Lions Star Called ‘Next in Line’ for Big Money Contract Extension

T.J. Hockenson

Getty T.J. Hockenson makes a catch against the Washington Football Team in 2020.

The Detroit Lions have made plenty of moves in recent years to bring back young talent and reward players who have done a nice job for them, so it would not be shocking to see the team continue upon this path.

With this in mind, there is one player that seems set up to cash in soon, and it’s tight end T.J. Hockenson. After a solid start to his career, Hockenson could soon take the next step and the Lions could be waiting in the wings to reward him for that.

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In a new piece, Pro Football Focus along with writer Ari Meirov identified the young players who are next up for “big money extensions.” Hockenson made the cut, and Meirov said the Lions have been smart about roster building lately. That could extend to a deal with Hockenson.

“Hockenson’s best days are ahead of him, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the two sides look to strike a deal before the season. 2021 marked his second straight campaign with 60-plus catches, and he ranked second among tight ends in contested catch rate (78.6%),” Meirov wrote.

While Hockenson’s 2021 season was cut short by injury, he is looking healthy and ready for a big turnaround in 2022. The Lions may or may not elect to do a deal before the season, but either way, Hockenson could be primed to stick around firmly into the future.


Lions Exercised Hockenson’s Fifth-Year Option

For the short-term future, Hockenson isn’t going anywhere. This offseason, the Lions agreed to bring Hockenson back on a fifth-year option a few months back. That decision cost the team $9.4 million for this coming season, meaning it will be well within the interest of the team to find a way to negotiate a longer-term contract soon. The option will buy the team time if they cannot find a deal, but the expectation remains that something could get done between the sides to not only ensure Hockenson’s long-term future in Detroit, but help the team financially as well.

Detroit’s move with the option on April 26 means Hockenson isn’t going anywhere right now, but that might only be an appetizer for what’s to come between the sides in the months ahead according to some.


Another Insider Predicts Hockenson Extension Soon

In a new ESPN piece courtesy of insider Jeremy Fowler, the cases of several younger players on soon expiring deals around the league are examined. Who amongst the group is heading for a new deal soon? Detroit didn’t have much representation on the list, but Hockenson was one of their bigger headliners.

Fowler wrote in the case of Hockenson, “don’t be surprised” if the team gets a deal done this summer. This is due to the fact that Hockenson has been “their most reliable pass-catching option” lately.

If there is only one question about Hockenson, it’s health. The tight end has seen two out of his first three season as being injury riddled. When he’s been healthy, though, Hockenson has been elite. For this reason, the health angle might not matter much to the Lions. The team might simply choose to get a deal finished soon.

No matter when it happens, it’s a possibility some see as very likely.

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