Lions Extend Dan Campbell, Brad Holmes

The Lions nearly turned Year 3 of their rebuilding effort into a Super Bowl LVIII berth, coming closer to reaching the NFL’s top stage than any previous Lions squad. As a result of the progress this operation has made, ownership will reinvest in the top decision-makers.

Dan Campbell and GM Brad Holmes signed extensions Thursday morning. These deals run through the 2027 season. Despite Campbell having three years remaining on the six-year contract he signed back in 2021, the Lions are rewarding the popular HC.

We are thrilled to have Brad and Dan under contract for the next four seasons,” Lions owner Sheila Hamp said. “They have been the driving force behind the rebuild of our football team and the success that we have enjoyed. The continuity they provide for our football program will continue to be the key to our future success on the field.”

The two power brokers have come a long way since arriving in 2021. Lions ownership did not inform Holmes of Matthew Stafford‘s trade request until he began work, but after executing a deal that brought back two first-round picks, the ex-Rams exec teamed with Campbell, 47, to design what can already be classified as a wildly successful rebuild blueprint. The Lions have progressed from an 0-10-1 start in 2021 to a three-point loss in the NFC title game two years later.

Holmes and Co. took a chance on Campbell, who traveled the rare route of skipping the coordinator tier to becoming a head coach. Although Campbell served as Dolphins interim HC for most of the 2015 season, he had settled back on the position coach level. The Lions liked the Saints tight ends coach enough to offer a six-year contract to begin this climb. While Campbell’s intro presser — the kneecaps reference mostly — was panned and his credentials received scrutiny, the former NFL tight end has proven skeptics wrong.

The Lions finished with 12 wins for just the second time in franchise history, and their two playoff wins snapped a 32-year drought. While Campbell’s fourth-down decisions invited criticism late in the season — particularly in the San Francisco loss — he has gained considerable respect during his time in Detroit. With a significant boost from OC Ben Johnson, Campbell and Holmes have elevated what had been one of the NFL’s most downtrodden franchises. Campbell’s alma mater (Texas A&M) attempted to gauge his interest in taking over in College Station recently; he shot that down quickly.

Holmes, 44, certainly deserves considerable credit given the state of the Lions upon his arrival. The former Rams college scouting director positioned the Lions for this unexpected rise by bringing in the player he once helped draft in Los Angeles — Jared Goff — and then adding Penei Sewell and Amon-Ra St. Brown in his first draft. Aidan Hutchinson followed a year later, and the 2023 draft — which featured two picks in Rounds 1 and 2 thanks to the Stafford and T.J. Hockenson trades — brought promising young talent. The Jahmyr Gibbs pick brought criticism due to running back value, but the dual-threat talent played a major role in the Lions’ push to the NFC title round. So did second-rounders Sam LaPorta and Brian Branch.

Going against the conventional rebuilding route by keeping Goff at QB rather than drafting an heir apparent, Holmes has an interesting offseason ahead. The rejuvenated quarterback’s Rams-constructed contract expires after the 2024 season, as does St. Brown’s rookie deal. Extensions are on the docket. This will begin a new phase of Detroit’s project, but ownership is understandably quite pleased with the first steps and will give the two principal architects more time.

The Lions are also extending Chris Spielman, who has held a key role with the team since Holmes’ arrival. The former Pro Bowl Lions linebacker and FOX analyst works as a special assistant to the team’s president/CEO; he is believed to carry notable power within the organization, and the team is signing off on a multiyear extension.

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