by Fitzgerald Cecilio
The Detroit Lions have locked in Matthew Stafford to a three-year extension with $53 million in new money, and $41.5 million guaranteed.
Stafford had two years and $23.5 million remaining on his previous deal and is now under contract with the Lions through the 2017 season.
The 25-year-old quarterback signed a six-year contract worth up to $78 million, with $41.7 million in guarantees, when he was selected No. 1 overall out of Georgia in 2009.
He was scheduled to make $12.5 million this season and carry a $20.8-million cap charge.
But Stafford emphasized he's not into the game to get contracts.
"I play this game to win games, and that's the way I've always felt about it," said Stafford, who hopes to remain a Lion for the balance of his career.
Stafford owns team single-season records for passing yards, touchdowns, completions and attempts, and is poised to break Bobby Layne's career passing mark this fall.
He has thrown for more than 10,000 yards the last two years, and joined Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Dan Marino as the only quarterbacks to top 5,000 yards in a single season in NFL history.
Limited to just 13 games his first two seasons because of knee and shoulder injuries, Stafford has started every game the last two years and led the Lions to the playoffs in 2011.
The Lions missed the postseason and his production waned last season, but Stafford spent the entire offseason in Detroit, working on his game.
"I don't think we have a guy on our roster who's worked harder than he has, and I'm not sure that you'll find a guy who ares more than he does about this team and about winning and about his teammates," said Lions president Tom Lewand.