Even as other tight ends continue to get paid, T.J. Hockenson says he’s not worried about his contract situation.
Picking up T.J. Hockenson’s fifth-year option for next season felt like a mere placeholder for a multi-year deal between he and the Detroit Lions. But that deal is not yet done, with the season opener here and as new deals for other, lesser tight ends (David Njoku, Dawson Knox) push Hockenson’s market value higher.
On Saturday, Darren Waller got a reported three-year, $51 million contract extension with the Las Vegas Raiders. Waller is a better player than Hockenson, and he was woefully underpaid. That situation has been rectified by the Raiders, and Waller’s deal stretches into a new money per-year average territory Hockenson surely won’t quite reach. Or at least, he shouldn’t expect to reach.
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press spoke to Hockenson this past week.
T.J. Hockenson says he’s not worried about contract situation, of course
The cliche for a player with a contract situation is to say he’s not worried about it, he’s only worried about winning and/or he’s leaving that stuff to his agent. Hockenson has already said something along that line before, and he restated the sentiment to Birkett recently.
That’s one of those things where I’m going to leave that up to (my agent) and those guys,” . “I play ball and I do well, it’ll come.”
Hockenson added, per Birkett, that he’s open to having contract negotiations during the season, while adding that it’s “not really my worry right now.”
Without agreement on a multi-year deal between now and then, the Lions could franchise tag Hockenson in 2024. As passed along by Birkett, and as expected, Hockenson says he is not concerned about the timing of a new deal.
My worry is to play ball, so I think that’s kind of where it’s at,” Hockenson said. “Whether it comes halfway through or whether it comes in two years, it is what it is.”
How far, if anywhere, contract negotiations between the Lions and Hockenson have gotten is unclear. But the tight end market keeps changing the longer a deal goes undone, almost on a daily basis lately. If there’s not some urgency from the team’s side right now, there might never be any.