It's become very clear, very quickly that the new regime in charge of the Detroit Lions wants to build its team around the trenches. The Lions used each of their first three picks in the 2021 NFL Draft on linemen, nabbing Oregon left tackle Penei Sewell in the first round, Washington defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike in the second, and North Carolina State defensive tackle Alim McNeill in the third.
On Thursday, they took another step toward solidifying the foundation of their line play, handing center Frank Ragnow a big contract extension. According to a report from NFL Network, the four-year extension will make Ragnow the highest-paid center in the league.
The average annual value of the deal comes in at $13.5 million, or $1 million more than new Los Angeles Chargers center Corey Linsley signed for earlier this offseason after leaving Green Bay. Ragnow also gets $42.5 million in total guarantees, $25.5 million of which is guaranteed at signing.
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Ragnow, the Lions' first-round pick in 2018, has quickly become one of the league's best centers, playing and starting 45 of 48 possible games so far in his career. He's coming off the first Pro Bowl berth of his career, and at just 24 years old (he turns 25 on May 17), he should have his best football ahead of him. The Lions clearly view him as a building block of both their offensive line and their franchise moving forward, and deservingly so. Now they just need to get to work building out the rest of the roster.