Most NFL quarterbacks are still thinking about earning their rookie contracts at age 25.
Not Matthew Stafford.
Any time a quarterback gets a contract anything, it's always major news and hotly contested about whether or it the money was "deserved." This extension will be no exception, especially considering how up and down Stafford's career has been through four seasons.
The deal keeps Stafford in Detroit until 2017 at an average rate of $15.3 million per year. This sounds like a lot (and it is), but the deal is actually a win for the Lions considering he was slated for over $20 million in each of his next two years.
Stafford is certainly on the hook now to show that he's worth the "pretty good but not elite" tier of quarterback money this contract gives him. According to Spotrac.com, Stafford's average salary is now sixth among quarterbacks, just below Tony Romo (fifth) but above Eli Manning (seventh).
But that's the wrong company to be comparing him to, isn't it? Those guys are entering their mid-30s and are already well-established in their own ways. Stafford may be salaried in company with some of the league's best, but in terms of age and league service, he's still a youngster.
So with the understanding that Stafford will have to play like an elite quarterback going forward, let's see how his career to this point stacks up against other quarterbacks in his 25-and-under peer group.