years remaining on his rookie deal worth $78 million with $41.7 million in guarantees.
The three-year extension is worth $53 million, putting his remaining five years with the Lions at $76.5 million with $41.5 million guaranteed.
The deal could create roughly $7 million in cap space over the next two years, but Detroit Lions team president Tom Lewand would not comment on specifics.
Stafford was set to make $12.5 million in 2013 with a cap charge of nearly $21 million.
The Lions have said all along that getting a new deal done with Stafford wasn't about the cap savings, but rather keeping their franchise quarterback for the forceable future.
By agreeing to the extension, Stafford, obviously, believes in the direction the organization is heading.
Stafford's deal is a good one for both sides. It gives the Lions the security of having a their franchise quarterback for five more seasons.
For Stafford, he'll only be 29 years old when the deal is up, which means he's still in line for one more "mega" deal if he performs over the next five seasons.
He's thrown for more than 10,000 yards the last two years and is only one year removed from joining Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Dan Marino as the only quarterbacks to throw for 5,000 yards in a single season.
Stafford said several times this offseason that he wasn't going to let the contract talks distract him from trying to turn things around on the field after a disappointing 4-12 season last year. He also reiterated his desire to get a deal done so he could stay in Detroit long term.
"I don't play this game to get contracts," he said. "I play this game to win games. That's the way I've always felt about it. Whether it gets done or doesn't, it's no distraction."
Stafford threw 41 touchdown passes in 2011, but that number fell to 20 last season. If the Lions are going to bounce back from 4-12, Stafford will need to get back to his 2011 form.
He stayed in Detroit this offseason to work in Allen Park and there's no question this is now his team and his offense. The Lions made sure it stays that way for the next five seasons with Tuesday's extension.
The Lions signed receiver
With Johnson and Stafford now owning new deals, the Lions can look to extend defensive tackle