The Detroit Lions have agreed to a four-year rookie contract with first-round draft pick Penei Sewell, according to multiple reports. The fully guaranteed deal will pay the offensive tackle $24.1 million, which includes a $14.9 million signing bonus.
The deal slightly exceeds the $23.6 million contract and $14.7 million signing bonus defensive tackle Derrick Brown received from the Carolina Panthers as the No. 7 pick a year ago.
The way rookie contracts are typically structured, with a minimum base salary the first season, Sewell should carry a $4.4 million cap hit in 2021.
Additionally, as a first-round pick, Sewell’s contract carries a fifth-year team option. The salary for that additional season, which would come into play in 2025, would be directly tied to Sewell’s performance his first three seasons.
Specifically, if Sewell were to be named to two Pro Bowls during that three-year stretch, the option would pay him the average of the top five players at his position. A single Pro Bowl selection would net a one-year pay increase to the average of the top 10 offensive linemen. And simply averaging 50% or more of the team’s offensive snaps across that three-year period would ensure Sewell a salary bump to the average of the third through 20th highest salaries at his position.
The Lions will have to make a decision on the fifth-year option during the 2024 offseason. If it’s picked up, it is fully guaranteed.
With Sewell under contract, the Lions now have deals done with three of their seven draft picks. Defensive tackle Alim McNeill and running back Jermar Jefferson both signed last week.
Sewell was Detroit’s only draft pick who didn’t participate in last weekend’s rookie minicamp, after he contracted the COVID-19 virus. Coach Dan Campbell said the offensive tackle continued to attend virtual meetings and was expected to be at the team’s Allen Park facility this week.