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Detroit Lions, Matthew Stafford on verge of three-year contract extension

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Matthew Stafford will be signed through the 2017 season (USA Today Sports Images)

The Detroit Lions and quarterback Matthew Stafford are on the verge of a contract extension, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.

According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, the extension is for three seasons, keeping Stafford under contract through the 2017 season. Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com reports the value of the three-year extension is worth $53 million in "new money," bringing Stafford's compensation over the next five seasons to $76.5 million. Florio adds the quarterback is guaranteed $43 million.

The $15.3 million average per year (APY) on the total deal is identical to what Philip Rivers received from the San Diego Chargers in 2009, and is on par with the $15.5 million average Matt Schaub received from the Houston Texans in the extension he signed on Sept. 8, 2012. But Stafford's $43 million in guaranteed money exceeds what both Rivers ($38.15 million) and Schaub ($25.25 million) received. Stafford's $17.667 million average per year in "new money" is just below the $18 million per year average Tony Romo received form the Dallas Cowboys on April 1, 2013.

Stafford was the No. 1 overall pick of the 2009 draft out of Georgia. After struggling through shoulder and knee injuries during his first two seasons, Stafford has emerged as one of the most productive quarterbacks in the league. He's is one of four quarterbacks to throw for over 5,000 yards in a single season, has led the NFL in passing attempts in each of the last two seasons, led the NFL with 435 completions in 2012, and has 10,005 yards with 61 touchdowns and 33 interceptions in his last 32 games.

Overall, the 25-year-old Stafford has completed 59.8 percent of his 1,863 pass attempts for 12,807 yards with 80 touchdowns and 54 interceptions. Stafford trails only Hall of Famer Bobby Layne for passing yards and passing touchdowns in Lions' history, marks he should easily surpass within the next season or two.

This is not the first time the Lions and Stafford have agreed to a renegotiated contract.

Stafford's rookie contract was a six-year, $72 million deal that included $41.7 million in guaranteed money. Easily achievable base salary escalators quickly increased Stafford's pay to $9 million in 2011, $11.5 million in 2012 and $12.5 million in 2013 and $11 million in 2014 — the last non-voidable year in his rookie contract. Since most of the base salaries in 2011 and 2012 were fully guaranteed, the Lions renegotiated Stafford's contract in 2011 and 2012, reducing his cap hit by dropping the base salary to the league minimum and converting the leftover amount to signing bonus that was prorated over four seasons. As a result of those renegotiated contracts, Stafford's cap hits swelled to $20.82 million in 2013 and $19.32 million in 2014, figures that, in part, expedited talks towards an extension that is expected to provide the team with needed salary cap relief.

The Lions had just $1.895 million in cap space as of July 8.

With Stafford under contract through 2017, the next player on the "contract extension to-do list" is Ndamukong Suh. The defensive tackle has a cap figure of $21.4125 million in 2014, the final season of a rookie contract which, like Stafford, has undergone several renegotiations along the way to provide cap relief.

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