Lions’ Eight-Year Starter Projected to ‘Bolster His Pockets’ Next

Taylor Decker

Getty Bleacher Report's Ryan Fowler argued left tackle Taylor Decker is the most important player for the Detroit Lions to offer a contract extension to before the 2024 season.

The Detroit Lions already “handed the bag” to three of their biggest stars this offseason. But if the Lions extend another one of their veterans on a long-term deal this summer, Bleacher Report’s Ryan Fowler argued on June 23 that it should be left tackle Taylor Decker.

A former Detroit first-round pick from the 2016 NFL draft, Decker has started 112 games over the last eight seasons for the Lions. He has started at least eight games every year of his career.

“The Lions extended OT Penei Sewell, WR Amon-Ra St. Brown and QB Jared Goff this offseason, leaving 30-year old Taylor Decker as the potential next man in line to bolster his pockets,” wrote Fowler.

“A mainstay at left tackle in Detroit for nearly a decade, talks have begun between Decker’s camp and Lions brass towards an extension.”

Decker allowed eight sacks last season, which was twice as many as any other Lions pass blocker. But he still finished with the fourth-best Pro Football Focus player grade among offensive tackles who played 80% of his team’s snaps last year.

Decker also had a better grade in pass protection than run blocking.

Benefits to Lions Signing LT Taylor Decker to Extension

According to Spotrac, the Lions have the second-most salary cap space remaining in the NFL for the 2024 season. So the Lions don’t need to extend Decker to lower his 2024 cap hit to make another splash move before September (assuming the Lions are interested in another big transaction).

But there are other potential benefits to Detroit extending Decker.

The 30-year-old will be a free agent next March. Signing him now will prevent the possibility of Decker reaching the open market.

It will also ensure the Lions keep perhaps the NFL’s best offensive tackle duo intact. Right tackle Penei Sewell earned the top PFF player grade for all offensive tackles last season.

And since the Lions have the cap space available, Detroit could consider front-loading Decker’s contract. That would potentially make him more expensive early in the deal but cheaper as he ages and when the Lions need more space for future deals.

Decker has never made the Pro Bowl or All-Pro team. But he has been a mainstay with the Lions, starting all 112 games in which he has dressed since joining the team.

Including the playoffs, Decker has started 35 of 37 games over the past two seasons.

Extension Talks Have Begun Between Decker, Lions

The Lions signed Sewell and wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown to record-setting contracts just prior to the NFL draft. Then the team agreed to a new deal with quarterback Jared Goff in May.

While those three players obviously took priority over Decker, the Lions have at least been flirting the last few months with the idea of inking the left tackle to a new contract too.

“Kind of entry-level conversations, base-level conversations,” Decker told reporters in April, via’s All Lions’ Vito Chirco. “I think my agent and the Lions are on the same page, so it’s very much an amicable conversation so far.

“But, super early stages, nothing of substance really other than, ‘Okay, we’re going to try to figure something out, whether it’s multiple years or it’s not.’”

On June 8, Chirco projected Decker’s next contract would actually be on the shorter side — 2-years, $33 million. That would work well for both sides.

Such a deal would make Decker one of the top 10 offensive tackles in terms of average annual salary. But it also wouldn’t lock the Lions into a very long deal with a player set to turn 30 on August 23.

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