Detroit Lions: Who Should Get the Next Contract Extension?


The Detroit Lions just extended Darius Slay‘s contract, so who’s next from the 2013 class: Ziggy Ansah, Larry Warford, Devin Taylor, Sam Martin, Theo Riddick or Corey Fuller?

The Detroit Lions 2013 draft class was one of the best in the franchises history. Martin Mayhew landed five starters and two role players with their nine picks. Only seventh rounders Brandon Hepburn (released) and Michael Williams (traded) are not currently on the Lions roster.

Darius Slay just inked a new four-year extension and the remaining six players are in their final contract years. So who’s the next likely player to get a contract extension?

The five players that’ll have to wait

As a first round pick, Ziggy Ansah’s contract comes with a team option for an additional fifth year in 2017. With pass rushers contracts rising, it will likely be cheaper for the Lions to exercise his fifth year option and revisit negotiations the following year.

Aug 15, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Lions right guard Larry Warford (75) as quarterback
Aug 15, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Lions right guard Larry Warford (75) as quarterback /

Larry Warford, the Lions 3rd round pick, was an instant starter in 2013. After playing at close to a Pro Bowl level as a rookie, Warford has struggled with injuries the previous two years. When Warford is healthy he is arguably the Lions best offensive lineman, so if he can stay healthy in 2016 he will be in for a pay-day. That pay-day is likely to come after the season though and only if things go well.

Former fourth round pick Devin Taylor is getting an opportunity to start at defensive for the first time in his professional career. While Taylor has worked his way into a starting role, he will need to show he can be productive in a larger role to earn an extension.

Theo Riddick, a former sixth round pick, is one of the best role players in the league. He can be a weapon in most offenses and thrived last year in both of Detroit’s offensive schemes. If he finds a way to expand his role in 2016, he will be a coveted free agent next offseason. Because he has such a unique role in the offense, its possible Detroit could try to get an extension done very soon. That being said, Riddick is a role player and not a starter, so Bob Quinn would have to think he would be a difficult player to replace in order to make him a priority right now.

Corey Fuller is also a former sixth round pick, but he has only seen the field in a limited role. He is currently in the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Unfortunately, the speedster has not shown the a lot of improvement over the past three seasons and at this point is more likely to get released than to be re-signed.

The player most likely to be extended next

Nov 26, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions punter Sam Martin (6) Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 26, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions punter Sam Martin (6) Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /

Sam Martin, ranks as the second best punter in the NFL according to Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller. When a player ranks in the Top 5 at his position and is in a contract year, it’s in the teams best interest to get an extension done as soon as possible. Now that Darius Slay’s deal is finalized, expect Bob Quinn to start negotiations with Sam Martin.

Bob Quinn has put an emphasis on improving the Lions special teams this offseason. Quinn has signed several special teams demons, like John Bademosi, and recently exercised the contract option on place kicker Matt Prater for the 2017 season. This further supports the idea that Martin needs to be extended sooner rather than later.

As a former fifth round pick, Martin’s salary in 2016 is team friendly $715,075, 31st among NFL punters (according to Considering how he’s played, he’s due for a hefty raise.

Sam Martin will likely end up being the highest paid punter in the NFL. Currently, Kansas City’s Dustin Colquitt holds that title, with a five-year contract worth $18,750,000 (averaging $3,750,000 a year) with $7,900,000 guaranteed.

With all of these factors playing in Sam Martin’s favor a large deal should happen soon. My projected contract:

5 years, $19,500,000 (ave. $3,900,000) with $8,000,000 guaranteed.

Next: Bob Quinn's Approach to the Preseason Roster

Will Sam Martin be the next Detroit Lion re-signed? Only Bob Quinn knows for sure. If you think it’ll be someone else or you want to further discuss why I picked Sam Martin, please comment below or find me on Twitter @erikschlitt.