Less than a month ago, the Lions were unsure if they were going to exercise tight end Eric Ebron‘s 2018 option. Detroit did indeed pick up the option, though, and now it apparently has interest in keeping Ebron in the fold beyond the next two seasons. General manager Bob Quinn has opened contract extension talks with Ebron, reports Kyle Meinke of MLive.com.
“Let’s just say Bob (Quinn) is my guy, and we talk often, and, you know, we have things in place,” Ebron said earlier this week. “We’ve had our own talks, and he’s looking for some things from me, and hopefully I can just give him what he’s looking for.”
Based on Ebron’s statement, it doesn’t seem as if an extension is imminent, and it doesn’t need to be considering his contract status. For now, Ebron is set to rake in $3.9MM in 2017 and could make $8.5MM in 2018 under the option, though it’s guaranteed for injury only (and the Lions could attempt to reduce that number with a new deal). As such, Detroit will have the ability to cut ties with Ebron after the season if he’s healthy. Notably, Ebron hasn’t posted a 16-game season since the Lions selected him 10th overall in the 2014 draft. And when on the field, the former North Carolina Tar Heel hasn’t necessarily produced commensurate to his draft slot, having hauled in 133 receptions and seven touchdowns in 40 games.
Most recently, Ebron set career highs in catches (61), yards (711) and starts (13) in 2016, but he also finished with the most drops among tight ends (seven) and only hauled in one score. From a statistical standpoint, it helped Ebron’s cause last year that he was the Lions’ only worthwhile pass-catching tight end. That could change going forward, however, with the addition of fourth-rounder Michael Roberts, who broke out at Toledo last season with 45 receptions and an eyebrow-raising 16 TDs.
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