Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand said it is important to rework quarterback Matthew Stafford's current contract, but not for the obvious reason.

Stafford has two more years remaining on his contract, and will earn a base salary of $12 million in 2013, but his salary cap hit is $20.3 million. He will earn $11 million in 2014 ($19.3 million salary cap number) and $15 million in 2015 ($17.7 million salary cap number).

Despite the obvious need to free up cap space, Lewand said reworking Stafford's deal is essential because he wants the quarterback to remain in Detroit long-term.

"Matthew Stafford is our quarterback, and we hope is our quarterback for a long time," Lewand said. "The reason to explore a contract extension with Matthew is to fulfill that goal of having him be our quarterback for a long time. It's not a short-term look at the salary cap. That's the wrong way to look at that. When you look at extending somebody like Matthew, he's not going to take less money to extend. That's a very short-term focus to look at.

"The reason to have an extension with Matthew, just like the reason to have the extension with Calvin last year, was to secure their services for a long period of time. In Calvin's case last year, the timing was a little bit different because we knew that there was an opportunity to get something done. But in Matthew's case, Matthew's got two years left on his deal. Calvin didn't. It's a different set of circumstances."