According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Detroit Lions have signed punter Jack Fox to a three-year extension worth $11.325 million with $7.5 million guaranteed. That average of $3.775 million a year just edges out Seattle punter Michael Dickson’s $3.675 million as the highest average amongst any NFL punter.
The Lions had been getting along paying Fox next to nothing since acquiring him in the middle of the 2019 season. In 2020, he was signed to a minimal futures contract, and in the following two years, he signed exclusive right free agent tenders, which were both under $1 million. In other words, this represents a significant pay raise for the Lions’ punter.
And it’s a well-earned pay raise, too. In 2020, Fox earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors for averaging 49.1 yards per punt and a net average of 44.8 which still stands as the third-highest figure for a single season in NFL history. His current career average of 49.1 gross yards per punt is on pace to set an NFL record.
Fox has also made a nice career out of being a fake punt specialist. For his career, he is three-of-four on passing for 44 yards thanks to a nice arm that has quarterbacking experience from his high school days.
Until we see the specific contract figures, we won’t know how this impacts Detroit’s current cap space situation. However, according to the NFLPA public salary cap report, the Lions have just $1.37 million in cap space heading into this weekend.
UPDATE: The Lions made the move official Saturday morning. General manager Brad Holmes had this to say on the move:
“Jack has earned everything he has accomplished in his young career, and he sets a great example for his teammates with his professionalism and work ethic. We are thrilled to have him as a leader on our team for years to come. I would like to thank Jack, his agent Sean Kiernan, and Brandon Sosna for doing a great job in helping us reach this agreement.”
UPDATE 2: There are some conflating reports on the terms of Jack Fox’s. The Detroit Lions’ website claims they have signed Fox “through 2026 season,” which means it’s a four-year deal. Dave Birkett reported it’s a four-year, $13.965 million deal. It’s quite possible the difference in reports could be a fourth automatically-voided year, but we won’t know until the full details drop.