Jonah Jackson

OL Notes: Jets, Alt, Titans, Jones, Steelers, Shelton, Rams, Jones, Ravens, Giants, Hawks

Once the draft moves past its quarterback stage, wide receivers are expected to be the focus. This draft also features a few high-level tackle prospects that should go off the board soon after, potentially breaking up the QB-WR string that could lead off this year’s event. Arguably the top tackle available, Joe Alt, has begun his run of pre-draft visits. The Jets and Titans used “30” visits on the Notre Dame tackle this week,’s Ian Rapoport tweets. A first-team All-American in back-to-back years and the top tackle on Daniel Jeremiah’s big board (No. 8 overall), Alt should not need to wait long before his name comes off the board.

The Titans (No. 7) and Jets (No. 10) figure to be two prime suitors. The Jets are not as needy here compared to the start of free agency, having reacquired Morgan Moses via trade and signed Tyron Smith. The All-Decade blocker is among the NFL’s most injury-prone players, and with both Smith and Moses going into age-33 seasons, a tackle-in-waiting would benefit a Jets team that has encountered regular issues up front over the past several years. The Titans cut Andre Dillard and have not added a tackle, potentially making them the Alt floor. Though, the Chargers should not be entirely ruled out — now that Jim Harbaugh is running the show — of a first-round tackle investment to pair with Rashawn Slater.

Here is the latest from the O-line ranks around the league:

Lions Made Effort To Retain G Jonah Jackson

The Lions have two upper-crust contracts allocated to offensive linemen, having extended Taylor Decker and Frank Ragnow. They also have Penei Sewell on track to eventually score a monster right tackle deal. Exiting the season, these contractual components — along with plans for Jared Goff and Amon-Ra St. Brown — had made it more likely than not Jonah Jackson would need to find his second contract elsewhere.

That ended up happening, with the four-year guard starter landing a three-year, $51MM deal from the Rams. Jackson’s Rams deal came on a day in which two teams — the Rams and Panthers — each finalized plans to add two high-priced guards. Jackson joins Kevin Dotson as well-paid Rams guards; the latter signed a three-year, $48MM contract. While the Rams’ guard plan also involved re-signing a starter to keep him out of free agency, the Lions crafted a similar approach.

Although not much came out about a Lions effort to re-sign Jackson, the Detroit News’ Justin Rogers notes the team had hopes of reaching a deal that would keep him off the market. A belief in the building existed that Jackson would be retained even in the days before free agency, but Rogers adds the Lions then learned Jackson’s price tag would come in higher than they anticipated.

Other teams undoubtedly encountered similar issues, with the salary cap rising by more than $30MM from its 2023 place. This year’s guard class featured a number of candidates to score big contracts, and the cap spike effectively ensured that group would fare well. Dotson re-signing with the Rams before the market opened also helped players like Jackson, who received the second-highest guard payment among this year’s UFAs — behind only the Panthers’ five-year, $100MM Robert Hunt deal.

Jackson, 27, had expressed a fondness for Detroit and hoped extension talks would lead to his second contract coming with the Lions. But little emerged indicating the sides were serious about an extension entering last season. By late February, the parties were not close on terms. Jackson’s eventual defection led the Lions to add Kevin Zeitler in free agency. The 12-year veteran will team with Graham Glasgow, who re-signed (on a three-year, $20MM deal that includes $8MM fully guaranteed) just before the legal tampering period began.

Zeitler joined the Lions on a one-year, $6MM accord. His play in a midseason Ravens rout of the Lions impressed the NFC North champions, and Rogers adds the team made contact with Zeitler early in free agency. A deal took nearly a week to finalize, but Zeitler — a former Bengals first-round pick who later started for the Browns, Giants and Ravens — is now tied to a fifth team.

You never know when guys get to that age how long they’re going to last,” Holmes said, calling the Zeitler-Glasgow combination Plan A going into free agency. “So, when it got to the end of the season, and really started diving into those targets, and looked at him again, I was like, ‘Wow, no. He sustained that for the whole season.’ He’s a guy that, he just fits like a glove for what we’re about.”

It cost the Lions less per year to sign both Glasgow and Zeitler, who received a combined $13.5MM. The Rams gave Jackson $25.5MM fully guaranteed. Jackson’s age helped secure that deal, with Glasgow and Zeitler respectively set for their age-32 and age-34 seasons. Glasgow, who had re-signed with the Lions in 2023, may well have needed to leave Detroit once again had Jackson agreed to terms. The Ravens had started talks on a second Zeitler contract but will move on; Zeitler joins guard John Simpson and right tackle Morgan Moses as starting O-linemen lost this offseason.

The Lions are expected to trot out three 30-something O-line starters this coming season, but Zeitler has been one of the NFL’s steadiest guards over the past several seasons. Pro Football Focus rated the former first-round pick as a top-15 guard in each of his three Ravens seasons. The advanced metrics site did not place Jackson in the top 20 during his four-year Detroit stay.

Rams, G Jonah Jackson Agree To Deal

One of the top guards in the 2024 free agent class is coming off the market. Jonah Jackson has agreed to terms on a three-year, $51MM deal with the Rams, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports. The pact includes $34MM in guaranteed money.

The Rams are betting big at guard, giving Jackson this money after authorizing a three-year, $48MM payment for Kevin Dotson. With Matthew Stafford‘s 2022 injuries submarining the Rams’ Super Bowl title defense two years ago, they will do more to protect him this coming season.

This move may well move Steve Avila off his guard spot, but the 2023 second-round pick has experience at center. TCU deployed Avila at center during his 2021 junior season. He also saw time there as a sophomore. The Rams look to be designing a Jackson-Avila-Dotson interior. This move probably means 2023 starting center Coleman Shelton will be out of the picture.

While guard represented one of this free agent class’ deepest positions, it is interesting one team will nab two of the top players here. This combination will be the most costly guard duo in NFL history, topping that of the Browns’ Joel BitonioWyatt Teller tandem, which comprises just more than $30MM in combined AAV. The Rams are at $33MM between the Dotson and Jackson signings.

The Lions have Taylor Decker and Frank Ragnow on upper-crust accords, with Penei Sewell squarely on the extension radar. With Jared Goff and Amon-Ra St. Brown payments coming as well, Detroit had been expected to pass on extending a player it developed from the third round.

Jackson has started all 57 games he has played as a pro. He has been a better run blocker compared to his pass-pro work, which would bode well for a Rams team that saw Kyren Williams take off during his second season. This is a surprising commitment to the guard position, but the team still has Alaric Jackson in the RFA pay window and Rob Havenstein on an affordable deal. If the Rams keep that setup intact for 2024, this is an affordable scenario — even around Stafford’s $40MM-AAV contract. But choices will need to be made come 2025.

Lions, Jonah Jackson Not Close On Deal?

Among a handful of young guards close to free agency, Jonah Jackson may need to collect his money elsewhere. As the Lions have some big payments to make, the four-year guard starter was not close to an extension when the sides previously talked.

The Lions discussed an extension with Jackson last year, though no report of substantial negotiations surfaced. Indeed,’s Adam Caplan notes Jackson and the Lions were not believed to be close on terms when they talked in 2023.

[RELATED: Jared Goff Extension Expected In 2024]

Detroit does not have an obvious replacement for Jackson on its roster, but the team also has Taylor Decker and Frank Ragnow tied to veteran contracts up front. Penei Sewell is also extension-eligible now; the All-Pro right tackle will be linked to a potential position-record accord either this year or next. The Lions will have Sewell under contract through 2025, once they pick up his fifth-year option. That will table matters with the former No. 6 overall pick, but the Jackson situation is on the front burner.

A starter in all 59 games he has played with the Lions, Jackson previously expressed interest in a long-term Detroit stay. The former third-round pick was part of one of the NFL’s best O-lines, helping enable Jared Goff‘s resurgence and successful seasons from RBs David Montgomery, Jahmyr Gibbs and Jamaal Williams over the past two years. Pro Football Focus ranked Jackson 34th among guards last season, but he checked in inside the top 30 in 2021 and ’22.

Jackson, 27, is part of an interesting guard class. Not much movement has taken place with the 2020 draftees-turned-starters, who are close to testing the market. Jackson joins Robert Hunt, Damien Lewis, Michael Onwenu, Jon Runyan Jr. and Ezra Cleveland as young guard starters seeking their first paydays. Teams in need at guard will also have older performers Dalton Risner and Graham Glasgow, the latter rebounding when back with the Lions, available. Kevin Zeitler will also be available ahead of his age-34 season.

In addition to a future Sewell payment, the Lions have Goff and Amon-Ra St. Brown residing as 2024 priorities. Both offensive pillars are going into contract years. Jackson should not be ruled out from staying, but it is certainly possible the gap between what the Lions have offered — if indeed an offer has been extended — and what will be available on the open market will lead the four-year starter out of Michigan.

Latest On Lions’ O-Line Situation

As the Lions prepare to face a 49ers team flooded with high-end investments on its defensive line, they will do so with a suddenly banged-up offensive front.

Jonah Jackson has undergone surgery for the meniscus tear he sustained in the Lions’ divisional-round win over the Buccaneers, and Frank Ragnow will not head into the San Francisco matchup healthy. The veteran center plans to play, but’s Ian Rapoport notes he sustained a sprained knee and a sprained ankle against the Bucs.

Ragnow’s matchups with the likes of Javon Hargrave, Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw will be a key factor as the Lions attempt to keep Jared Goff clean in their first NFC championship game since 1991. Jackson, however, may still have a chance to return this season. If the Lions pull the upset and advance to the first Super Bowl in team history,’s Jeremy Fowler indicates the team’s left guard could return for that game. Dan Campbell confirmed that possibility for Jackson, who is playing out his rookie contract.

The Lions have dealt with injuries up front this season, but the unit had been healthy for much of this wildly successful stretch run. Four of the Lions’ five original O-line starters this season have missed at least two games this season; Jackson has missed five. Only All-Pro right tackle Penei Sewell has lasted 19 games. Halapoulivaati Vaitai remains on IR, and it does not appear the right guard is coming back this season. Coming back after a three-year Denver stay, Graham Glasgow usurped Vaitai after starting the season as a backup.

Detroit will have four of its front five available against San Francisco, and were the team to come back and allow Jackson to return for a Super Bowl start, it would represent a nice conclusion to a spotty contract year. Jackson, who said last year he is seeking a Lions extension, has been a Lions starting guard since the team drafted him in the 2020 third round. The Bob Quinn regime drafted Jackson, and the Lions have Ragnow and LT Taylor Decker tied to big-ticket deals. Sewell will also be in line for one, joining Amon-Ra St. Brown in that regard.

A 2024 Goff extension is also likely on tap for the Lions, who have let the 2021 trade acquisition play on his Rams contract for three years. These factors will make it difficult for the Lions to retain Jackson, and we have not heard extension rumors since early September.

Lions Keeping “Open Dialogue” With Jared Goff, Jonah Jackson

The Lions continue to pursue extensions with two key players. General manager Brad Holmes revealed yesterday that the organization has had “good dialogue” with quarterback Jared Goff and offensive lineman Jonah Jackson regarding long-term deals.

“We’ve kept open dialogue with their agents in camp and I think the transparency has been good, so we’ll see how it goes,” Holmes said (via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press).

We heard earlier this offseason that the organization could consider an extension with their quarterback, although there’s not a whole lot of urgency to sign Goff right now. The veteran still has two years remaining on his contract worth around $26MM per season. Goff had one of the strongest seasons of his career in 2022, tossing 29 touchdowns vs. seven interceptions while guiding Detroit to their first winning record since 2017.

Detroit seemed to put a Goff succession plan in place by drafting Hendon Hooker in April. The rookie will begin the season on NFI while he continues to rehab from a torn ACL. The 2023 campaign will presumably be a redshirt campaign for the rookie, so Goff’s job is likely safe for at least two more seasons.

There’s a bit more urgency when it comes to Jackson, as the lineman is set to hit free agency following the 2023 season. The former third-round pick has started all 45 of his appearances since entering the NFL. Jackson earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2021 after ranking 24th among 82 eligible guards on Pro Football Focus.

The lineman took a small step back in 2023, finishing 27th among 77 eligible guards. He missed a handful of games to begin the season with a finger injury. Back in June, we heard that the Lions were expected to engage Jackson in extension talks.

Lions G Jonah Jackson Expects Extension Talks To Start Soon

A quick study with the Lions, Jonah Jackson is going into his fourth season as a starter. The young guard comprises part of one of the NFL’s top offensive lines, and an extension is now a worthwhile discussion topic.

Jackson became extension-eligible in January, and his rookie contract expires after the season. The former third-round pick has expressed a desire to stay in Detroit for the long haul, but no extension talks have begun yet. But Jackson, 26, expects that to change, indicating (via the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett) contract discussions “probably” will begin after the team wraps up OTAs.

Teams often hammer out extensions between minicamp and the regular-season opener. The previous Lions front office agreed to terms with left tackle Taylor Decker in September 2020, while the Brad Holmes-led regime reupped center Frank Ragnow in May 2021. Although the current regime has authorized re-signings of Alex Anzalone and John Cominsky, the Ragnow move represents the only big-ticket extension agreed to since Holmes and Co. took over in 2021. Jackson seems poised to be another candidate.

Pro Football Focus has rated Jackson as a top-30 guard in each of the past two seasons, and he earned a Pro Bowl alternate nod in 2021. The Bob Quinn-era draftee has done well to help Detroit form a high-end offensive front. That group helped fellow extension candidate Jared Goff finish fifth in QBR last season — his highest career mark — and boosted Jamaal Williams to an NFL-most 16 rushing touchdowns in 2022.

While the Lions have Halapoulivaati Vaitai signed to a veteran contract, the former Eagles blocker accepted a pay cut after missing all of 2022. Vaitai’s restructure removed the 2024 season from his contract, giving the Lions a fairly clean investment ledger at guard. A few guards did well in free agency this year, with two — Ben Powers, Nate Davis — securing eight-figure-per-year deals. A big contract year could certainly boost Jackson’s prospects of joining the eight-figure-AAV guard club (currently 13 members), potentially giving the Rutgers product a decision ahead of the season. As he did in January, however, Jackson (via Birkett) expressed his fondness for Detroit.

It is also unknown how seriously the Lions will pursue an extension, as they also have Penei Sewell on track for a second contract in either 2024 or 2025. A big Goff raise would affect the Lions’ planning, with Amon-Ra St. Brown clearly on the extension radar as well.

The nine months between now and free agency will feature big-picture guard choices from several teams. Jackson joins Robert Hunt (Dolphins), Ezra Cleveland (Vikings), Michael Onwenu (Patriots), Damien Lewis (Seahawks), Jon Runyan Jr. (Packers) and Kevin Dotson (Steelers) as rookie-contract guards going into their walk years.

NFC North Rumors: Bears, Bradbury, Lions

The Bears made waves recently when they announced the addition of Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren as the new president and CEO in Chicago. The addition resulted in a number of questions about Warren’s responsibilities and how they will compare to those of general manager Ryan Poles. While Poles will report to Warren in the grand scheme of things, the Bears will leave the football aspect of the team to Poles, allowing Warren to focus on business, according to Adam Jahns of The Athletic.

This is similar to Warren’s past roles in the NFL, specifically his time in Minnesota as chief operating officer. Warren worked hand-in-hand with former Vikings general manager Rick Spielman for several years before Warren moved on to the Big Ten. Spielman told Jahns that he operated with Warren in a similar manner to how the Bears plan to operate, with Spielman focused on football and Warren on business. The only difference in Chicago is that, while Spielman and Warren both reported to Vikings’ ownership, Poles is now reporting directly to Warren.

Here are a few other rumors from around the NFC North concerning some likely offseason transactions:

  • Vikings center Garrett Bradbury struggled as a first-round selection up until this season. In his first three years of NFL football, Bradbury’s best season in 2020 saw him rank 25th out of 36 graded centers, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). The other two years saw Bradbury rank 28th in 2019 and 29th in 2021, leading to Minnesota declining his fifth-year option heading into this season. After a hot start to the season that considerably raised his stock as a pending free agent, Bradbury iterated that he loved his team and preferred to stay in Minnesota. Three and a half months later and Bradbury finished off his hot season for a career year that saw him rank 11th out of 38 graded centers. With free agency on the horizon, Bradbury was asked again and, according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, he reiterated his desires to re-sign with the team that drafted him.
  • Unlike Bradbury, Lions guard Jonah Jackson is fully locked into his starting position at left guard heading into his contract year. If he has his way, though, the 25-year-old won’t even sniff free agency. Jackson told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press that he is fully open to remaining with the Lions long-term. “I would retire in Detroit,” Jackson said. “I would love to be a Lion forever. I love the city.” Jackson isn’t expected to earn a top guard contract but still may fetch a significant deal worth $13-15MM. He made sure to clarify that if it doesn’t happen, he doesn’t intend to hold out. “If it doesn’t (happen), I’m the same guy, the same 73 who showed up for work every day from COVID Year 1 to now…If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”
  • Another player who is getting ahead of free agency, Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney signed with a new agency in advance of potential contract extension negotiations, according to the official Twitter account of Athletes First sports agency. Mooney came back down to reality this year after a stellar 2021 season, partially due to injuries that kept him out of the final five games of the season. Mooney still has the ability to be a 1,000-yard receiver like he was a year ago and should benefit from another year of experience and improvement for quarterback Justin Fields. Taking action with his representation could indicate that Mooney is ready to start working towards a long-term extension before a contract year next season.

Lions G Jonah Jackson Bypasses Surgery, Aims To Return Soon

Jonah Jackson has not played since the Lions’ Week 1 Eagles matchup. The Pro Bowl guard played every Detroit offensive snap in that game, but a finger injury sustained in practice days later has kept him sidelined since.

Rather than go through with a surgery that would have led to an IR stay, Jackson is attempting to rehab this issue — a bone and ligament malady in his right ring finger — in order to return quicker, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. The third-year blocker is aiming to return before the Lions’ Week 6 bye; he is not expected to play against the Seahawks this week. Jackson cannot currently bend the injured finger, per Birkett, who adds this issue is supposed to require a splint for six weeks.

[RELATED: D’Andre Swift Likely To Miss Time]

A Pro Bowl alternate in 2021, Jackson has become a quick study in Detroit. The Lions’ previous regime selected him in Round 3 out of Ohio State (after four years at Rutgers), and the Big Ten-developed lineman did not miss a start for the Lions over his first two seasons. His absence this year has further wounded a Lions line missing multiple bodies.

Lions backups have been needed at both guard spots this season. Right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai underwent back surgery and is going through a lengthy recovery timetable; he has not played this season. Center Frank Ragnow, after a toe injury forced him to miss most of last season, missed Week 2 with turf toe. Backup guard Tommy Kraemer is on IR. Detroit’s starting O-line has not played a snap together this season, and Week 1 marked the only time four of the Lions’ front five have appeared in the same game.

Taylor Decker missed eight games last season with an injury to his left index finger, the longtime Detroit left tackle did undergo surgery, however. Jackson has resumed work on a side field but has not logged an official practice since sustaining the injury. Ragnow missed the Lions’ Wednesday practice with the toe injury but played through that ailment last week. Their interior issues notwithstanding, the Lions will enter Week 4 with both tackles (Decker and Penei Sewell) available.

Lions G Halapoulivaati Vaitai Undergoes Back Surgery

When the Lions placed Halapoulivaati Vaitai on IR shortly after finalizing their 53-man roster, the extent of his injury was unknown. Dan Campbell provided more clarity on the matter, which now appears to have the veteran guard facing an extended absence.

Vaitai underwent back surgery this week in Dallas, Justin Rogers of the Detroit News notes. Campbell is not ruling out the seventh-year blocker for the season, but the Lions will be without their right guard starter for an extensive stretch.

This news comes during a week in which the Lions placed Vaitai’s primary backup, Tommy Kraemer, on injured reserve. Kraemer also suffered a back injury, one that caused him to miss the team’s season opener. Third-year guard Logan Stenberg started against the Eagles and is expected to remain in that role in Week 2. Stenberg, a 2020 fourth-round pick, had not started a game through two seasons. He committed two penalties and allowed a sack in his debut.

Although Kraemer (three starts as a rookie last season) did not play in Week 1, the Lions waiting until this week to place him on IR means he cannot return until Week 6. It is uncertain if the former UDFA will be ready by then. Vaitai’s timetable became clouded because of his procedure. He could be staring at his longest absence as a pro.

A former fifth-round Eagles pick, Vaitai signed a five-year, $45MM deal with the Lions in 2020. Detroit’s Bob QuinnMatt Patricia regime authorized that contract. Vaitai has moved from right tackle to right guard during his time with the Lions, who drafted Penei Sewell to play right tackle last year. The high-priced acquisition has started 25 games for the Lions in two seasons, including 15 last season. Vaitai is signed through 2024, though the team can escape the contract with just more than $5MM in dead money in 2023.

The Lions were expected to feature one of the NFL’s top offensive lines this season, but they have suddenly seen that unit depleted early. In addition to Vaitai’s shutdown, center Frank Ragnow and left guard Jonah Jackson missed practice Thursday. Left tackle Taylor Decker is battling a calf injury, leaving Sewell as the only Detroit O-line starter not dealing with an ailment presently. As a result of the injury troubles, the Lions signed guard Kayode Awosika off the Eagles’ practice squad this week.