Who is the better QB – Matthew Stafford or Josh Freeman? At first glance it might be the Lions' signal caller, but is Stafford head and shoulders above Freeman? How will Stafford's contract extension impact Freeman's new deal? PewterReport.com has the answers and takes a look at the two 2009 draftees through their first four seasons.
With the news that the Detroit Lions and quarterback Matthew Stafford agreed on a three-year, $43-million contract extension this week that keeps the former Georgia product in the Motor City through 2017, the Buccaneers and Josh Freeman most likely took notice.
The Bucs and Freeman will be at the negotiating table following the 2013 season if Tampa Bay can get to the playoffs. Looking at the two fellow 2009 first-round draftees' four years in the league, there are some similarities, and yet some major differences but if Freeman does earn a new contract in Tampa Bay, would the numbers be similar at an average of $15 million per season?
Stafford, who was the overall No. 1 draft pick in 2009, has been a fantasy football dream quarterback over the last two seasons, throwing for over 10,000 yards and 61 touchdowns, including a monster year in 2011. The Tampa-born Stafford had 5,038 yards and 41 TD tosses that season, and the Lions made the playoffs as a wild card team, losing to the Saints in a offensive display of firepower in the Superdome, 45-28. Last season, the Lions struggled (4-12) and Stafford’s TD pass numbers were also down (20), however Stafford still managed to throw for 4,967 yards.
Stafford struggled to stay healthy in the early part of his career, missing 13 games in 2010, but has rebounded to start all 16 games over the last two seasons. While Freeman has never led the Bucs to the playoffs, he has managed to stay relatively injury free, missing just one game against the Panthers in 2011. While Stafford's injury-prone label appears to have been shed, his ability to win against quality opponents is something he and the Lions need to see improve to justify the amount of money that has been committed since his rookie season, including the $43 million this past week.
In Stafford’s four seasons, he is just 1-23 record in games started against teams that finished the year with a winning record. Stafford’s overall winning percentage (37 percent) is also concerning to some in Detroit, although apparently not to management. Overall in his 45 career starts, Stafford has thrown for 12,807 yards, 80 touchdowns, 54 interceptions and has a quarterback rating of 82.8.
By comparison, Freeman through 57 career starts, has thrown for 12,963 yards with 78 TDs and 63 interceptions and boasts a career QB rating of 79.8. Freeman also has a better winning percentage (42 percent) than Stafford (37.7).
Freeman has yet to lead the Bucs to the playoffs, but many feel 2013 will be different.
So if Freeman and the Buccaneers are successful in 2013, his agents most likely have the parameters for a new deal. Based on stats heading into the 2013 campaign, the two fellow 2009 draftees are neck-and-neck. Circumstances out of Freeman’s control, such as injuries, play-calling
and the play of Tampa Bay's defense, could be a factor is his success or
failure this season. But outside of those factors, the ball is literally in Freeman’s court, and a look at Stafford’s deal should serve as all the motivation he needs.
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