Lions, WR Amon-Ra St. Brown Agree On Extension

5:25pm: St. Brown will collect $35.28MM fully guaranteed at signing, as detailed by Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. That figure includes a $16.5MM signing bonus and guaranteed base salaries in 2024 and ’25. St. Brown’s salary in 2026 is set at $27.5MM, and it will shift to a full guarantee next year. Likewise, much of his 2027 salary ($23.37MM) will be guaranteed by 2026.

St. Brown’s cap hit will check in at $4.86MM this season, per Over the Cap. It will jump to $13.9MM next year before ranging between $28.9MM and $41MM after that. One void year is present in the deal.

10:51am: One of the Lions’ top extension tasks is now complete. The defending NFC North champions have a deal in place with Amon-Ra St. Brown, who is set to become the NFL’s highest-paid wide receiver.

St. Brown agreed to terms on a four-year extension’s Ian Rapoport reports is worth more than $120MM. Of that total, $77MM is guaranteed. This deal will lock St. Brown down through the 2028 season.

[RELATED: Lions, Jared Goff Begin Extension Talks]

The guarantees at signing are not yet known, but the AAV eclipsing $30MM will make St. Brown the clubhouse leader at wide receiver. Tyreek Hill‘s $30MM-per-year Dolphins extension stood as the top WR payment for two years, but in an offseason in which Justin Jefferson and CeeDee Lamb in contract years, St. Brown now sits atop the position. In terms of total guarantees, St. Brown’s $77MM surpass Cooper Kupp‘s $75MM.

The structure of this contract will be key, as it took lofty final-year numbers to balloon Hill and Davante Adams‘ deals to their AAV places. St. Brown’s 2028 pay will assuredly be nonguaranteed, but its value will determine how well his camp did. CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson adds some clarity here, noting the deal will average $28MM per year over its first three seasons. St. Brown has $14MM-plus due in injury guarantees in 2026; those will likely convert to full guarantees in either 2025 or ’26.

Regardless of how this deal is structured, St. Brown has done remarkably well for himself. The USC product entered the NFL as a fourth-round pick in 2021. Being a positional salary leader represents the value he has brought to the Lions over the past three seasons.

Famously able to name every wideout chosen in front of him in the 2021 draft, St. Brown has shown improvement in each of the past two seasons. After a 912-yard rookie year, the former 112th overall pick posted a 1,161-yard 2022 season. Helping the Lions secure their first division title since 1993, St. Brown delivered his best work last season. The 6-foot wideout totaled 1,515 yards and 10 touchdowns, firmly entrenching himself as one of the NFL’s best wide receivers. The Lions have rewarded him for the early-career production.

A March report placed the likely value of St. Brown’s second contract between $26-$28MM per year. Bettering that — should the final numbers support the above-referenced WR AAV record — serves as a reflection of the 24-year-old’s importance to the Lions and does well to set the stage for the Jefferson and Lamb negotiations. The league now having two $30MM-AAV wideouts will be good news for the Vikings and Cowboys stars; both should be expected to eclipse this number when the times comes. For now, though, St. Brown leads the pack.

The Lions are not strangers to authorizing megadeals for wide receivers. The team’s March 2012 extension for Calvin Johnson served as the receiver highwater mark for many years. Illustrating how times have changed around the league, that was a seven-year agreement. It also came during a period in which the salary cap was stagnating in the early years of the 2011 CBA. The 2020 CBA has brought bigger cap spikes, including this year’s record-setting rise that elevated the spending ceiling by more than $30MM. Players are increasingly agreeing to shorter-term deals, and St. Brown’s will allow him — should he stay on his rookie-contract production pace — to push for a third contract while still in his 20s.

In terms of production and accolades, St. Brown is ahead of Megatron’s pace. The Hall of Famer was 1-for-3 in 1,000-yard seasons — granted, he was part of considerably worse teams in the late 2000s — at this point in his career and did not make a Pro Bowl until Year 4. St. Brown, of course, will need to unlock another level to be mentioned in Johnson’s class. But he has become Jared Goff‘s go-to player. St. Brown joins Johnson and Herman Moore as the only Lions to produce a 1,500-yard receiving season. The 17-game schedule benefits today’s players in this area, but the Lions will be on St. Brown building on his 2023 performance.

St. Brown’s deal comes during an offseason in which a Goff extension is squarely on Detroit’s radar. Penei Sewell is also now extension-eligible; Aidan Hutchinson will be eligible for a new deal in 2025. The Lions’ roster math will change substantially this year, and this deal serves as the first domino.

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