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Lions Extend Dominic Raiola, Sign Rookie Dan Gronkowski

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The Lions signed center Dominic Raiola to a four-year contract extension, keeping him in Detroit through at least the 2013 season.  According to's Alex Marvez, the extension is worth $20 million ($9 million guaranteed).  Raiola's base salary this coming season will be $4 million.

Raiola has been a member of the Lions his entire NFL career, as the team drafted him in the second round back in 2001.  Most players would likely want to get away from a team like the Lions as quickly as possible, but Raiola wants to be here when the team hopefully turns things around.

"There's so much I put into this it would be like quitting," he said. "This place is worse now than when I came in, and I definitely want to be part of it when this thing turns around.

"This is home for me. This is a great city, this city is special to me. I have a lot of friends here, and I've seen pretty much every other sports franchise in the city win, and there's nothing more than I want than for this city to see this team win."

Aside from extending Raiola, the Lions also signed their first draft pick not named Matthew Stafford, inking seventh-round pick Dan Gronkowski to a three-year deal.  It was written earlier this week that the Lions were holding off on signing draft picks in order to have more players on the roster, but with nothing going on until training camp, that really is no longer necessary, as Tom Kowalski explains.

One of the reasons the Lions haven't attempted to sign any draft picks (other than Stafford) is because they get a roster exemption for them while they're unsigned. The Lions wanted to bring more players to minicamp - they currently have 88 on the roster - to take a look at some of them and to also give some of their veterans a breather in certain drills.

Due to the signing of Gronkowski, the Lions released wide receiver Chris Hannon, who was claimed off waivers from the Dolphins at the end of last season.  With no more team activities scheduled to take place until training camp, I would expect the rest of the draft picks to be signed over the next month or so.  A year ago, Cliff Avril was signed on July 11, six other second-day picks were inked a couple days before the start of training camp, Gosder Cherilus agreed to a deal the day before camp began, and Jordon Dizon was the last to sign after missing a few practices.