Offensive lineman Laken Tomlinson never really worked out in Detroit. The Lions traded down in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft and selected Tomlinson with the 28th overall pick. Tomlinson only ended up playing two years for the Lions before general manager Bob Quinn traded him to the San Francisco 49ers for a 2019 fifth-round pick.
Apparently Tomlinson’s new home is working out, as the 49ers are signing the guard to a three-year deal worth up to $18 million per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo:
Niners agree to three-year extension with OL Laken Tomlinson, source says. Deal worth a max of $18m with $10m in guarantees.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) June 22, 2018
You may remember that the man who originally drafted Tomlinson—former Lions GM Martin Mayhew—now works in the 49ers’ personnel department as their “senior personnel executive.” It seems Mayhew continues to be a fan of Tomlinson, despite the fact that he didn’t work out in Detroit.
In 2017, Tomlinson played at an average level for the 49ers. He earned a Pro Football Focus grade of 70.7 (32nd among all NFL guards) in 15 starts.
Whether Tomlinson’s struggles in Detroit were due to his own abilities or poor coaching is up for debate. However, the Lions did just fire their offensive line coach Ron Prince this offseason, and reporters have hinted that Prince was not well liked in the locker room. MLive’s Kyle Meinke seems to suggest that may have been the case between Tomlinson and Prince:
He did not mesh with Ron Prince, I will tell you that right now. https://t.co/FSeP99HYUa— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) June 22, 2018
Whatever the case may be, it seems like Tomlinson has found a new, comfortable home in San Francisco and the 49ers are happy to have him there. Meanwhile, the Lions now have first-round pick Frank Ragnow occupying the vacancy left by the Tomlinson trade.