Taylor Decker‘s absence will last more than one week. The Lions are placing their left tackle on the injured reserve, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter).
We learned yesterday that the offensive lineman had suffered a hand injury, but the team only initially ruled him out for Week 1. According to Rapoport, Decker has since undergone finger surgery, with the reporter estimating that the lineman will be back in about a month. At the very least, today’s move guarantees that Decker will miss the team’s first three games.
The 2016 first-round pick has been especially durable in recent years, only missing a single game over the past three seasons. The 28-year-old started all 16 games in 2020, appearing on all 1,046 of the team’s offensive snaps.
With Decker sidelined, the team will shuffle their offensive line a bit, with No. 7 overall pick Penei Sewellmovingto left tackle. The rookie was to transition to a right tackle role with the Lions, despite having lined up on the left side at Oregon, but the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett notes Sewell has primarily worked as the team’s first-string left tackle in practice since Decker’s injury (Twitter link). The team is not planning a long-term switch, with Decker expected to retake his usual job once he returns to full strength.
September 10th, 2021 at 3:12pm CST by Sam Robinson
Taylor Decker will miss Sunday’s Lions opener due to an injury he suffered in practice this week. The Lions ruled out their longtime left tackle for Sunday’s game against the 49ers.
The sixth-year blocker suffered a hand injury during Wednesday’s workout. The Lions have not placed Decker on IR, which would sideline him for the season’s first three games, but their line will be weakened in Week 1. Decker met with doctors Friday, Eric Woodyard of ESPN.com notes.
This setback appears set to slide No. 7 overall pick Penei Sewellto left tackle. The rookie was to transition to a right tackle role with the Lions, despite having lined up on the left side at Oregon, but the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett notes Sewell has primarily worked as the team’s first-string left tackle in practice since Decker’s injury (Twitter link). The team is not planning a long-term switch, with Decker expected to retake his usual job once he returns to full strength.
Decker, 28, has missed just one game over the past three seasons. He has been Detroit’s left tackle starter since arriving as a first-round pick in 2016. It will be interesting to see how Sewell, 20, fares at his former position against the 49ers’ collection of edge rushers, after experiencing some acclimation issues at right tackle during the preseason.
There have been a handful of extensions, reworked contracts, and brand-new deals signed over the past few weeks. We’ve provided updates on some of those notable deals below:
Taylor Decker, LT (Lions): Four-year, $60MM extension. Includes $7.5MM signing bonus (paid out in 17 installments in 2020). Salaries: $6.85MM (2020), $13MM fully guaranteed (2021), $14.75MM fully guaranteed (2022), $13.7MM (2023), $12.95MM (2024). $250K workout bonuses (2022-2024), $500 roster bonus (2024). Via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport on Twitter.
Joe Mixon, RB (Bengals): Four-year, $48MM extension. Includes $10MM signing bonus. Salaries: $1.3MM (2020), $8MM (2021), $8MM (2022), $9.4MM (2023). $9.6MM club option in 2024. $500K in playing time bonuses, $200K in offseason workout bonuses (each season). Via Rapoport on Twitter.
A mostly quiet offseason between the Lions and their cornerstone left tackle ended up still producing the endgame the parties wanted. The Lions and Taylor Decker agreed on an extension Tuesday.
The sides agreed on a four-year, $60MM pact (Twitterlinks). The final season is voidable, per Rapoport. More details will shake out here, but the Lions have their top tackle signed long-term.
This will not put Decker in the Laremy Tunsil neighborhood, ensuring that the Texans’ $22MM-per-year tackle remains in his own financial sector, and the per-year value is somewhat interesting. While the former first-round pick has never made a Pro Bowl, he has still given the Lions somewhat of a discount. At $15MM per year in new money, Decker’s deal comes in fifth overall at his position and behind multiple left tackle contracts agreed to more than two years ago. It does, however, come in ahead of recent pacts given to Dion Dawkins and D.J. Humphries.
Decker, 27, has started 55 games for the Lions since they took him 16th overall in 2016. The team now has two tackles signed to lucrative deals, with this agreement coming after Detroit inked Halapoulivaati Vaitaiin March. Decker graded as last season’s No. 20 overall tackle, per Pro Football Focus.
Before Vinny Curry reached an agreement to sign with the Eagles, he received a better offer from the Browns, Geoff Mosher of InsidetheBirds.com tweets. Curry wanted to stay in Philadelphia, per Mosher, but one-year Eagles exec Andrew Berry — now the Browns GM — made a push to bring the veteran defensive lineman to Cleveland. This does not mark the first time the Browns have submitted what was believed to be the best multiyear offer for a defensive lineman only to wind up not signing him this offseason. They represented Jadeveon Clowney‘s best offer, but the former No. 1 overall pick did not go for it and remains a free agent. The Browns redid Olivier Vernon‘s deal, seemingly taking them out of the Clowney sweepstakes, but still appear to be in the market for D-line help. Cleveland did add Adrian Clayborn earlier this offseason, and he stands to be the top backup to Vernon and Myles Garrett.
Here is the latest from the North divisions, shifting first to a more famous Browns cog:
Odell Beckham Jr. made some comments recently that indicated he would not be especially upset if the 2020 season did not happen. “I just feel like the season shouldn’t happen,” Beckham said during an interview with the Wall Street Journal, “and I’m prepared for it to not happen and I wouldn’t mind not having it.” These comments, however, came before the NFL finalized its safety protocols. Beckham did not opt out and is set for his second season with the Browns. After skipping most of the Browns’ voluntary activities last year, Beckham has been engaged in the process this year, Berry said, via the AP’s Tom Withers.
The pre-Lamar JacksonRavens routinely rostered two quarterbacks, but they again plan to carry three this year, John Harbaugh said. The Ravens have Robert Griffin III signed up for a third season in Baltimore, while Trace McSorley enters his second NFL season. Harbaugh indicated the team kept three passers last year because it did not believe McSorely would pass through waivers to the Ravens’ practice squad.
Two-plus months after the last Taylor Decker contract update, the Lions are not believed to have discussed an extension with the fifth-year left tackle. They have prioritized a Kenny Golladay re-up over Decker’s, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. Decker indicated this week the Lions have not made him an offer yet. A new Decker deal would likely cost the Lions north of $16MM annually. Both players are going into contract years. Decker making it through his fifth season without a new deal would make him a franchise tag candidate, though tags will not be as easy to apply next year if the cap plummets as expected.
The Packers announced they will not have fans at their first two home games. However, the team will re-evaluate the situation after those two September dates.
Taylor Decker has one year to go on his contract, but he hasn’t gotten down to brass tacks with the Lions just yet (Twitter link via Tim Twentyman of the team website). There haven’t been any serious discussions on a new deal, though Decker says he’s gotten good feedback from the team on the whole.
The Lions exercised Decker’s fifth-year option last year, keeping him under contract for $10.35MM for the 2020 season. Even though he says he’s willing to stay patient, he did make a representation change earlier this year, joining up with AMDG Sports, a firm dedicated exclusively to offensive linemen. The group is managed by LeCharles Bentley, who also tutors Decker at his performance center.
Decker lacked consistency in his first three seasons, but he turned a major corner last year. He allowed just seven sacks in 2019, graded out as one of Pro Football Focus’ top five tackles in the NFL, and only improved as the year wore on. For comparison, Decker graded as PFF’s No. 36 tackle in 2018.
In addition to Decker, the Lions will have to leave room for other post-2020 extensions, including wide receiver Kenny Golladay.
Falcons front office exec Scott Pioli raised some eyebrows when he suddenly resigned the other day. Pioli had been an assistant GM and top lieutenant to GM Thomas Dimitroff, so it was a pretty significant departure. Pioli was the Chiefs’ general manager for four seasons before being canned, and he joined the Falcons in 2014. Rumors swirled about the circumstances surrounding his departure and whether he was forced out, but Pioli is insisting nothing happened. In an interview with Jeff Schultz of The Athletic, Pioli said “I’m fine. My family is fine. This was my choice and it’s just time. Time for what, I don’t know, yet,” he said somewhat cryptically.
Dimitroff backed up Pioli’s account, and said his resignation wasn’t to take another specific job. Still, it’s interesting timing considering recent reports that Arthur Blank, the Falcons’ owner, is getting restless with the direction of the franchise. Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn are under a lot of pressure to win in 2019, and if they don’t deliver they could be joining Pioli on the open market after the season. With his experience running a team, it’s possible Pioli could be a candidate for future GM openings.
Here’s more from around the NFC:
Many members of the 2016 draft class are getting ready to sign extensions. One first round pick from that class who isn’t preparing for that is Lions left tackle Taylor Decker. Decker has battled injuries and inconsistency since Detroit took him with the 16th overall pick a few years ago, and knows he needs to show out the next couple of seasons. “In my mind, I’m going to play two more years before that’s going to happen,” Decker said, referring to a new contract, per Nate Atkins of MLive.com. The Lions recently exercised the fifth-year option on Decker, meaning he’s under team control through the 2020 season. Atkins writes that the team’s current plan is “waiting and seeing” with Decker, and that they aren’t completely sold on him. Decker has been solid but not spectacular during his time on the field, and his development will be very interesting to monitor in 2019.
The conventional wisdom is that the Giants are 100 percent committed to Eli Manning as their starter in 2019, and quite possibly beyond. But in a recent piece, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com argues that Daniel Jones could be given the chance to supplant Manning before the season even begins. That would be in direct contrast with Giants brass’ stated intentions to sit and develop the sixth overall pick, but crazier things have happened. Florio writes that the “team’s hope that this happens could be hiding in plain sight,” referring to the potential for Jones to shine during training camp and the preseason and force them into playing him right away. It’s still very unlikely to happen, but it’s possible Manning’s place atop the depth chart isn’t quite as secure as everyone is assuming.
It’s officially official. On Monday, the Lions announced that they have picked up the fifth-year option on Taylor Decker‘s contract. With that, the offensive tackle is now under club control through the 2020 season.
The fifth-year option enables teams to tack an additional year on to the standard four-year rookie contract for first-round picks. The additional year is guaranteed for injury only, giving the Lions an escape hatch if Decker regresses for non-health reasons.
After missing half of the 2017 season, Decker bounced back to start in all 16 games for the Lions last year. The advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus pegged him as the 36th best tackle in the NFL, giving the Lions enough confidence to extend his pact for another season.
The Lions have activated a pair of lineman today, adding some much-needed reinforcement to the unit. The team announced on Twitter that they’ve activated left tackle Taylor Decker off the PUP and tackle Corey Robinson off the injured reserve. To make room on the roster, the team has waived wideout Jace Billingsley (via Tim Twentyman on Twitter).
Decker suffered a shoulder injury way back during OTAs and subsequently underwent surgery on a torn labrum. A 2016 first-round pick, the Ohio State product started all 16 games last season, with Pro Football Focus rating him as one of the top offensive tackles in the game. Decker will surely be a welcome addition to a Lions’ offensive line that has allowed 26 sacks this season. Offseason addition Greg Robinson was brought in to replace the previously-injured Decker, but the lineman struggled during his tenure in Detroit and was waived-injured earlier this week.
“When Deck’s ready, Deck’s going to play,” head coach Jim Caldwell said earlier this week (via ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein). “There’s a reason why he’s here, a reason why we picked him where we picked him. He’ll play when he’s ready.”
Robinson, a 2015 seventh-round pick, appeared in 14 games (three starts) for the Lions last season. The 25-year-old has battled through a foot injury since the end of last year, forcing him to miss the majority of the 2017 campaign. Thanks to his ability to play both tackle spots, Robinson should slide in as a top reserve behind Decker and Ricky Wagner.
Billingsley, a 2016 undrafted free agent out of Eastern Oregon State, has appeared in two career games, compiling a pair of special teams tackles.