Detroit Lions' Taylor Decker still waiting for contract extension: Here's the latest

Dave Birkett
Detroit Free Press
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They courted, to use Taylor Decker's word, in the spring, told each other how much they liked each other and wanted to spend their future together, but a long-term commitment is on hold for now and there's no telling when or if it will happen.

Decker and the Detroit Lions still have not had substantial talks on a contract extension that in another year might have been done already. Now, as Matthew Stafford's blindside protector and Bob Quinn's first ever draft pick prepares to play out the option year on his rookie contract, it's possible he's down to his final 16 games as a Lion.

"It’s strange," Decker said in a video conference Thursday. "Initially going into the offseason, having the expectation of how things were going to go, hearing from friends, former teammates, how negotiations went. But again, uncharted territory for not just me but the organization. They’re trying to handle it the best they can, too, and we’re just doing the best we can to play good football once we get out there."

Detroit Lions offensive tackle Taylor Decker.

Decker said in May that the coronavirus pandemic had presented "a lot of challenges" to striking a new deal, and that remains the case as players ramp up strength and conditioning workouts at training camp this week.

Next year's salary cap is expected to shrink, though it won't drop below $175 million, as teams brace for massive revenue losses this fall.

That could put the Lions in a tenuous cap position, or worse yet limit the cash they have available to spend on their own players or free agents.

The Lions have prioritized getting an extension done with wide receiver Kenny Golladay this offseason. Once that's finalized, that would free up the franchise tag option to use on Decker next spring, which may or may not hasten a deal.

Decker said Thursday he has "no idea" if talks are even ongoing right now, and general manager Bob Quinn declined to provide updates on talks with Decker and Golladay last week.

"I didn’t really have any expectations on when something would be done or if something would be done," Decekr said. "But I just heard in the past kind of a timeline on when conversations were going to start. And again, with all the COVID and the protests and things like that, there were a lot more important things for us as a team to focus on, and I’m great with that. I’m great with that. We had great conversations as a team about COVID, great questions about how to keep your family healthy, great questions about protesting and activism. We had great conversations about that, so no skin off my back about it."

Washington linebacker Montez Sweat is blocked by Lions offensive tackle Taylor Decker during the second half on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, in Landover, Md.

Decker is locked into the starting left tackle job for the Lions this fall after four solid if somewhat uneven seasons in Detroit.

He started every game and showed great promise as a rookie, then lost half of his 2017 season to injury. He returned to start 31 of a possible 32 games the last two seasons and was recently ranked as the 23rd best offensive tackle in the NFL by Pro Football Focus.

Some of PFF's top tackles have received sizable contracts in the last six months, with Laremy Tunsil's three-year, $66 million deal the new standard at the position.

More:Detroit Lions' 53-man roster prediction: Is a change at long snapper in the cards?

Decker, who's unlikely to approach Tunsil-type money from the Lions, said he's taken a business-as-usual approach to camp and has largely ignored talk about what the pandemic could mean to future contracts or the salary cap.

"If I’m not playing good ball, me knowing all that information doesn’t even matter," he said.

Detroit Lions offensive tackle Taylor Decker walks on the field after the win against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ford Field on Nov. 20, 2016.

Decker, who turns 27 later this month, did not say what he's looking for on his new deal, only that he's open to all options, including a short-term extension that gets him to free agency while he's still young enough to land a sizable deal.

"I haven’t considered anything because there hasn’t been anything put on the table," he said. "However those conversations go, I’ll speak with my agent about that, he’ll speak with the organization about that and then however they go, they go. But obviously anything could be considered.

"I feel like I’m a broken record saying it’s just uncharted territory, it’s weird times, so I think there’s possibilities everywhere. So yeah, I guess short answer, would I consider something? I’d consider all options."

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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