As expected, the Lions have locked in tight end T.J. Hockenson through the 2023 season. Tim Twentyman of the team’s website tweets that the Lions have picked up Hockenson‘s fifth-year option. The move will attach the tight end to a $9.39MM salary for the 2023 campaign.
This seemed to be the expected move after the two sides didn’t agree to an extension. We learned earlier this month that the Lions were expected to pick up the fifth-year option, but only as a placeholder as they looked to extend the Pro Bowler.
The eight-overall pick in the 2019 draft has emerged as one of Detroit’s top targets. He earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2020 after hauling in 67 receptions for 723 yards and six touchdowns, and he followed that up with 583 yards and four scores in 12 games in 2021. Thumb surgery ultimately shelved him in December of last year.
The Lions still have plenty of time to extend Hockenson. Last year, we saw the Patriots sign Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry to deals that averaged $12.5MM per year, and Dallas Goedert later one-upped the duo by inking a deal worth $14.25MM AAV. The league’s highest-paid TEs, George Kittle and Travis Kelce, clock in a bit above that at $15MM and $14.3MM, respectively.
Hockenson’s agent would be hard pressed to reset the market at tight end. However, the $9MM+ commitment for 2023 indicates that the two sides can’t be that far apart.