Being considered the best quarterback in the Super Bowl era for the Detroit Lions is perhaps damning with faint praise. It's like being considered the fastest turtle, or the best quarterback in the Super Bowl era for the Chicago Bears.
Matthew Stafford has risen to the highest level an American football quarterback can attain, but even he could only take the Lions so far.
That's why he has left Michigan for California, where he will try to take the Los Angeles Rams to the next level.
With a few more seasons still left in the tank, Stafford already has an impressive net worth, and he's not done making money in the NFL, either.
Early Life & Football Career
Born John Matthew Stafford to John and Margaret Stafford, the superstar football player goes by his middle name "Matthew."
Although he was born in Tampa, Florida, Stafford first rose to prominence at Highland Park High School in Dallas, Texas. However, he was not the only sports star on campus.
Stafford and MLB pitcher Clayton Kershaw went to the same high school at the same time. Imagine putting together a decade-plus career as a starting quarterback in the National Football League and not being the most-successful athlete your high school classmates know.
Stafford was considered by many as the top recruit in his high school class and decided to attend to the University of Georgia. Before he ever played a game in college draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. predicted that Stafford would be the first-overall pick in the NFL Draft. That guy eats like an entire pumpkin pie a day, so you know he knows what he's talking about!
Stafford was named the starter before his freshman season and largely lived up to the hype. During the 2008 season, he broke the Bulldogs' single-season records for passing touchdowns and passing yards.
His play was strong enough for him to leave college football behind and enter the NFL Draft.
Kiper's prediction came true at the 2009 NFL Draft. Stafford went first overall to the Lions.
Detroit was coming off the first winless season in the NFL since the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so it was a daunting situation to step into. This was before the NFL changed the rookie wage scale, though, and Stafford signed a six-year deal worth $78 million before he ever took a snap.
The contract included $41.7 million in guaranteed money, which set a new NFL record at the time.
On the plus side, the Lions won a game in 2009. However, Stafford suffered through injuries that year, and in 2010 as well. Then, the 2011 season rolled around, and Stafford was able to play a full season.
Suddenly, the starting quarterback became an iron man and started all 16 games for eight-straight seasons straight. In 2011, Stafford threw for 5,038 yards (at a time when quarterbacks going over 5,000 yards was super rare) with 41 touchdowns.
Soon to be under center in LA. ?
Matthew Stafford's BEST plays from 2020! pic.twitter.com/CZFEfxx8SL
— NFL (@NFL) March 26, 2021
Stafford led the Lions to the playoffs and was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year, but he did not make the Pro Bowl that season. He waited until 2014 before representing the NFC in the annual showcase game.
Prior to the 2017 season, Stafford signed a new deal with the Lions for five years and a whopping $135 million. It briefly made him the highest-paid player in NFL history. The next offseason, another Matt, Matt Ryan, broke the record.
After 2017, Stafford couldn't get the Lions back over .500, and it became clear a rebuild was coming. Detroit and Stafford amicably decided to part ways to give Stafford a chance to win.
He was dealt to the Rams in exchange for their starting quarterback, Jared Goff, and some draft picks.
Stafford will have the most talent he's had around him since Calvin Johnson retired.
Matthew Stafford Net Worth
All in all, according to Celebrity Net Worth, Stafford has an estimated net worth of $35 million.
If he can stay healthy under center, he's going to rack in plenty more cash on top of that, and maybe even win a Super Bowl ring in LA.
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