And the Lions still lack front-line playmakers beyond him. Ezekiel Ansah is their closest thing to a superstar, and he’ll likely be allowed to enter a contract year coming off a disappointing fourth season. Quinn has done what looks like solid work to protect Stafford, rebuilding 80 percent of his front wall in just two offseasons. Yet there are still significant questions about a run game looking for its first 100-yard rusher of the Caldwell era, a receiving corps that led the NFL in drops last season, and up and down the NFL’s worst defense a year ago, according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric.
Stafford’s deal, despite its historic nature, might be a hometown discount when factoring in the impending deal for Matt Ryan and in light of him willing a flawed team to the playoffs last year. His extension frees up more than $5 million under this year’s cap, according to the Detroit News, so perhaps Quinn isn’t done making big moves yet.
Ansah has been an anomaly this offseason, when his balky ankle that marred his 2016 but seemed to improve by December and January has forced him to miss most of camp. But perhaps the recent loss of Kerry Hyder to a ruptured Achilles, and Ansah being two seasons removed from a 14.5-sack season, are reminders enough for Quinn that he needs to get his deal done now. If not, Stafford's extension adds flexibility when it's time to decide on Ansah in the spring.