The Lions signed Pro Bowl punter Jack Fox to a four-year extension worth $13.965 million Saturday, making him one of the highest-paid punters in the NFL.
Fox, who ranks in the top 10 in both gross and net punting average, was scheduled to be a restricted free agent in March. The Lions would have tendered Fox a contract, but worked quickly to sign him to an extension when negotiations began this week that keeps him out of free agency instead.
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Michael Dickson, who signed a four-year, $14.7 million extension with the Seattle Seahawks last spring, is the highest-paid punter in the NFL at $3.675 million per season, per Spotrac. Fox’s new deal averages $3.775 million in the first three years, including the RFA tender value.
Brandon Sosna, who was hired this spring as Lions senior director of football administration, negotiated the deal.
Fox set Lions records by averaging 49.1 yards per punt and 44.8 net yards per punt in his first full season with the team in 2020, when he made his lone Pro Bowl appearance.
Last year, Fox averaged 49.2 yards per punt with a 42.3-yard net, and this season he is averaging 48.8 yards per punt with a 43.5 yard net. He’s landed five of his 16 punts inside the 20 without a touchback and drew praise from New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick for his special teams prowess — and throwing ability — earlier this month.
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A high school quarterback, Fox has completed three fake-punt conversion passes in his career.
“Fox is the best punter in the league. He’s outstanding,” Belichick said before the Lions’ Week 5 loss to the Patriots, via ProFootballTalk.com. “Fox is a weapon. Kickoff, punt, punt for accuracy, punt for distance. Threw it like a quarterback back there — that was a long throw, 15 yards deep, good coverage, he put it right in there.”
With Fox signed, the Lions have arguably their biggest pending 2023 free agent now under contract.
Receiver DJ Chark, who will miss his third straight game Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys with an ankle injury, running back Jamaal Williams, and defensive starters Amani Oruwariye, Alex Anzalone and DeShon Elliott will be unrestricted free agents for the Lions next spring.