NFC North: Peyton Maning

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

Kansas City's contract agreement Tuesday with quarterback Matt Cassel brought to mind this offseason post on the crazy money Detroit's Matthew Stafford received as the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

 Stafford
 Cassel

Cassel, who threw for nearly 3,700 yards last season in leading New England to an 11-5 record, received $28 million in guaranteed money over a six-year deal from the Chiefs. That's about a third less than the $41.7 million the Lions guaranteed Stafford.

I don't necessarily fault Detroit for the deal; it was more or less the cost of doing business in this year's draft. But we've had two significant quarterback deals since April -- Cassel and Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb ($23 million guaranteed) -- and our ranking of contracts with the highest total of guarantees remains the same. Here it is, for those who want a refresher:

  1. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford: $41.7 million
  2. Washington defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth: $41 million
  3. Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick: $37 million
  4. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger: $36 million
  5. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan: $34.8 million
  6. Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning: $34.5 million
  7. Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell: $31.5 million
  8. Dallas quarterback Tony Romo: $30 million

What player will break the $30 million threshold? And how long will Stafford remain atop the list? My colleague Matt Mosley suggested earlier this month that New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning will approach $50 million in guaranteed money. I'll continue revisiting this topic until that day arrives.

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