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PLAYER CONTRACTS PLAYERS & TEAM EARNINGS

How Valuable is Matthew Stafford’s Contract?

The veteran QB suddenly finds himself at the brink of Super Bowl glory in his first year with the Rams. Let’s figure out if he’s overperforming the size of his salary — and by how much.

If you want to win a Super Bowl, what’s the right number to pay your starting quarterback once he’s graduated from the humble beginnings we call the rookie scale contract? Boardroom has gone deep in exploring this very question, which brings us to an interesting situation Sunday at Super Bowl LVI.

The game pits a wily second-year gunslinger in Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow against a 34-year-old veteran in the Rams‘ Matthew Stafford, who’s cashed over a quarter of a billion dollars’ worth of checks over the past dozen-plus years. And while we know any high-achieving player on a rookie contract like Burrow’s is effectively underpaid, is it possible that the same can actually be said for Stafford’s salary as well?

Let’s follow the money.

Matthew Stafford Salary & Contract Details

All dollar figures via Spotrac.

Age: 34
Contract length: 5 years
Total value: $135,000,000
Average annual value (AAV): $27,000,000
2021 salary: $20,000,000
Free agency: 2023

Where Does Matthew Stafford’s Salary Rank Among NFL Quarterbacks?

Highest-paid QBs by 2021 $

1. Dak Prescott (DAL): $75M
2. Tom Brady (TB): $29.42M
3. Jared Goff (DET): $25.65M
4. Jimmy Garoppolo (SF): $25.4M
5. Trevor Lawrence (JAX): $24.79M
6. Ryan Tannehill (TEN): $24.5M
7. Zach Wilson (NYJ): $23.58M
8. Matt Ryan (ATL): $23M
9. Trey Lance (SF): $22.82M
10. Patrick Mahomes (KC): $22.81M

15. Matthew Stafford (LAR): $20M

Highest-paid QBs by AAV

1. Patrick Mahomes (KC): $45M
2. Josh Allen (BUF): $43M
3. Dak Prescott (DAL): $40M
4. Deshaun Watson (HOU): $39M
5. Russell Wilson (SEA): $35M
t-6. Aaron Rodgers (GB): $33.5M
t-6. Jared Goff (DET): $33.5M
8. Kirk Cousins (MIN): $33M
9. Carson Wentz (IND): $32M
10. Matt Ryan (ATL): $30M

13. Matthew Stafford (LAR): $27M

Stafford’s 2021 Regular Season Stats

Completions: 404 (No. 7 in NFL)
Passing yards: 4,886 (No. 3 in NFL)
Passing TDs: 41 (No. 2 in NFL)

QBR: 63.8 (No. 4 in NFL)
QB rating: 102.9 (No. 6 in NFL)

How Much Did Matthew Stafford Make Per Completion This Season?

In the regular season, Stafford completed 404 of his 601 attempts and earned an even $20,000,000 in salary. That equates to $49,504.95 per completion.

Setting aside 2021’s highest-paid quarterback, Dak Prescott, whose utterly massive signing bonus pushes his salary into outlier territory, No. 2 earner Tom Brady completed 485 passes and made $29,420,588, or $60,661 per completion.

The highest-earning QB in Stafford’s own NFC West, Jimmy Garoppolo of the vanquished 49ers, completed 301 balls while taking home $25,405,870. That’s $84,404.88 per completion.

How Much Did Matthew Stafford Make Per Passing TD This Season?

Stafford’s 41 passing scores in the regular season trailed only Tom Brady’s 43. Considering his salary, that’s $487,804.88 per TD pass.

So, how about that Tom Brady guy? $684,199.72 per TD pass.

And Jimmy G, who tossed 20 in 15 games? $1,270,293.50 per TD pass.

Is Matthew Stafford More Valuable Than His Contract?

Point blank, Matthew Stafford put up Pro Bowl-level numbers (despite not actually receiving a nod) and is the starting quarterback for the team currently favored to win the Super Bowl. He created more value per TD pass than any QB in the league not currently on a rookie contract.

We can argue all day about whether that means he deserves top-five money for the position. But it’s an easy call that he’s more valuable than the No. 15 QB by 2021 salary and the No. 13 guy by contract AAV.

So — how crazy would we be to give him a hypothetical raise such that he made one single dollar more in both metrics than the man he was infamously traded for in the offseason, Detroit’s Jared Goff?

  • An hypothetical 2021 salary bump from $20,000,000 to $25,650,001, an increase of 28.25%
  • A contract AAV bump from $27,000,000 to $33,500,001, an increase of 24.0741%

The final verdict: Matthew Stafford makes a lot of money. But compared to the broader market for NFL quarterbacks and the fact that he’s giving us the single best season of his career, he’s modestly underpaid — perhaps by upwards of 25%.

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