It’s almost decision time for the Detroit Lions when it comes to tight end T.J. Hockenson. The Lions exercised Hockenson’s fifth-year option, as expected, which means he should be with the team for at least two more seasons barring any unforeseen circumstances.
When it comes to an extension following his rookie contract, though, they typically happen the offseason before the contract is up, which would mean the Lions need to get the ball rolling soon—if it isn’t already.
Question of the day: Should the Lions extend TJ Hockenson?
My answer: barring a significant jump in performance from Hockenson, no.
As it stands right now, Hockenson is near the top of most tight end statistical categories. However, he’s a tier below the leaders. Guys like George Kittle, Travis Kelce, and Mark Andrews are elite tight ends who change the game when they’re on the field, meanwhile, Hockenson is simply a good receiver.
Now, I know a good receiver is nothing to balk at, but that’s not what the Lions need him to be. Two of the three elite tight ends I mentioned are also stellar blockers, something Hockenson has struggled with significantly in his tenure. Beyond that, the aforementioned are game-changers, and that’s not what Hockenson is.
The Cleveland Browns just extended tight end David Njoku for over $14 million a year, and that will, at the very least, be the starting point of Hockenson’s negotiations. In a year or two the cap will be higher and so will the price of a good tight end. For (just my guesstimate) $16-18 million, you can get a really good receiver who doesn’t fall down after every catch, and also have a tight end who can block to go alongside him.
It’s hard to part ways with a star player like Hockenson, but spending that kind of money given what he’s provided the team thus far just isn’t responsible. The expectations were unfairly high on him from the start thanks to Bob Quinn drafting him higher than any tight end should be drafted, and continuing to overpay for the good-but-not-great services Hockenson provides would be a mistake.
Or am I the one making a mistake? Let’s hear your thoughts in the poll below and in the comments.
Should the Lions extend TJ Hockenson?
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