LIONS INSIDER

Martin Mayhew looking to extend Matthew Stafford's contract

Posted Feb 9, 2013

With Matthew Stafford being a young, talented quarterback, general manager Martin Mayhew knows extending his contract won't be simple

The Detroit Lions have already lopped $8.5 million off the books for 2013 by releasing Titus Young, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Stephen Peterman this week.

The team isn't through with their cost-saving efforts yet, either. Additional cuts are likely coming down the pipeline.

Even so, the biggest relief could come from extending quarterback Matthew Stafford's contract. It could ultimately cost the Lions in upwards of $100 million, but would save money on a per-year basis.

Right now, Stafford's cap number for next season is over $20 million.

"My thought on that is that we're going to try to extend him," Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew told reporters Thursday. "There hasn't been a whole lot of dialogue about it at this point, but I think that's coming."

Stafford is entering the fifth year of a six-year, $72-million contract he signed as the top pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. He's helped the team trim his cap number twice already with restructures and will no doubt be willing to help again this offseason.

The Lions are just hoping that comes in the form of a long-term commitment.

Last year, the Lions gave Calvin Johnson an eight-year deal worth $132 million that avoided a cap hit of $21.1 million.

"It's never easy," Mayhew said of extending good players like Stafford. "You're talking about a quarterback that's your starter, that's a quality player, that's a talented guy and I think one of the better young quarterbacks in the NFL.

"So it'll be a challenge. But most of them, for good players, they're a challenge. The easy (contracts), usually (those players) aren't that good."

The Lions are nearly $5 million under the projected $121 million cap for next season, but would like to get considerably more wiggle room so they can be bigger players in free agency and improve the overall talent on the roster.