Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

In Michigan, where the hometown Detroit Lions are hoping to win their first conference championship game in the color television era, hockey games are breaking out amid Jared Goff chants statewide.

Seemingly everywhere one turns in Michigan, it’s all about Goff, the starting quarterback of the Lions. The city and state love him; that much is clear. And perhaps as soon as seven weeks from now, the Lions will show just how much they love him in the form of a new contract extension.

Sources tell CBS Sports both Goff and the Lions are very interested in an extension this offseason, and there’s little reason to doubt a deal will get hammered out well ahead of the 2024 season.

“[The Lions] are completely sure he wants to be there,” one source said.

One thing that became clear in talking with sources is that, while the quarterback market obviously matters, Goff’s ranking on the salary charts isn’t something he is going to sweat. This past offseason saw the quarterback market reset three times, with Joe Burrow topping everyone at $55 million per year in average annual value. It’s possible Dak Prescott outdoes that this offseason with his incredible leverage over the Dallas Cowboys, and there’s no question the league is close to the first $60 million quarterback.

It’d be safe to assume Goff’s next extension would average somewhere in the 40s, though predicting the structure and bells and whistles on a veteran quarterback extension could be difficult. Should the Lions wish to get the big-ticket item out of the way early, they could well strike the deal before the start of the league year on March 13.

Goff, a former No. 1 overall pick, signed a four-year, $134 million contract just before the start of the 2019 season with the Los Angeles Rams. At some point during the 2020 season, the Rams began regretting that deal, and shortly after the season traded Goff and a package of picks to Detroit for Matthew Stafford. The Rams won the Super Bowl the next year, but Goff started creating a new home for himself in Detroit.

Goff had hoped for an extension last offseason, but the Lions opted not to pursue those talks in earnest ahead of the 2023 season with Goff having two years still left on his deal. The Lions also drafted Hendon Hooker in the third round of the draft. The decision to not pay Goff last offseason could ultimately cost Detroit some money, as Goff has had another solid year that has the Lions as deep in the playoffs as they’ve been since George H.W. Bush was president.

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Detroit has a host of decisions to make this offseason — whenever it begins for the team. Before any contracts are struck with players, the Lions will have to determine who their next offensive coordinator will be. Ben Johnson is the leading candidate for the Commanders’ head-coaching job, and Detroit could choose an internal candidate to replace him, like assistant head coach Scottie Montgomery or passing game coordinator Tanner Engstrand. Detroit could also jump into the external candidate pool in an NFL that will see at least 17 new offensive coordinators this cycle.

Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, right tackle Penei Sewell and defensive tackle Alim McNeill are all extension-eligible this offseason. St. Brown and Sewell are both coming off first-team All-Pro seasons.

Left tackle Taylor Decker is heading into the last year of a contract he signed in 2020 that has him severely underpaid in 2024 relative to his market. He’s about $10 million in average annual value behind the top of today’s market.

And guard Jonah Jackson, safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and guard Graham Glasgow are all set to hit free agency in March.

The Lions are enjoying the ride right now, and they hope it goes two more weeks into Las Vegas. Major decisions are on the horizon for this team, but it’s clear and obvious that the major quarterback deal will be taken care of in due time.

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