Detroit Lions OT Taylor Decker: Coronavirus presenting 'challenges' in contract talks

Dave Birkett
Detroit Free Press
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If this were any other year, Taylor Decker and the Detroit Lions might have started talks on a long-term contract extension already.

But with so much uncertainty about the future, including how coronavirus restrictions could reshape the budgets of NFL teams going forward, Decker said he's yet to have any substantial negotiations with the team that drafted him in the first round out of Ohio State in 2016.

"Nothing major," Decker said in a video conference Thursday. "I mean, obviously, 'Hey, we like you, we like you, sort of thing.' But nothing major."

Taylor Decker is one of two Lions who could land a hefty contract extension this offseason.

The Lions have an estimated $29 million in available cap space, third most in the NFL according to, and had been expected to pursue extensions with Decker and wide receiver Kenny Golladay this summer.

Both players are in the final season of their rookie contracts, and both have at least intimated they are open to signing extensions to stay in Detroit.

Golladay, a third-round pick in 2017, is coming off a Pro Bowl season and in line for a contract that will make him one of the 10 highest-paid receivers in the NFL. He's scheduled to make $2.133 million this fall.

[ Taylor Decker 'not really worried about' playing during pandemic ]

Decker, who has been a fixture at left tackle when healthy for the Lions, changed agents earlier this offseason. He's set to make $10.35 million on his fifth-year rookie option.

But contract talks have slowed across the league amid fears that games could be played without fans, or with significantly fewer fans in the stands, this fall.

If that happens, Sports Illustrated estimated teams would lose on average $100 million of revenue, and that could both drive the salary cap down in future seasons and hurt some of the league's poorer teams like the Lions in the near-term.

Detroit Lions receiver Kenny Golladay smiles before the game against the New England Patriots at Ford Field on August 8, 2019.

"Obviously I know it’s on the horizons, but not really something that’s been ... in the forefront of my mind, huge focus," Decker said. "It’s something obviously that’s coming along in the future. It’s going to be important to me, but whenever that happens, it happens. I kind of leave that to my agent. That’s why he gets paid. And then I just take care of being a good football player."

While Decker is not expected to set the market at left tackle — Laremy Tunsil signed a three-year, $66 million extension with the Houston Texans in April — he should join the ranks of the highest-paid players at his position.

Arizona Cardinals left tackle D.J. Humphries, a comparable player, signed a three-year, $45 million extension earlier this year

"Whenever that happens, it’ll happen," Decker said. "But so far there’s been a lot of challenges with the whole quarantine, Zoom meetings, coaches not being in the buildings, us not being able to travel back, so I’m sure that’s going to present challenges for that process."

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. Read more on the Detroit Lions and sign up for our Lions newsletter.

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