There will not be a holdout with the top pick in the 2009 NFL draft. The Detroit Lions and agents for Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford reached an agreement on a record-setting contract that will pay Stafford a guaranteed $41.7 million.
The six-year contract, worth $72 million with minimum playing time achieved by Stafford, could rise to $78 million with incentives.The Stafford deal is a significant increase over last year's first-round pick, Jake Long, the tackle who was picked by the Miami Dolphins.Long's deal averaged $10 million per year on minimum playing time, and $11.5 million per year achieving maximum incentives.
Stafford's deal is $12 million a year with minimum playing time and $13 million per year with incentives.The Lions, who had a deal worth much less in place with Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry if they couldn't reach a deal with Stafford, clearly wanted the quarterback all along. Coach Jim Schwartz, trying to turn around the fortunes of the 0-16 team, made it clear he valued the moxie and terrific arm strength of Stafford. General manager Martin Mayhew and COO Tom Lewand set out Wednesday to make a deal with Stafford. Friday night, shortly after 10:30 ET, the deal got done.
Barring a surprise move by a team seeking USC quarterback Mark Sanchez, the St. Louis Rams are expected to use the second pick in the draft to choose either Virginia offensive tackle Eugene Monroe or Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith -- and the pick likely will be Smith.