Why the Detroit Lions should not extend Decker
Detroit Lions fans are traditionally not in favor of huge pay raises for players, especially given the lack of success achieved by the team. He’s been in the Top-10 to 15 of “least penalized” and “least sacks surrendered” but is that worthy of such a huge financial commitment?
Decker is simply not a Top-5 player at his position and fans know that, too. No one is saying that him leaving wouldn’t create a hole, either. He has been more than serviceable, at times he has performed really well, in fact.
He has started 55 games but missed nine due to injuries and had some poor performances after appearing to rush himself back after his shoulder injury. He has committed 24 penalties (9 last year) and also given up 27.0 sacks in his career (7.0 last year), according to SIS data hub’s website.
For comparison, Baltimore Ravens tackle and fellow 2016 draftee, Ronnie Stanley, has only given up 2.0 sacks in the last two years (10.0 sacks- career) but he has been penalized 24 times in his career, too, just only twice last year, SIS data hub stats. Fans get frustrated with the logic that Decker or any decent-to-good players should get a huge deal because of their age and the fact that teams don’t have tons of options; that is never a place that Detroit Lions fans want to be.
What’s the risk of making him prove himself in 2020?
The risk is financial, mainly. There are a group of young tackles who could potentially drive up the cost by signing lucrative deals prior to Bob Quinn negotiating a new deal for Decker, should he decide to extend his contract. As we can imagine with Tunsil, that kind of cost will surely put a lot of pressure on a tackle to perform consistently after receiving a vote of confidence (money) like that.
The other smaller issue is making Decker feel unwanted or not valued, which could make him decide ahead of time that he wants to leave the Motor City. He’s not Anthony Munoz or Orlando Pace, so if that happens you live with it.
What other free agents might be available next year?
Spotrac can show you a list of players, many of whom will re-sign with their current teams. A few will make the near the maximum salary. Twelve players are listed as 2021 free agents if they wanted to chase a similar financial proposition next year.
The Detroit Lions could hope to find a tackle with fewer years left in his career, like Pittsburgh Steelers tackle, Alejandro Villanueva, who will be 32 next year and sign him as a stopgap player. Older players do not command the biggest salaries and have valuable experience. For sure if they could convince a player of his caliber to sign, he would save them some money and he’s still in an age range that would give the Lions time to find other options.