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Detroit Lions’ Frank Ragnow signs contract extension, becomes highest-paid center in NFL history

Matt Johnson

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The Detroit Lions committed their top picks in the 2021 NFL Draft to the trenches. Now, they are making an even bigger commitment to the offensive line with a contract extension to make Frank Ragnow the highest-paid center in NFL history.

Ragnow, the No. 20 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, emerged as one of the NFL’s best centers this past season. Entering the fourth year of his rookie contract, Detroit made sure one of its top players will stay with the franchise for years to come.

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Ragnow is signing a four-year contract worth $70 million. It instantly sets the new market for centers, surpassing the deal Corey Linsley signed with the Los Angeles Chargers just a few months ago.

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The deal averages $13.5 million per season, $1 million more annually than Linsley’s contract. Ragnow will also receive a record-setting $25.5 million signing bonus and $42 million in total guarantees, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

When the Lions hired Dan Campbell as head coach and general manager Brad Holmes, the new regime vowed to build a new brand of football based on physicality and winning in the trenches. Just a few months into the job, the commitment to that identity is evident.

Ragnow, who received Pro Football Focus’s third-highest grade among centers will anchor the interior offensive line for years to come. At left tackle, signed an $85 million contract extension and projects to compete for Pro Bowl selections at that spot through his prime.

Detroit also spent the No. 7 pick on Penei Sewell, viewed as a generational offensive line prospect. The Lions plan for Sewell to start at right tackle, helping create a foundation to build this team around.

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Jared Goff will be the team’s starting quarterback in 2021, but it likely won’t be his job beyond this season. The Lions project to be one of the worst teams in the NFL, putting them in position for a top-three pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and in a great spot for a quarterback. With a great offensive line and running game in place, Detroit’s future quarterback will walk into a great landing spot.