Training camp is right around the corner in the NFL. Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions are coming into this season following a 9-7 record and a playoff appearance.

Stafford is going into his last season of his three-year, $53 million deal. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2018. This means the Lions won't have the opportunity to match the offer of another potential team if they go after Stafford.

As it stands right now, Stafford is the 18th highest paid quarterback in the NFL. Brock Osweiler, Sam Bradford and Ryan Tannehill all make more than him. Stafford is a much better quarterback than all three of these players.

Philadelphia Eagles v Detroit Lions
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He proved all of the critics wrong last season. After the departure of Calvin Johnson, Stafford was still able to lead his team to the playoffs. He threw for over 4,000 yards and had 24 touchdown passes. Stafford was efficient, only throwing ten interceptions.

Stafford was timely with his efficiency. It seemed like he was at his best when it was a close game in the fourth quarter. The Lions had eight comeback wins last season, largely due to Stafford's ability to carry his team. It's easy to say that Detroit would have finished toward the bottom of the league without their star quarterback.

It would be a questionable decision to move forward without Stafford after this season. Quarterback is the most pivotal position in football. It can mean the difference between success and failure. Stafford is one of the best at his position and doesn't get the credit he deserves.

Detroit hasn't had the stability for Stafford to take this team to the next level.

The running game is always inconsistent. They've finished in the bottom five of the league in rushing four times during his career. The last 1,000 yard rusher for the Lions was Reggie Bush in the 2013-2014 season.

Defensively, the Lions have generally been subpar during Stafford's career. During his eight-year career, Detroit's defense has been ranked in the top ten just one time.

Management has changed hands multiple times during Stafford's career. He's had two different head coaches, two different general managers and three different offensive coordinators.

Management in Detroit finally seems to be in the right hands. General manager Bob Quinn joined a franchise last season that was in desperate need of a facelift. After two drafts and two offseasons of free agency, it's obvious that this team is much better than it was when he was hired.

Now that the team is trending in the right direction, Quinn needs to get a deal done with Stafford. It won't be cheap but will be well worth it for both parties.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr just received a five-year, $125 million deal. Stafford's contract will likelty exceed that, making him the highest paid player in the NFL.

The Lions will be taking more than a step back by letting Stafford go into free agency. Many teams in need of a great quarterback would love to have a quarterback of his caliber. If a deal isn't done with Stafford before the start of the season, we'll know what direction the Lions will be moving in.

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