Detroit Lions: The template is set for Taylor Decker’s new deal

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

It appears the Detroit Lions are in no rush to ink their starting left tackle to a contract extension, but they should be a bit more motivated to do so now that Dion Dawkins is off the market.

The Detroit Lions have yet to agree to terms with starting left tackle Taylor Decker, but the Buffalo Bills had recently set the template.  Decker is entering the final year of his rookie deal, and the soon to be 26-year old tackle is set to cash-in on a new contract.

Decker shouldn’t be considered as an elite left tackle, but he’s firmly in that next group.  He’s an above-average tackle but with plenty of room for improvement.  If I’m general manager Bob Quinn, I’m eager to put pen to paper and lock-up Decker before he becomes a free agent next Spring.

The pending free-agent pool at that position is anything but prosperous next year, and with Dawkins now off the board, it’s quite lighter.  Dawkins agreed to terms on a four-year extension worth $60-million.  Decker is of similar caliber and should command a comparable deal.

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As of now, the notable names poised to hit the open market are David Bakhtiari of the Green Bay Packers, and it pains me to say this; he’s a top-five NFL tackle, and I don’t expect him to be available when the free agency period begins next season.

Alejandro Villanueva is another intriguing tackle that, at this point, will be entering the final year of his deal.  The Pittsburgh Steelers tackle is a tremendous pass-protector but gives up some to others in the run game.  Both Panthers tackles are pending free agents, big Russell Okung, and Taylor Moton. I don’t expect the Lions to have much interest in Okung, who will be 34, and Moton will be expected to be retained by Carolina.

Trent Williams is the last premier name that is set to become a free agent, but the 49ers opted to make a massive deal to land the future Hall of Famer, Joe Staley‘s spot on that phenomenal offensive line.  I don’t expect Williams, a player I advocated for the Lions to acquire many times to hit the open market despite mentioning he’s poised to play out the final year of his deal.

When you consider how well Decker played down the stretch for the Detroit Lions, it’s an area where I had been incorrect.  Fortunately, the Lions didn’t give up much-needed draft capital to add the 33-year old Williams because Decker excelled after the first few weeks of the season after battling through a lower-back injury.

According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Decker proved to be the sixth-best tackle in all of football for the final eight weeks of the season.  That’s sixth-best among ALL tackles, right and left; very impressive.

Last season Decker provided the Lions with an exceptional 75.5 overall grade, which included a superb 75.6 pass-blocking mark and a respectable 69.1 grade as a run-blocker.

The Detroit Lions are likely proceeding with star receiver, Kenny Golladay, as their main priority, leaving either an extension with Decker or a one-year franchise tag as the two viable options next offseason.

Next. Could Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn get a free pass on 2020?. dark

The franchise tag always has the potential to ruffle feathers, so hopefully, the two sides can agree to a new deal before too long.