Fans and media can debate whether or not Calvin Johnson is a top five wide receiver but there is little doubt he will be paid like one when he signs his next deal.
When exactly that deal is signed is not known, Johnson has this year and next remaining on his rookie deal, but two recently reported deals for other players are setting the market and could be an indication that the Lions would be smart to start talking extension now.
News broke earlier this week of a contract extension for Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitgerald. The deal is reportedly an eight-year agreement worth a total of $120 million with guarantees approaching $50 million.
The most recent high profile extension was given to Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas. His new seven-year deal is worth $84 million with guarantees in the neighborhood of $44 million. The significance here is that Thomas was the player drafted directly behind Calvin Johnson in 2007.
Now the questions becomes will they or won’t they try to work out a deal soon? It is impossible to know and any talks are likely to be kept under wraps until a deal has been reached. The Lions might be set on a “no” for now but the deals given to Fitzgerald and Thomas mean the Lions’ decision making process on CJ has started.