In 2011, the Detroit Lions were finally able to end an 11-year playoff drought by finishing the season with a 10-6 record. The playoff berth seemed to be the being a drastic turnaround for the Lions, but one year later Detroit was about to their losing ways with 12 losses on the season.
Despite missing the NFL playoffs and winning only four games in 2012, quarterback Matthew Stafford came only 33 yards shy of 5,000 passing while connecting with perennial Pro Bowler Calvin Johnson on a league-leading 122 receptions for a record-setting 1,964 receiving yards. Stafford and Johnson continue to be the most lethal dynamic duo in the NFL, but the two stars in Detroit don’t seem to have the talent around them to consistently win football games and become a force in the NFC on an annual basis.
Although the Lions are coming off a disappointing season, the team intends to lock up Stafford to a lucrative contract extension in the near future according to Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com:
Even so, the biggest relief could come from extending quarterback Matthew Stafford’s contract. It could ultimately cost the Lions in upwards of $100 million, but would save money on a per-year basis.
With the Lions’ front office still focused on winning with Stafford at the helm, the team is hoping to bring in some talented players via free agency during the off-season to surround Stafford and Johnson with the right group in order to get back into playoff contention. Locking up Stafford for the long-term does appear to be a high priority according to general manager Martin Mayhew via Twentyman:
“My thought on that is that we’re going to try to extend him,” Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew told reporters Thursday. “There hasn’t been a whole lot of dialogue about it at this point, but I think that’s coming.”
One player that the team may be targeting in free agency is veteran running back Reggie Bush. With the Miami Dolphins ready to part ways with Bush, the former USC standout will become a free agent and a good fit in Detroit.
The team may have struggled to get back to form in 2012, but may be able to bounce back next season with Stafford inking an extension and the Lions potentially bringing in a new crop of talented players in order to become a playoff team in the NFC once again.