Lions, RT Penei Sewell Reach Record-Setting Extension

On what will go down as one of the bigger days a single franchise has put together on the contract front in recent NFL history, the Lions have another record-setting agreement in place. Not long after Amon-Ra St. Brown‘s deal emerged, Penei Sewell is now locked down long term.

Sewell agreed to terms on a four-year, $112MM extension,’s Mike Garafolo reports. That $28MM-per-year number shatters a right tackle AAV record. Not only is this the new right tackle standard, Sewell’s second contract doubles as the largest ever given to an offensive lineman.

The contract will average $30MM per year over its first three seasons, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones reports. It would seem this deal will run through 2029, with the Lions having a fifth-year option on Sewell that covered 2025. Indeed,’s Albert Breer confirms the extension runs through ’29 after an exercised option.

The deal includes $85MM guaranteed, Garafolo adds. That guarantee number comes in well north of any other O-lineman’s figure as well. Andrew Thomas‘ $67MM Giants guarantee previously stood as the current high-water mark. No other OL is tied to a guarantee higher than $64MM. This represents a tremendous commitment to Sewell, who has thus far rewarded the Lions for their first-round investment in 2021.

Despite the Lions having two years of control remaining via the option, they will pass on that process to do an extension now. While Thomas needed to agree to a five-year deal to lock in monster tackle money after his third season, the Lions will reward Sewell while giving him a chance to negotiate a third contract — should he stay in top form — in his late 20s. Sewell will not turn 24 until October.

It is difficult to overstate the commitment the Lions are making to Sewell. The right tackle market finally reached the $20MM-per-year place in 2023, when the Eagles gave Lane Johnson another extension and the Chiefs matched that $20MM-AAV payment for free agent Jawaan Taylor. Sewell effectively has his own salary bracket at the position. His $28MM AAV also comes in $3MM higher than Laremy Tunsil‘s LT-record number. This is a rather big day for a player who joined the Lions after opting out of his final college season during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both Sewell and St. Brown came to Detroit in the first Brad Holmes-Dan Campbell draft. Each has become an impact player, with Sewell finishing last season as a first-team All-Pro. The Oregon alum has two Pro Bowls on his resume and has extensive experience at both tackle spots. The Lions drafted Sewell seventh overall and kicked him to left tackle after a 2021 Taylor Decker injury. Decker returned in 2022, and the Lions followed through with their initial Sewell plan. They have since seen him become one of the game’s best right tackles.

Sewell’s move back to right tackle coincided with the Lions forming one of the league’s best offensive lines. The team paired a Decker-Sewell tackle tandem with Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow. Even as the Lions saw some guard instability crop up due to Halapoulivaati Vaitai‘s health over the past two years, the team offered Jared Goff top-tier protection and opened regular run lanes for the likes of Jamaal Williams, David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs. This O-line has played a central role in Goff’s Motor City resurgence — one that is on track to produce a big extension for the veteran quarterback, most likely before Week 1 — and the Lions’ journey from a three-win 2021 to last season’s NFC championship game.

The Lions did not give up on keeping four-year guard starter Jonah Jackson in free agency, but the team pivoted to a cheaper alternative upon learning where his market was headed. The club’s Sewell plans undoubtedly factored into that decision. The Lions already have Ragnow on a top-tier center contract and Decker signed to an upper-crust LT deal. Decker is going into a contract year, though he made interesting news by revealing discussions on a third contract have begun.

The Lions are betting big early on a player who has shown dominant form. Pro Football Focus rated Sewell as the NFL’s top tackle last year, particularly lauding his run-blocking ability. ESPN’s pass block win rate placed Sewell sixth. PFF slotted Sewell 10th among tackles in 2022, and the Lions certainly believe a quality prime is ahead for the former No. 7 overall pick.

Detroit landed Sewell after Cincinnati opted for Ja’Marr Chase at No. 5 three years ago, as the Bengals added Joe Burrow‘s former teammate rather than address a then-glaring RT need. This became the Lions’ gain. While Decker is going into his age-31 season — a contract year — the Lions still have the tandem heading into a fourth year together.

It will be interesting to see how this megadeal impacts Decker’s Detroit future, but the defending NFC North champions have two key parts of a high-stakes offseason itinerary checked off via the St. Brown and Sewell deals. In all likelihood, a third Goff contract is up next.

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