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Mailbag: Will the Detroit Lions extend Jonah Jackson or Jared Goff first?

The Detroit Lions could be handing out an extension or two in the next month. Who gets one first: Jared Goff or Jonah Jackson?

Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Part of the reason the Detroit Lions are in such a comfortable place right now is the balancing of their salary cap. Not only are they entering training camp with a healthy amount of space, but there aren’t many—if any—contracts that look like huge overpays. Additionally, there aren’t any pressing re-signings or extensions that require immediate attention.

One exception to that is Jonah Jackson, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract. He’s potentially facing a huge extension, but as of minicamp, talks about a new contract with the Lions had not yet occurred.

However, preliminary internal contract extension talks have begun with quarterback Jared Goff, who is currently signed through 2024. General manager Brad Holmes said he’s even had dialogue with Goff’s agent.

So on this week’s midweek mailbag podcast, myself and Erik Schlitt discussed both contract situations. Who will be extended first: Jackson or Goff?

Obviously, there’s no guarantee either will be extended, but both seem to be trending in that direction. Erik and I agreed that the smart money is on Jackson—seeing as he has one more year on his deal while Goff has two—but there’s a real chance Goff gets a deal done before the 2023 season.

For one, the Lions continue to throw more support behind Goff than the public has at large. Remember, Dan Campbell just came out publicly saying that Goff is a better quarterback than he’s ever been.

But more practically, extending Goff now—before a potentially monster season ahead in terms of production—could be a huge financial benefit. So the Lions must ask themselves: are they confident in Goff enough right now to save some money, or are they willing to wait a year and potentially pay more to be absolutely sure about Goff’s future?

Here’s some of our conversation on this topic:

Jeremy: “If this team balls the hell out this year and makes the playoffs and wins a playoff game, that price tag’s going up.”

Erik: “I do think, though, the fact that you pointed out—he has two years left on his deal—it would be a little bit against the grain of what franchises do, to restructure at this stage. So I think that is one of the biggest hurdles, it goes against it.

[Later]

Erik: “Getting another Pro Bowl isn’t out the realm of possibility, especially if he plays at the level he was playing, especially with Ben Johnson gearing the offense around him. Those are things that are going to help him. But will another Pro Bowl really increase his yearly salary all that much? I don’t know. I think you get to the point when you’re talking in that $45-50 million a year range, will an extra Pro Bowl say, “Well, now it’s got to be over $50 (million)”? I don’t know if one more Pro Bowl will do that necessarily.”

[later]

Jeremy: “Of course you want the extra confidence (of another season), before you sign off on a $45 million a year contract, but that’s the push-pull. Do you want to give it to him now while you’re pretty confident but not so sure and it’s going to be cheap? Or do you want to (give it) when you have that extra confidence, but because you do—because his resume is now a full year better and bigger—you’re going to have to pay a little more.”

You can listen to that entire conversation around the 21:45 mark of the episode below and it runs for a good seven minutes.

Other topics on this week’s episode:

  • Jeremy and Erik discuss their initial thoughts on the Lions’ new alternate helmets (1:30
  • Will we see Cameron Sutton at nickel very often? (6:15)
  • Could the Lions utilize Brian Branch, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Tracy Walker and Kerby Joseph on the field at the same time? (10:00)
  • What is the expected starting lineup on the defensive line? How could it change in the middle of the season? (12:45)
  • Who is most likely to be back in 2024: Romeo Okwara, Charles Harris, Julian Okwara? (16:45)
  • Which players will see more of an increase in play during Jameson Williams’ suspension: Josh Reynolds, Marvin Jones Jr., a tight end, or running back? (28:30)
  • Is Jahmyr Gibbs in for an Offensive Rookie of the Year type of season? (31:00)
  • With Gibbs and Williams aboard, could the Lions hit 5,000 passing yards in 2023? (38:00)

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