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Peppers overtakes Stafford's contract

We have been tracking guaranteed money on this blog ever since Detroit committed quarterback Matthew Stafford to an NFL-record $41.7 million on the eve of the 2009 draft. Finally, it's time for Stafford's deal to take a back seat.

But as it turns out, the record remains in the NFC North family. (Would you have expected anything else?) Chicago guaranteed defensive end Julius Peppers $42 million on Friday, putting Peppers at the top of our list:

Chicago defensive end Julius Peppers: $42 million

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford: $41.7 million

Washington defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth: $41 million

San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers: $38 million

Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick: $37 million*

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger: $36 million

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning: $35 million

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan: $34.8 million

Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning: $34.5 million

Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell: $31.5 million

Dallas quarterback Tony Romo: $30 million

*Vick's deal has since been terminated.

It will be interesting to see how long Peppers' record stands. If a quarterback is drafted No. 1 overall next month, you would think his guaranteed money would overtake Stafford. With only a $300,000 difference between Stafford and Peppers, there is a chance the record could soon fall. Other candidates include Manning and New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, both of whom are expected to receive contract extensions this offseason.