T.J. Hockenson

2023 NFL Fifth-Year Option Results

Monday marked the deadline for NFL clubs to officially pick up their options on 2019 first-rounders. Fifth-year option seasons are no longer just guaranteed for injury — they’re now fully guaranteed, which makes these decisions a little tougher for teams.

Nineteen players had their options exercised, a tick up from 14 last year. Here’s the full rundown:

1. QB Kyler Murray, Cardinals – Exercised ($29.7MM)
2. DE Nick Bosa, 49ers: Exercised ($17.9MM)
3. DE Quinnen Williams, Jets: Exercised ($11.5MM)
4. DE Clelin Ferrell, Raiders: Declined ($11.5MM)
5. LB Devin White, Buccaneers: Exercised ($11.7MM)
6. QB Daniel Jones, Giants: Declined ($22.4MM)
7. DE Josh Allen, Jaguars: Exercised ($11.5MM)
8. TE T.J. Hockenson, Lions: Exercised ($9.4MM)
9. DT Ed Oliver, Bills: Exercised ($10.8MM)
10. LB Devin Bush, Steelers: Declined ($10.9MM)
11. OT Jonah Williams, Bengals: Exercised ($12.6MM)
12. LB Rashan Gary, Packers: Exercised ($10.9MM)
13. DT Christian Wilkins, Dolphins: Exercised ($10.8MM)
14. G Chris Lindstrom, Falcons: Exercised ($13.2MM)
15. QB Dwayne Haskins:
16. DE Brian Burns, Panthers: Exercised ($16MM)
17. DT Dexter Lawrence, Giants: Exercised ($10.8MM)
18. C Garrett Bradbury, Vikings: Declined ($13.2MM)
19. DT Jeffery Simmons, Titans: Exercised ($10.8MM)
20. TE Noah Fant, Seahawks: Exercised ($6.9MM; originally drafted by Broncos)
21. S Darnell Savage, Packers: Exercised ($7.9MM)
22. OT Andre Dillard, Eagles: Declined ($12.6MM)
23. OT Tytus Howard, Texans: Exercised ($13.2MM)
24. RB Josh Jacobs, Raiders: Declined ($8MM)
25. WR Marquise Brown, Cardinals: ($13.4MM; originally drafted by Ravens)
26. DE Montez Sweat, Commanders: Exercised ($11.5MM)
27. S Johnathan Abram, Raiders: Declined ($7.9MM)
28. DE Jerry Tillery, Chargers: Declined ($11.5MM)
29. DE L.J. Collier, Seahawks: Declined ($11.5MM)
30. CB Deandre Baker — N/A (released by Giants)
31. OT Kaleb McGary, Falcons: Declined ($13.2MM)
32. WR N’Keal Harry, Patriots: Declined ($12.4MM)

Lions Pick Up TE T.J. Hockenson’s Fifth-Year Option

As expected, the Lions have locked in tight end T.J. Hockenson through the 2023 season. Tim Twentyman of the team’s website tweets that the Lions have picked up Hockenson‘s fifth-year option. The move will attach the tight end to a $9.39MM salary for the 2023 campaign.

This seemed to be the expected move after the two sides didn’t agree to an extension. We learned earlier this month that the Lions were expected to pick up the fifth-year option, but only as a placeholder as they looked to extend the Pro Bowler.

The eight-overall pick in the 2019 draft has emerged as one of Detroit’s top targets. He earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2020 after hauling in 67 receptions for 723 yards and six touchdowns, and he followed that up with 583 yards and four scores in 12 games in 2021. Thumb surgery ultimately shelved him in December of last year.

The Lions still have plenty of time to extend Hockenson. Last year, we saw the Patriots sign Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry to deals that averaged $12.5MM per year, and Dallas Goedert later one-upped the duo by inking a deal worth $14.25MM AAV. The league’s highest-paid TEs, George Kittle and Travis Kelce, clock in a bit above that at $15MM and $14.3MM, respectively.

Hockenson’s agent would be hard pressed to reset the market at tight end. However, the $9MM+ commitment for 2023 indicates that the two sides can’t be that far apart.

Lions To Pick Up T.J. Hockenson’s Fifth-Year Option

Drafted during the Bob Quinn regime, T.J. Hockenson remains a key part of the Lions’ future under GM Brad Holmes‘ stewardship. The team plans to pick up the former top-10 pick’s fifth-year option.

As a one-time Pro Bowl selection at tight end, Hockenson will command a $9.39MM salary on his 2023 option. The Lions are only using the option as a placeholder, however, eyeing an extension for the veteran pass catcher, Holmes said (via the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett).

One of a few Iowa-produced tight ends stationed in the NFC, joining George Kittle and Noah Fant, Hockenson followed Eric Ebron as a top-10 Lions tight end choice. Hockenson earned his Pro Bowl nod in 2020, when he caught 67 passes for 723 yards and six touchdowns. The 6-foot-5 target played all 16 games that season. Injuries have limited him to 12 apiece in his first and third years, respectively. An ankle injury sidelined the former No. 8 overall choice in December 2019, and thumb surgery shelved him in December of last year. Hockenson still operated as Jared Goff‘s top target in 2021; he averaged a career-high 48.6 yards per game.

The deals the Patriots gave Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry last year come in at $12.5MM per year, with Dallas Goedert signing a $14.25MM-AAV extension late last year. Neither Kittle nor Travis Kelce‘s deals check in much higher — at $15MM and $14.3MM per year, respectively — so Hockenson will be positioned to be among the highest-paid tight ends in the game. With Goff’s contract unlikely to be on the Lions’ payroll long-term, they will have cash to dole out to other key players in the near future.

Detroit figures to lean on Hockenson again in 2022, though Amon-Ra St. Brown and D.J. Chark should factor in heavily in the team’s passing attack. Holding the Nos. 32 and 34 picks this month, the Lions could certainly add a big name to their receiving corps in the draft as well.

Lions’ T.J. Hockenson Done For Year

T.J. Hockenson‘s season is over. The Lions tight end underwent thumb surgery on Thursday morning that will rule him out for the remainder of 2021 (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). He’ll be placed on injured reserve this week and focus on his recovery for 2022. 

[RELATED: Lions’ Jacobs Done For Year]

Hockenson isn’t a stranger to IR, having lost a chunk of his rookie season to an ankle injury. That year, he finished out with 32 receptions for 367 yards and two touchdowns. Then, last year, Hockenson tallied 67 catches for 723 yards and six touchdowns across a full 16-game slate. This year, even as the Lions have slumped, the Pro Bowler has amassed a solid 61/583/4 line in 12 games.

It’ll be fine,” Hockenson said last week, before today’s news broke (via the Detroit Free Press). “No worries here.”

Hockenson was Jared Goff‘s favorite target throughout the year. Now, the Lions’ offense will have to look elsewhere for support in the passing game. Life without Hockenson starts this Sunday against the Cardinals.

Lions Place Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay On Reserve/COVID-19 List

TODAY: Good news for the Lions. Stafford has been removed from the COVID-19 list and has been placed back on the active roster, per a team statement. Apparently, the third test that he was required to take before entering team facilities resulted in what turned out to be a false positive, but his next three tests were all negative. Neither Stafford nor any members of his household have (or had) COVID-19.

AUGUST 1: The Lions placed Matthew Stafford on their reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday. He joins Kenny Golladay, T.J. Hockenson and Justin Coleman on Detroit’s list.

Placement on this list does not mean these players tested positive for the coronavirus. The list also includes players who are quarantining because they came in contact with someone who has tested positive. Stafford will join Golladay, Hockenson and Coleman in being away from the bulk of Lions teammates for the time being.

Thus far, Stafford is the NFL’s highest-profile player to land on the COVID list. He is, however, believed to be asymptomatic at this time, per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter).

Cornerback Amani Oruwariye, punter Arryn Siposs, safety Jalen Elliott and tight end Isaac Nauta are also on Detroit’s reserve/COVID list. Among the Lions’ group, as of Saturday, it is known Coleman tested positive, though NFL.com reported the veteran slot corner is asymptomatic.

If Stafford tested positive, he will be required to miss at least five days. This waiting period is only for asymptomatic players. Players who test positive and have symptoms for the virus must miss at least 10 days. That number is fluid; it depends on symptoms players experience. Players who land in either category must test negative twice before rejoining the team.

In this altered training camp format, practices do not begin until Aug. 12. Full practices do not start until Aug. 17, so the Lions have a bit of time for their group of starters to return. Teams begin their strength and conditioning-based acclimation periods Monday. Of course, this all depends on the players’ issues with the virus.

Lions To Place T.J. Hockenson On IR

T.J. Hockenson‘s first NFL season will end early. The No. 8 overall pick suffered an ankle injury that will prompt the Lions to place him on IR, Matt Patricia said Monday.

The Iowa product will wrap up his first season with 32 receptions for 367 yards and two touchdowns. Fellow Big Ten-produced rookie David Blough repeatedly tried to get Hockenson going on Thanksgiving Day, targeting him a season-high 11 times, but that effort ended with six receptions for 18 yards. It was emblematic of Hockenson’s rookie year.

After it looked like Hockenson would buck the trend of rookie tight ends being slow to assimilate to NFL action, he did not contribute too much statistically. More than a third of Hockenson’s yardage numbers came via his six-catch, 131-yard debut against the Cardinals. He did suffer a concussion and a shoulder injury, however. Hockenson still figures to be a key target for Matthew Stafford next season.

Detroit used a first-round pick on a tight end for the third time in 10 years, with Hockenson following Brandon Pettigrew and Eric Ebron. Hockenson joined Noah Fant as Iowa tight ends chosen in Round 1. Considering the leap fellow Iowa product George Kittle made in his second season, more can be expected of the ex-Hawkeyes as NFL sophomores.

Injury Notes: Ravens, Hockenson, Jones

Ravens defensive tackle Michael Pierce is doubtful to play in Monday Night’s game against the Rams with an ankle injury, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. Peirce started Baltimore’s first nine games before going down. Veteran Domato Peko Sr. will replace Peirce in the lineup.

Also via Zrebiec, wide receiver Chris Moore, offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, and offensive guard Ben Powers all remain questionable with injuries of their own. Stanley, who is dealing with an ankle issue of his own, is the only starter of the three, but he would be a substantial loss as the team’s starting right tackle. Moore has started one game this season and played sparingly, while Powers has yet to take the field.

Here’s more Saturday notes on the injury front around the NFL:

  • Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson was added to the injury report as questionable with a shoulder injury, according to a team press release. The eight overall pick in this year’s draft practiced all week without any reported issues so the news comes as a surprise. Hockenson has split time at tight end this year with Jesse James, but represents a far superior pass-catching option for quarterback Jeff Driskel. Hockenson has made 26 receptions and recorded 349 yards, while James has only caught 8 of 15 targets and gained 64 yards.
  • The Broncos signed cornerback Cyrus Jones last week and he was a healthy scratch against the Vikings. Even if the team wanted to activate him tomorrow, though, Jones has been ruled out with an illness, according to Aric DiLalla of Broncos.com. Jones was a second-round selection by the Patriots in 2016, but was released by New England earlier this season. He then jumped between the Ravens and Patriots practice squads before signing in Denver.

No IR For Lions’ T.J. Hockenson

Lions rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson won’t be forced to go on injured reserve, despite a scary scene on Sunday, ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter hears. Still, Hockenson will need some time to recuperate.

Hockenson took a hard hit in the Lions’ loss to the Chiefs, resulting in an injury to his right shoulder and a concussion. The No. 8 overall pick will rest up for a bit with an eye on picking up where he left off later this year. Against the Chiefs, he notched three catches for 27 yards and a touchdown, giving him an 11/166/2 line through four games (three starts).

His production will be missed, but the Lions will be able to turn to veterans Jesse James and Logan Thomas in the interim. If the Lions move to add another tight end to the mix, they’ll have to create roster room elsewhere.

After their bye week, the Lions will resume action against the Packers on Monday, October 14.

Injury Updates: Trubisky, Smith, Hockenson, Allen, Ingram, Mack, Stills

Perhaps the most significant injury of Week 4 afternoon games was Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky going down. Trubisky went down hard on his left shoulder, and was quickly ruled out before returning to the sideline with his arm in a sling. Bears coach Matt Nagy didn’t offer many details after the game, but he said he didn’t expect the injury to be season-ending, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). While it certainly could be worse, that does seem to suggest that the Bears expect Trubisky to miss at least a little time. Chase Daniel will fill in under center.

Here are more injury updates from around the league:

  • Bears linebacker Roquan Smith was surprisingly inactive for the team’s win over the Vikings, and Nagy said after the game Smith’s absence was for personal reasons, Pelissero tweets. Nagy wouldn’t elaborate and wouldn’t say whether Smith’s personal issue would extend beyond this week. This will be something to monitor, as Smith is a key part of Chicago’s defense.
  • Lions rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson took a hard hit in Detroit’s loss to the Chiefs, and was ruled out with a concussion. The Lions drafted Hockenson eighth overall back in April, and he’s shown a lot of promise in the first few games. He had three catches and a touchdown before going down against Kansas City, and is a big part of Detroit’s passing game. Hopefully he’ll be able to get cleared in time for Week 5.
  • Speaking of concussions, Bills quarterback Josh Allen suffered one on a brutal hit in Buffalo’s loss to the Patriots. He was ruled out for the remainder of the game and if he can’t get cleared by next week, Matt Barkley will be under center. Allen was struggling before getting hurt and had thrown three interceptions, but Barkley wasn’t much better in relief.
  • The Chargers’ injuries continued to pile up, as star pass-rusher Melvin Ingram left their game against the Dolphins and was quickly ruled out with a hamstring injury. Los Angeles was already one of the most banged up teams in the league, so this was the last thing they needed. Head coach Anthony Lynn said after the game that Ingram pulled a hamstring and they didn’t know how long he’d be out, according to a tweet from Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com.
  • Colts running back Marlon Mack tweaked his ankle, but it doesn’t seem serious. Mack only had two carries in the second half, but he said after the game it was just “coach’s decision” to hold him out and that he expects to be fine for Indy’s Week 5 game against the Chiefs, according to Charlie Clifford of WISH 8 (Twitter link).
  • Texans receiver Kenny Stills left his team’s loss to the Panthers with a hamstring injury, but it’s unclear how severe it is. After the game, head coach Bill O’Brien said the team would have to wait until Monday to determine the severity, per a tweet from Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Stills would be a big loss, but Houston would still have a very solid receiving corp in Will Fuller, DeAndre Hopkins, and Keke Coutee without him.

Poll: Which Top 10 Pick Has The Highest Bust Potential?

The NFL Draft is just barely in the rear view mirror, which means that teams are full of hope for their young rookies. But, of course, the NFL Draft is largely a crapshoot, and not every player will realize their full potential. 

This year’s draft had talent, but lacked a true consensus on the top player. Many evaluators pegged defensive end Nick Bosa as the player with the highest ceiling in the 2019 class, but other saw Alabama’s Quinnen Williams as the “safest bet.” The 49ers pounced on Bosa with the No. 2 pick while the Jets (and former GM Mike Maccagnan) were delighted to land Williams at No. 3 overall.

Leading up to the draft, much of the attention was on Oklahoma quarterback (and one-time MLB hopeful) Kyler Murray. When Murray announced that he would ditch the Oakland A’s, his stock exploded – Murray was considered a borderline first-round prospect in the winter, but wound up as the Cardinals’ choice at No. 1 overall. Murray has the speed that teams crave at the QB position, but questions persist about his size and overall lack of experience as a full-time starter.

The Cardinals’ long flirtation with Murray brought us the expected result, but the Raiders gave us the real first shock of the draft when they tapped Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 overall. Not to be outdone, the Giants snagged Duke’s Daniel Jones at No. 6 overall. Heading into the draft, neither player was thought to be anywhere near Top 10 consideration, but Mike Mayock and Dave Gettleman were unwilling to trade down and risk losing out on their guys.

The domino effect created by those picks allowed the Bucs to grab inside linebacker Devin White (No. 5 overall), the Jaguars to land outside linebacker Josh Allen (No. 6), the Lions to snag top tight end T.J. Hockenson, the Bills to draft defensive tackle Ed Oliver (No. 9 overall), and the Steelers to finish out the Top 10 with linebacker Devin Bush. Most of those picks were warmly received, but nothing is certain in the draft.

Which Top 10 pick do you think has the highest bust potential? Click below to cast your vote (link for app users) and back up your choice in the comment section.