Detroit Lions reward Frank Ragnow with a record-breaking extension

(Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images) /

Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes wasn’t kidding when he mentioned just days ago that signing center Frank Ragnow to a contract extension had been a priority.

Thursday, the Detroit Lions and Ragnow agreed to a record-breaking four-year extension that makes the standout offensive lineman the highest-paid center in league history.

Ragnow’s four-year $70 million extension eclipses the Los Angeles Chargers All-Pro center Ryan Linsley signed this offseason.  Linsley agreed to a five-year $62.5 million deal.  The deal proves that the Chargers are focused on protecting their young quarterback Justin Herbert a priority moving forward.

Prior to this extension, the Detroit Lions also recently picked up Ragnow’s fifth-year option, which tied the valuable center to the organization through the 2022 season.

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Frank Ragnow’s four-year extension will be on top of his current deal, tying the talented center to the Detroit Lions through the 2026 season.

Now the organization will have a plethora of talent locked up long term across their offensive line.  In addition to Ragnow, the Lions have starting left-tackle Taylor Decker signed through the 2024 season, second-year guard Jonah Jackson is under team control for three more seasons, plus recently drafted tackle Penei Sewell will be on a team-friendly deal for five seasons after being selected no. 7 overall in 2021.

It’s a Lions offensive line that produced the league’s 13th best unit last season, according to Pro Football Focus (PFF), but after adding Sewell to this group, I expect this group to be a top-five unit in 2021.

Ragnow was ranked as the third-best center courtesy of PFF last season, producing an overall grade of 80.3.  The aforementioned Linsley graded out the best playing with Green Bay, earning a mark of 86.4.  The second-best center had been Cleveland’s J.C. Tretter at 81.0.

PFF had Ragnow’s grade as a run blocker at 80.9 and 74.8 in pass protection for the 2020 season.  Ragnow allowed nine total pressures but not a single sack last season in 929 total snaps.

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The Detroit Lions have a hole at the right guard position that will need to be filled before their offensive line is complete.  There is expected to be an open competition for the position this summer between Hal Vaitai, Logan Stenberg, Tommy Kraemer, and perhaps Tyrell Crosby.