The Detroit Lions have officially signed rookie sensation Sam LaPorta. The tight end inked a contract after a strong performance during spring ball.
Spotrac anticipates a four-year deal for LaPorta, worth an estimated $9.5 million, including a significant $3.9 million signing bonus. Yet, official terms remain under wraps at this time.
Lions Keep Tapping the Iowa Pipeline
With the 34th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Lions took LaPorta, further investing in talent from Iowa. This move follows their 18th overall pick, linebacker Jack Campbell, in the first round.
LaPorta, a native of Highland, Illinois, was the second tight end picked in a stacked draft class. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. hailed him as “a receiver in a tight end’s body.”
At 6’3″ and 245 lbs, LaPorta often dominated on the field at Iowa, leading the team in receptions in 2022 and clinching the Big Ten Tight End of the Year Award. His 153 career receptions set a new record for Iowa tight ends.
LaPorta Echoes Similar Story of Amon-Ra St. Brown
LaPorta’s career shares a familiar narrative for the Lions, reminiscent of Amon-Ra St. Brown, a fourth-round pick who rose above expectations. The Lions have showcased their knack for spotting overlooked talent and helping it flourish, much like they did with St. Brown.
A pivotal moment in LaPorta’s career was when a trusted voice dubbed him “underwhelming.” Instead of letting it define him, LaPorta took it as a challenge. “Somebody called me underwhelming one time and I was like…alright. I think I can play with the best of them,” he reminisces with a determined edge to his words.
LaPorta’s arrival in Detroit, sharing a locker room with former college teammate Jack Campbell, has only added fuel to his fire. Their shared competitive spirit, born from countless battles at Iowa, now shines brightly under the Detroit Lions’ banner.
Ready to Face the Super Bowl Champions
The Lions will open the NFL season against the reigning Super Bowl Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. Both LaPorta and Campbell will need to bring their A-game to challenge the likes of Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce.
Despite the imminent challenge, LaPorta remains undaunted. The rookie tight end is focusing on what he can bring to the Lions, aiming to push the team’s offense to the top of the league.
When asked about facing the Chiefs, LaPorta’s eyes gleamed with rookie anticipation, “Really cool,” he admitted. “I got chills when I heard we were going to Arrowhead to open up the season.”
In LaPorta, the Lions may have found another diamond in the rough.
For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21
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Original Photo Credit: © HawkCentral