About Matthew Stafford’s contract: As you might have heard, it calls for more guaranteed money ($41.7 million) than any contract in NFL history — more than any contract signed by Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, among others. If you find that incredulous, no argument here. In the next round of collective bargaining, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and some owners plan to push for economic reform that would redirect money from unproven draft picks to proven veterans and establish some form of rookie wage scale. Stafford’s contract will become the league’s Exhibit A in that battle, supplanting Matt Ryan’s deal ($34.75 million guaranteed) with the Falcons last year. Of course, it must be noted that the owners — the same folks demanding new restraints — are the ones giving the runaway rookie contracts.
About Mark Richt’s mention to the Augusta Bulldog Club of a remotely possible 2010 UGA non-conference game in the Georgia Dome: That stirred a lot of fun speculation on radio and the Internet yesterday, mostly centered around hypothetical matchups against the likes of UCLA (which earlier was interested in playing Auburn in Atlanta) or Texas (basis unclear). Anyway, here’s the difficulty to which Richt alluded: Georgia already has six games scheduled away from Athens in 2010 — four SEC road games; the Florida game in Jacksonville, technically Georgia’s “home” game that year; and a game at Colorado. Georgia has been steadfastly opposed over the past few decades to playing fewer than six games per season in Athens, and I don’t see that changing under any circumstances. In fact, the last time Georgia played fewer than six games in Athens in a season was . . . 1971! So to play a 2010 non-conference game in Atlanta and keep six games in Athens seemingly could happen only if the Colorado game were dropped or delayed. And that game is part of a contract that repays Colorado for playing in Athens in 2006. Like Richt said, complicated.
Around Bulldog Nation: On their continuing tour of Bulldog Clubs, Richt and Mark Fox are in Rome tonight (Coosa Country Club, 6 p.m. social, 7 p.m. program, free admission). . . . Impressive numbers put up this past season by Homestead, Fla., point guard Vincent Williams, the first recruit to verbally commit to Fox’s UGA program: 26 points and 6.2 assists per game as a senior at South Dade High. . . . Georgia’s baseball team starts a seven-game homestand today with a 5 p.m. game at Foley Field vs. Jacksonville State. Georgia lost to Jax State on the road last week, then dropped two of three at Ole Miss, to drop from No. 1 to No. 6 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll. . . . UGA first baseman Rich Poythress is tied with Texas State’s Paul Goldschmidt for the NCAA lead in RBIs with 70. . . . Lots of tennis coming up at the Dan Magill Complex May 8-10, when UGA hosts first- and second-round matches in the NCAA men’s and women’s Championships. Georgia is the No. 2 seed on the women’s side and No. 4 on the men’s. The Georgia men are the two-time defending national champs.