Since being drafted in 2020, Jonah Jackson has been a bedrock of the Detroit Lions offensive line. As ESPN’s Field Yates points out, “An unmistakable part of the Lions’ offensive identity is their nasty offensive line, with Jackson as a key cog in that operation.” Having started 45 games and making the Pro Bowl in his second year, Jackson’s consistent performance has rendered him a foundational piece to to the team’s strongest unit.
As rumors swirl about possible trades and big-name signings, Yates believes that Jackson’s contract extension should be the Lions’ final move this offseason. He’s slated to earn $2.992 million in 2023, a figure that seems inadequate given his critical role.
The Future of the Lions’ Offensive Line
The Detroit Lions have invested heavily in their offensive line, the most expensive in the NFL. Left tackle Taylor Decker and center Frank Ragnow have already received their extensions, and fans are wondering if Jackson is next. The Athletic ranked Jackson 26th on their list of top 30 free agents following the 2023 season, highlighting the player’s market value. They noted:
A third-round pick in 2020, Jackson has been a mainstay at left guard for Detroit, earning a Pro Bowl nod in 2021 and allowing career lows of one sack, four hits and 23 pressures in 13 games last season. After Ben Powers signed for $13 million annually with the Broncos, Jackson could be seeking $15 million. The Lions have already invested in center Frank Ragnow and left tackle Taylor Decker, with Penei Sewell due for a mega-extension as soon as next offseason.
The Lions have a significant decision to make. Will they pay Jackson, considering Penei Sewell, their 23-year-old offensive tackle, is also due for a mega-extension as soon as next offseason?
Commitment to Detroit and a Potential Contract Extension
Despite the looming contract negotiations, Jackson remains unwavering in his commitment to the Lions. He dreams of retiring with this franchise and city, stating, “I’d love to retire a Lion. I have a great time here, enjoy everything about it from the sports, to the people, to the cuisine. It’s not too much different from (Jackson’s native state) Philly, either.”
Whether or not a new contract is on the horizon, Jackson maintains a singular focus:
Shoot, the same I have the past three years. Just put my head down, going to work, showing up each day, training and just putting my best foot forward.
A New Reality Without Holes
As the Lions head into the upcoming season, their stable roster lays a promising foundation. Field Yates underscored this: “One reality for the Lions is that they don’t have many glaring roster holes, and many of their best players are either already extended long term or not yet extension-eligible.”
This sign of progress indicates how far the Lions have come and fuels the hope for a successful 2023 season. The potential investment in Jackson aligns with this upward trajectory, indicating their commitment to maintaining a strong offensive line.
For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21
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Original Photo Credit: © Junfu Han, Detroit Free Press