Frank Ragnow

Lions, Frank Ragnow Agree To Record Extension

Lions center Frank Ragnow has agreed to a brand new four-year deal (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). The extension will position Ragnow as the highest-paid center in NFL history and keep the young center in Detroit through 2026. 

On average, Ragnow will make $13.5MM per year (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). In total, the deal is worth approximately $70MM with $25.5MM fully guaranteed and $42MM in total guarantees. That’s not chump change, but new Lions GM Brad Holmes has long said that he’d be willing to pay the price.

It’s extremely important. We already view him as a long-term piece and he is a foundational piece because Frank is a guy that plays the game the right way,” Holmes said (via Kyle Meinke of MLive.com). “He’s everything that we look for and what we want as a Lion. I’ll never forget when it first got announced that I got the job, Frank reached out immediately. I told him, ‘Man, huge fan of you and you play the game the right way.’ So, very important to get it done. Not going to comment on timetable right now — that would be a little bit premature — but we’re not sitting back and waiting on that one.”

Ragnow has been first-string for the Lions ever since he was taken with the No. 20 overall pick in 2018. At first, the Lions used the Arkansas product at left guard. In 2019, they shifted him to the middle. He’s started in every game since, save for three missed contests due to injury.

Earlier this spring, the Lions made the easy call to pick up Ragnow’s fifth year for $12.657MM. Now, Ragnow has a fresh deal to top Chargers center Corey Linsley for the richest contract at the position.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions GM: Frank Ragnow Extension Is “Extremely Important”

Last week, the Lions exercised Frank Ragnow‘s fifth-year option to keep him under contract through 2022. Beyond that, GM Brad Holmes: says a long term deal for the young center is a top priority.

It’s extremely important. We already view him as a long-term piece and he is a foundational piece because Frank is a guy that plays the game the right way,” Holmes said (via Kyle Meinke of MLive.com). “He’s everything that we look for and what we want as a Lion. I’ll never forget when it first got announced that I got the job, Frank reached out immediately. I told him, ‘Man, huge fan of you and you play the game the right way.’ So, very important to get it done. Not going to comment on timetable right now — that would be a little bit premature — but we’re not sitting back and waiting on that one.”

Ragnow has been first-string for the Lions ever since he was taken with the No. 20 overall pick in 2018. At first, the Lions used the Arkansas product at left guard. In 2019, they shifted him to the middle. He’s started in every game since, save for three missed contests due to injury. Holmes, who took over as the Lions’ GM earlier this year, has every intention of keeping him in place.

Thanks to his Pro Bowl nod, Ragnow’s fifth year will be worth $12.657MM. His next deal could put him in the neighborhood of Chargers center Corey Linsley, who leads the position with a five-year, $62.5MM contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2022 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker

NFL teams have until May 3 to officially pick up their options on 2018 first-rounders who are entering the final year of their rookie deals. In a change from years past, fifth-year option seasons are fully guaranteed, rather than guaranteed for injury only. Meanwhile, salaries are now determined by a blend of the player’s position, initial draft placement, and specific performance metrics:

  • 2-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • 1-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the 3rd-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • 75%+ snaps in two of their first three seasons
    • 75%+ average across all three seasons
    • 50%+ in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will get the average of the 3rd-25th top salaries at their position.

With the deadline looming, we’ll use the space below to track all the option decisions from around the league:

Updated 4-30-21, 4:24pm CT

  1. QB Baker Mayfield, Browns: Exercised ($18.858MM)
  2. RB Saquon Barkley, Giants: Exercised ($7.217MM)
  3. QB Sam Darnold, Panthers (via Jets): Pending ($18.858MM)
  4. CB Denzel Ward, Browns — Exercised ($13.294MM)
  5. LB Bradley Chubb, Broncos — Pending ($12.716MM)
  6. G Quenton Nelson, Colts — Pending ($13.754MM)
  7. QB Josh Allen, Bills: Pending ($23.106MM)
  8. LB Roquan Smith, Bears: Exercised ($9.735MM)
  9. OT Mike McGlinchey, 49ers: Exercised ($10.88MM)
  10. QB Josh Rosen, Cardinals: N/A
  11. S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers (via Dolphins): Exercised ($10.612MM)
  12. DT Vita Vea, Buccaneers: Exercised ($7.638MM)
  13. DT Daron Payne, Washington — Exercised ($8.529MM)
  14. DE Marcus Davenport, Saints: Exercised ($9.553MM)
  15. OT Kolton Miller, Raiders — N/A (extension)
  16. LB Tremaine Edmunds, Bills: Pending ($12.716MM)
  17. S Derwin James, Chargers: Exercised ($9.052MM)
  18. CB Jaire Alexander, Packers: Exercised ($13.294MM)
  19. LB Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys: Pending ($9.145MM)
  20. C Frank Ragnow, Lions: Exercised ($12.657MM)
  21. C Billy Price, Bengals: Declined ($10.413MM)
  22. LB Rashaan Evans, Titans: Pending ($9.735MM)
  23. OT Isaiah Wynn, Patriots: Pending ($10.413 MM)
  24. WR D.J. Moore, Panthers: Exercised ($11.116MM)
  25. TE Hayden Hurst, Falcons (via Ravens): Pending ($5.428MM)
  26. WR Calvin Ridley, Falcons: Pending ($11.116MM)
  27. RB Rashaad Penny, Seahawks: Pending ($4.523MM)
  28. S Terrell Edmunds, Steelers: Pending ($6.753MM)
  29. DT Taven Bryan, Jaguars: Pending ($7.638MM)
  30. CB Mike Hughes, Vikings: Pending ($12.643MM)
  31. RB Sony Michel, Patriots: Pending ($4.523MM)
  32. QB Lamar Jackson, Ravens: Exercised ($23.106MM)

Lions Exercise Frank Ragnow’s Fifth-Year Option

The Lions have triggered Frank Ragnow‘s fifth-year option for 2022 (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). Now, the interior lineman is set to collect $12.657MM in 2022.

[RELATED: 2022 Fifth-Year Option Tracker]

Ragnow has been first-string for the Lions ever since he was taken with the No. 20 overall pick in 2018. At first, the Lions used the Arkansas product at left guard. In 2019, they shifted him to the middle. He’s started in every game since, save for three missed contests due to injury.

So far, ten players from the 2018 draft class have had their options exercised. In years past, fifth-year option decisions were fairly easy for teams — the additional year was always fairly low risk, because it was only guaranteed in the event of an injury. Now, those extra seasons are fully guaranteed and a little pricier, thanks to performance escalators.

Keeping Ragnow for an extra year, however, was still an easy call for the Lions. Quality young lineman are hard to come by and the Lions want to keep their starting center for the long haul.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL’s Fifth-Year Option Salaries For 2021

The NFL’s 2021 salary cap has been set at $182.5MM, marking the league’s first reduction in a decade. With that, the league has also ironed out the value of this year’s fifth-round option for 2018 first-round picks.

Here’s the full rundown, via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter):

1. Baker Mayfield, Browns, QB — $18.858MM (playing time)

2. Saquon Barkley, Giants, RB — $7.217MM (1x Pro Bowl)

3. Sam Darnold, Jets, QB — $18.858MM (playing time)

4. Denzel Ward, Browns, CB — $13.294MM (1x Pro Bowl)

5. Bradley Chubb, Broncos, LB — $12.716MM (1x Pro Bowl)

6. Quenton Nelson, Colts, G — $13.754MM (2x Pro Bowl)

7. Josh Allen, Bills, QB — $23.106MM (1x Pro Bowl)

8. Roquan Smith, Bears, LB — $9.735MM (playing time)

9. Mike McGlinchey, 49ers, OT — $10.88MM (playing time)

10. Josh Rosen, Cardinals, QB*

11. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers, S (drafted by Dolphins) — $10.612MM (2x Pro Bowl)

12. Vita Vea, Buccaneers, DT — $7.638MM

13. Daron Payne, Washington, DT — $8.529MM (playing time)

14. Marcus Davenport, Saints, DE — $9.553MM

15. Kolton Miller, Raiders, OT — $10.88MM (playing time)

16. Tremaine Edmunds, Bills, LB — $12.716MM (1x Pro Bowl)

17. Derwin James, Chargers, S — $9.052MM (1x Pro Bowl)

18. Jaire Alexander, Packers, CB — $13.294MM (1x Pro Bowl)

19. Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys, LB — $9.145MM

20. Frank Ragnow, Lions, C — $12.657MM (1x Pro Bowl)

21. Billy Price, Bengals, C — $10.413MM

22. Rashaan Evans, Titans, LB — $9.735MM (playing time)

23. Isaiah Wynn, Patriots, OT — $10.413MM

24. D.J. Moore, Panthers, WR — $11.116MM (playing time)

25. Hayden Hurst, Falcons, TE (Drafted by Ravens) — $5.428MM

26. Calvin Ridley, Falcons, WR — $11.116MM (playing time)

27. Rashaad Penny, Seahawks, RB — $4.523MM

28., Steelers, S Terrell Edmunds — $6.753MM (playing time)

29. Taven Bryan, Jaguars, DT — $7.638MM

30. Mike Hughes, Vikings, CB — $12.643MM

31. Sony Michel, Patriots, RB — $4.523MM

32. Lamar Jackson, Ravens, QB — $23.106MM (1x Pro Bowl)

* Rosen was released from his original contract and, therefore, is not option-eligible 

As a refresher, the fifth-year option year is now fully guaranteed. In the past, it was guaranteed for injury only. The values are also dependent on certain performance metrics:

  • Two-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • One-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the 3rd-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • 75%+ snaps in two of their first three seasons
    • 75%+ average across all three seasons
    • 50%+ in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will get the average of the 3rd-25th top salaries at their position.

Lions QB Matthew Stafford Preparing To Play Tomorrow

In a sudden turn of events, it sounds like Matthew Stafford will play tomorrow after all. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the Lions quarterback is “preparing to play” against the Titans.

Stafford landed on the injury report this week after suffering a hard hit from Packers defensive tackle Kenny Clark that knocked him out of last week’s loss. The rib injury forced the veteran to miss practice on Wednesday and Thursday, and he earned the ‘questionable’ designation after putting in limited work on Friday (per ESPN’s Michael Rothstein).

There was initial pessimism surrounding Stafford’s injury, and interim head coach Darrell Bevell said the team would likely wait to make a decision about their quarterback’s status.

“This may or may not be a workout situation,” Bevell said. “Obviously, the conversation of what he’s doing kind of on the side before we even get that far. But if we need to have a workout Sunday morning, then we’ll end up doing that as well.”

The former first-overall pick didn’t miss a single game between the 2011 and 2018 seasons. His 2019 campaign was cut short due to a back injury, limiting him to only eight games. Despite two separate stints on the COVID-19 list, Stafford has managed to play in each of Detroit’s 13 games this season. The 32-year-old has completed 63.9 percent of his passes for 3,522 yards, 22 touchdowns, and nine interceptions.

While it sounds like Stafford will be taking the field tomorrow, two key members of the offense will not. Wideout Kenny Golladay will miss his seventh consecutive game with a hip injury, while center Frank Ragnow is out as he recovers from a fractured throat.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: 49ers, Newton, Lions, Vikings

After a report indicated the 49ers brought longtime offensive line coach Chris Foerster out of coaching exile surfaced Friday, Kyle Shanahan confirmed as much. The third-year 49ers coach said Foerster joined San Francisco’s staff as a consultant. Consultants do not serve as in-game coaches, and Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area notes the 49ers have Foerster working on film and in position group meetings. Shanahan said the 49ers brought on Foerster as a consultant last year and elevated his duties in 2019, though the 57-year-old assistant — who has 20-plus years of NFL coaching experience — is still classified as a consultant. Shanahan and Foerster worked together in Washington.

He is still in a consulting role because I do understand the seriousness of this matter,” Shanahan said of Foerster, who resigned from the Dolphins in 2017 after a video showed him snorting a white powdery substance. “We’re trying to ease him back in. I understand how big of a problem he did have. I also understand what he’s doing in committing to fix that problem. We’re trying to give him a chance to get back on track.

He’s done that exactly the right way for two years. We will see if he continues to do that, and then we will reassess that after this year.”

Here is the latest from the NFC:

  • Some positive news for Cam Newton. Although the Panthers quarterback remains in a walking boot and without a definitive return timetable, Jordan Rodrigue of The Athletic notes (subscription required) the team was encouraged by the follow-up MRI the ninth-year passer underwent. If Newton continues to progress in his recovery from a mid-foot sprain, Rodrigue adds he is expected to participate in practice in some capacity Monday. This would point to the veteran being ready for Week 1. Kyle Allen received first crack at Newton’s reps Saturday, but David Newton of ESPN.com notes Will Grier split time evenly with Carolina’s presumptive QB2. Ron Rivera confirmed the Panthers will not work out quarterbacks.
  • More good news on the injury front. Matt Patricia said (via the Detroit News’ Justin Rogers, on Twitter) he is not considering an IR trip for Jarrad Davis, who was carted to the Lions‘ locker room Friday night. Davis suffered a lower-leg injury against the Bills. Were Davis to be placed on IR in between next weekend and Week 1, he would miss at least eight regular-season weeks. This points to the Lions expecting him back during the first half of the season, at the latest.
  • Frank Ragnow, too, appears to have dodged a bullet. The Lions center suffered what’s being categorized as a minor ankle sprain Friday, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets. The Lions are typically vague regarding injuries, with Patricia declining to elaborate on the nature of those suffered by Ragnow and Davis. But the second-year coach said (via Rogers) neither player is believed to have suffered a season-nullifying malady.
  • The Vikings and since-cut long snapper Kevin McDermott agreed to an injury settlement, per Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. McDermott suffered an elbow injury, which required surgery this week, and will collect $150K via this settlement. Austin Cutting beat out the longtime incumbent for Minnesota’s snapping job.

Injury Notes: Gabbert, Gary, Ragnow

We heard earlier today that Buccaneers backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert had dislocated his non-throwing shoulder during last night’s preseason win over the Eagles. Fortunately, it doesn’t sound like the veteran will be out for an extended amount of time. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that it isn’t expected to be a long-term injury.

While Gabbert may not be sidelined for all that long, the team is still eyeing some reinforcement at the position. ESPN’s Jenna Laine tweets that the Buccaneers have looked at signing Vincent Testaverde. The 23-year-old had spent the early parts of camp with Tampa Bay, and his head start on the offensive playbook could give him an edge over other free agent quarterbacks. Besides starter Jameis Winston, the only other healthy quarterback on the roster is undrafted rookie Nick Fitzgerald.

Let’s check out some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • Packers linebacker Rashan Gary was carted off the field during Thursday night’s loss to the Raiders. Fortunately, it sounds like the 21-year-old is doing alright. RG Sports Agency tweets that Gary is “fine and doing well.” The rookie had suffered a lower-body injury early in the game, and he was later carted off the field after taking a hit to the head and neck area. The Michigan product was the 12th-overall pick in this past year’s draft.
  • Lions center Frank Ragnow was carted off the field after suffering a right leg injury during last night’s loss to the Bills. If the 2018 first-round pick has to miss time, Detroit’s offensive line situation will be bleak. As Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets, the team currently has journeyman Kenny Wiggins and former fifth-rounder Joe Dahl slotted in at offensive guard. The team was originally counting on Wiggins to be their top backup offensive tackle with Tyrell Crosby out of the lineup.
  • There’s some good injury news! Free agent cornerback Chris Campbell has been cleared from his mild hamstring strain and is now ready to audition for teams, tweets ESPN’s Mike Triplett. The 23-year-old was waived/injured by the Saints early in training camp. Campbell was a 2018 sixth-round pick out of Penn State, but he didn’t make an appearance during his rookie campaign.

NFC North Notes: Vikings, Lions, Bears

Tight end Kyle Rudolph confirmed that he’s attempting to negotiate a new deal withe Vikings, but also said he’s been told there are “plenty of other teams” that would have interest in acquiring him, as Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com writes. Rudolph, who is scheduled to earn $7.275MM in the final year of his contract, has already stated he won’t accept a pay cut. Minnesota has the second-least cap space in the NFL, and also drafted tight end Irv Smith Jr. in the second round of last month’s draft.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • Graham Glasgow could be on the move again. The Lions deployed Glasgow — who played center on nearly every offensive snap in 2018 — at right guard at organized team activities, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Glasgow’s position change will allow Detroit to move 2018 first-round pick Frank Ragnow from left guard to center, his more natural position. Glasgow, for his part, split time between left guard and center in both 2017 and 2017 before moving to center full-time last season.
  • The Bears are listing former offensive tackle Bradley Sowell as a tight end, per Adam Jahns of The Athletic (Twitter link). as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune notes (via Twitter), Chicago doesn’t necessarily have an in-line tight end on its roster, and Sowell played that role in 2018. Per Pro Football Focus, Sowell lined up as an tight end for 30 snaps last season, and spent another eight plays in the backfield. Memorably, Sowell caught a touchdown pass on a trick play against the Rams in December.
  • Former AAF quarterback Luis Perez recently worked out for the Lions, tweets Adam Caplan of SiriusXM NFL Radio. Perez, who signed with the Rams after going undrafted in 2018 and just spent a month on the Eagles’ roster, tossed five touchdowns against six interceptions for the AAF’s Birmingham Iron. Detroit currently has Tom Savage and Connor Cook behind starter Matthew Stafford.

Extra Points: Sanders, Eagles, Lions

Emmanuel Sanders became one of the NFL’s upper-echelon wide receivers since signing with the Broncos, stringing together three straight 1,000-yard seasons and being Peyton Manning‘s top postseason target en route to Denver’s Super Bowl 50 title. But the 31-year-old pass-catcher saw the Broncos change the equation this offseason. After three seasons featuring scant production behind Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, Denver drafted two wideouts — second-rounder Courtland Sutton and fourth-rounder DaeSean Hamilton — to try and build depth behind its experienced duo. Considering Sanders has a $12.94MM cap number in 2019, one that would cost the Broncos barely $2MM to shed, he may see the writing on the wall heading into his fifth year with the team.

Even prior to them signing those young guys, even when I signed the contract … only two years are guaranteed and after that it’s year-to-year,” Sanders said, via Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic (subscription required) of his September 2016 extension. “You play long enough and you start understanding these contracts are not guaranteed. And, truthfully, for everybody, including Von Miller, it’s year-to-year, because who knows what might happen? Who knows what situation might play out?

I always play like that, like it’s always year-to-year. I got something to prove this year and if I don’t prove it to the Broncos, then I’ll be proving it to some other team.”

Denver has both Thomas and Sanders signed through 2019, the former with a cap number slated to climb to $17.53MM next year. So, the team will have some big decisions to make a year from now regarding one of the top receiving duos in franchise history.

Here’s the latest from around the league:

  • After receiving his initial OTA reps at left guard, Lions first-rounder Frank Ragnow is expected to start his career there, per Nate Atkins of MLive.com. This would likely mean using improving talent Graham Glasgow at center. Glasgow lined up at center at times during both of his first two seasons but spent more time at guard in a breakout 2017. The Lions were planning to try Glasgow at center at the offseason’s outset, and that experiment may continue into training camp. Ragnow was Pro Football Focus’ top-rated center in each of the past two years while at Arkansas. Newly acquired Wesley Johnson, the Jets’ starting center for the past 1 1/2 years, would then represent a depth piece.
  • Sixth-year defensive lineman Cornelius Washington resides on the Lions’ roster bubble, Atkins notes. The former Bears defender is entering the second season of a two-year, $6MM deal. Washington played 488 snaps last season at defensive end with Detroit, registering 2.5 sacks. The Lions, though, drafted Da’Shawn Hand in the fourth round this year, and Atkins envisions Washington being close to the chopping block as a result.
  • The Eagles are planning to use Jay Ajayi as their unquestioned starter, and Darren Sproles will join emerging second-year back Corey Clement after missing most of last season. The defending Super Bowl champions are likely to keep a No. 4 back on the active roster, per Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia, who doesn’t expect that to be 2017 draftee Donnel Pumphrey. Despite Pumphrey being yet to show what he can do after an injury wiped out his entire rookie season, the former fourth-round pick is battling one-time Redskins starter-turned-castoff Matt Jones. Zangaro expects Jones to win that battle. The Eagles also have Wendell Smallwood and paid a premium to add UDFA Josh Adams this year, creating an intriguing competition for this back-end roster spot.