NFL players can never take too much solace in their future, but these five Detroit Lions have particular contract implications this year.
Given the nature of the sport and average length of career, NFL teams operate on a year-to-year basis when it comes to their rosters. Players are looking for a secure future, and a life-changing contract if they perform well.
But some of the aforementioned younger players on the Lions’ roster are looking to prove worthy of a long-term commitment. The 2022 season looks pivotal to getting the kind of contract they seek, or simply securing some certainty moving forward.
With that, these five Detroit Lions have significant contract implications in 2022.
5 Detroit Lions with big contract implications in 2022
5. TE T.J. Hockenson
By all accounts, the Lions and Hockenson will agree to a long-term deal sooner as opposed to later. The team picked up his $9.4 million fifth-year option for 2023, but that feels like a placeholder for a new deal. His extension is line to stretch into the $10-$15 million per year range, after a tight end who has less of a resume (David Njoku) got a market-shifting deal in May.
If a deal is not done by Week 1, it could get done at any time. Hockenson has shown himself as a top-10 tight end in the league, and he should be paid like one.
In an alternate universe lived in by a small segment of Lions’ fans, James Mitchell was drafted in April to outright eventually replace Hockenson. Even with that new deal looking all but sure, it’s just a matter of timing, he’ll have to perform like a top-tier tight end in 2022 and beyond to justify it.