Lions Trying to Complete Deal With Stafford
The Detroit Lions are deep into contract negotiations with Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford, and are attempting to complete an agreement that would make Stafford their selection with the top overall choice in the NFL draft Saturday, sources familiar with the deliberations said tonight.
The Lions have been negotiating with Baylor left tackle Jason Smith and Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry as well but have targeted Stafford as their preferred pick, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the discussions between team officials and Stafford's agent, Tom Condon, are at a sensitive stage.
NFL rules permit the club with the top pick in the draft to complete a contract before the draft with the player it is going to choose.
Many people around the league had expected all along that the Lions, coming off the first 0-16 season in NFL history, would go with Stafford in hopes that he'll develop into the franchise quarterback they lack.
Another Condon client, offensive tackle Jake Long, was the top overall selection in last year's NFL draft and signed a five-year, $57.5 million contract with the Miami Dolphins that included $30 million in guaranteed money.
Lions officials have said they plan to complete a pre-draft deal with the player they're going to draft.
According to a report by the Booth Newspapers, the Lions have a tentative contract agreement in place with Curry and would sign and select him if they're unable to complete a deal with Stafford by Friday.
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