Sources: Lions work to sign Stafford

Updated: April 24, 2009, 2:20 PM ET
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

Negotiations between the Detroit Lions and Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford have intensified but as of Wednesday night there was no deal, multiple sources said.

The Lions want to have a deal in place for the draft's first selection before Saturday, and they have narrowed their focus on Stafford, Baylor tackle Jason Smith and Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry.

Curry's agents met with the Lions in Detroit during the weekend and left with confidence they would be able to work out a deal with the Lions.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Lions' focus turned to Stafford, who has indicated he would love to play in Detroit.

According to sources, the Lions and Stafford's agents Tom Condon and Ben Dogra were exchanging proposals Wednesday night with hopes of reaching an agreement.

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An inside look at quarterback Matthew Stafford from Georgia.

Figuring out the right contract numbers remains critical. Last year, Condon and Dogra negotiated a five-year, $57.5 million deal for tackle Jake Long, who was drafted No. 1 by the Dolphins.

They also got Matt Ryan a six-year, $72 million deal when he was drafted No. 4 by the Falcons.

Because quarterbacks receive a premium salary because of the value of their position, Stafford would be expected to make more than Long, but it may be hard for the Lions to top the Ryan contract by much.

John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com

John Clayton

NFL senior writer

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