The next NFL salary record could be set by Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, who is playing on his second straight one-year deal after the team again used the franchise tag on him.
The strong-armed 29-year-old has yet to win a playoff game with the Lions, but the team has liked his progression into a more efficient passer — he’s posted his highest completion percentages in the past two seasons.
Last year, in his first season without star wide receiver Calvin Johnson, Stafford notched career bests in interception percentage (1.7) and QBR (70.5) with the Lions going to a more deliberate, conservative attack to compensate for a struggling defense.
The quarterback was heading into the final year of a contract set to pay him $16.5 million for 2017, and he had indicated that he would not be inclined to continue negotiating once the season began, putting pressure on the Lions to come to terms.
More significantly, as an above-average starter at the game’s most important position, he is a commodity that would be very difficult to replace on the open market, and the Lions’ history has been marked by a lack of stability at quarterback.
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