AUGUST 15: The veteran receiver/returner agreed to terms on a two-year, $10.5MM deal that comes with $8.15MM fully guaranteed. The Lions created $1.3MM in cap space via this extension, per OverTheCap’s Jason Fitzgerald (on Twitter). Detroit used a 2026 void year to spread out Raymond’s cap hits. Raymond can earn up to $14MM on the deal, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets, noting incentives tied to receptions, receiving yards and Pro Bowl acclaim are in place. Raymond’s 2023 and ’24 salaries are guaranteed, with Wilson adding $1.4MM of his $4.35MM 2025 base is locked in at signing.
AUGUST 11: Kalif Raymond has made important contributions in his two seasons with the Lions, and the team will keep the veteran receiver/returner on another contract.
The Lions are extending Raymond on a two-year deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes, adding that the contract is expected to make the team’s top punt returner one of the highest-paid return men in the game (Twitter link). Raymond, 29, is going into his third season with the Lions; this extension will keep him tied to the team through 2025.
A former UDFA out of Holy Cross, Raymond has done well to carve out a role in Detroit. The former Broncos, Giants, Jets and Titans wideout/returner has worked as the Lions’ primary punt returner in his two Motor City seasons, doing so while making under-the-radar contributions at receiver as well. Raymond has combined for 1,192 receiving yards with Detroit.
This marks Raymond’s third Lions contract. He initially came over during GM Brad Holmes‘ first offseason, signing for one year and barely $1MM. The team then re-signed him in March 2022, authorizing a two-year, $5MM deal. After Raymond has proven a fit with the team, he will undoubtedly be rewarded with a raise.
Prior to his 2021 Detroit arrival, Raymond had never topped 200 receiving yards in a season. A Lions team that was starting over at receiver in 2021 put the 5-foot-8 cog to work. Raymond finished that season with 48 receptions for 576 yards and four touchdowns. With Jameson Williams debuting late in the season (and not playing a big role upon doing so) and DJ Chark missing more time due to injury, Raymond kept his spot as a regular on offense. He totaled a career-best 616 receiving yards in 2022. With Williams banned six games for betting on non-NFL games while on team grounds, Raymond should be in position to keep his gig as an auxiliary receiver to start the year.
Once Williams rejoins a receiving corps including Amon-Ra St. Brown and the reacquired Marvin Jones, it is possible Raymond’s receiving workload will be scaled back. But he still is set to be Detroit’s main punt returner. Raymond notched a punt-return touchdown last year, helping the Lions to a three-point win over the Jets, and finished with a career-high 13.1 yards per return. While Raymond did not have enough returns to qualify, that 13.1-yard average would have been among the NFL’s best marks. The Lions will reward him as such.