Lions and T.J. Hockenson negotiations: Where things stand

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The Detroit Lions struck gold when they drafted T.J. Hockenson at 8th overall in the 2019 NFL draft, as Hockenson has turned into one of the game’s top tight ends. With that, naturally saw the Lions pick up Hockenson’s fifth-year option, which is fully guaranteed at $9.4 million due to his 2020 Pro Bowl selection. T.J will then find himself as an unrestricted free agent in 2024, where he will certainly warrant a massive contract from someone on the open market.

The Lions will wish to keep their budding star in Detroit, to keep the culture being developed, in motion. But just how much will it cost? Early rumors are that T.J Hockenson will likely demand Dallas Goedert’s contract (4 years, $57 million) as a starting point. A deal like that would likely propel him into the top three paid tight ends category, with an average annual value, or AAV, north of $14.2 million.

So if contracts have been in the works, one could assume a contract of 4 years, $70m would be the going rate for Hockenson at this point, just $5m short of Kittle for the highest-paid tight end. The Lions will ultimately need to overpay, as Detroit isn’t a destination for high-profile superstars, even if it is repairing its image rapidly. But even still, that contract for Hockenson wouldn’t make me lose sleep at night unless it was fully guaranteed because I truly believe that T.J. Hockenson is one of the best tight ends, or offensive weapons for that, in the entire league.

The Lions will look to get a deal done, as the 25-year-old is one of the franchise cornerstones, and a pivotal figure in the Lions’ culture change that will ultimately help lead the OnePride fan base through these dark times and into contention again. Here’s to hoping an “overpay” occurs soon, so whoever is the next franchise quarterback, Goff or a 2023 rookie, will have a heck of a weapon to throw to.