Stafford's agents claim Lions have agreed to six-year deal with client
Georgia quarterback is set to make $41.7 million in guarantees, as much as $78 million

  • The Detroit Lions will formally select Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford with the No. 1 overall pick in the first round of the NFL Draft on Saturday. (ED REINKE / Associated Press)

DETROIT Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions agreed on a six-year deal Friday night, his agents told The Associated Press.

Tom Condon and Ben Dogra, who both represent Stafford, said the Lions will pay Stafford $41.7 million in guarantees and as much as $78 million.

Quarterback Matt Ryan, the No. 3 pick in last years draft, was signed to a $72 million, six-year contract with $34.75 million guaranteed by the Atlanta Falcons.

Detroit desperately needs a quarterback to help turn around the NFLs first 0-16 team, which has had the worst eight-year stretch in the league since World War II, and is turning to Stafford after he was a starter in each of his three seasons at Georgia.

The Lions will formally take Stafford with the No. 1 pick in the draft Saturday.

They will have more chances to rebuild their team with the 20th overall selection, a second-round pick and a pair of slots in the third round.

Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew said earlier in the week the chances were very good an agreement would be reached with the No. 1 pick before the draft begins.

On the eve of the draft, the lucrative deal was done.

Stafford always seemed to be Plan A, but Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry and Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith apparently were backup options.

Stafford will not be able to fix all the problems associated with a franchise that has been bad enough to go 31-97 since 2001 in what has been the worst eight-year stretch by an NFL team since the Chicago Cardinals won 23 percent of their games from 1936-43.

But the Lions cant afford to draft another bust.

Obviously, the draft is the biggest crap shoot there is, Stafford recently acknowledged.

Recent No. 1 picks have proven that.

Eight of the past 11 players taken first overall in the NFL have been QBs, and half of them either havent or didnt pan out for the teams that took them.

For every Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer, guys like Tim Couch and David Carr have shown there are no guarantees.

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