Best contracts in the NFL list for 2022 includes Taylor Decker

Detroit Lions tackle Taylor Decker (68) warms up during mini camp at the practice facility in Allen Park on Tuesday, June 7, 2022.
Detroit Lions tackle Taylor Decker (68) warms up during mini camp at the practice facility in Allen Park on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. /

Taylor Decker is a foundational piece for the Detroit Lions, and his contract has been listed among the best in the league currently.

Just before the 2020 season started, the Detroit Lions and left tackle Taylor Decker agreed to a five-year, $59.65 million contract extension. The deal kept the 16th overall pick in the 2016 draft under contract in Detroit through the 2025 season.

Decker missed the first eight games last season with a finger injury, but he stepped right back in and played at a high level over the rest of the season. Alongside former first-rounder center Frank Ragnow, he is a foundational piece of a good Lions offensive line.

Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus has ranked the top 32 contracts in the NFL heading into the 2022 season. The first 10 got deeper explanations, but Decker’s deal landed in the top half of the list at No. 13.


Detroit Lions: Is Taylor Decker’s contract really that good?

Decker’s deal technically goes through 2025, but the final year is a void year to stretch bonus money out.

For 2022, according to Spotrac, his $18.9 million cap hit ranks third among left tackles. In 2023, his $17.85 million cap hit currently ranks 10th among left tackles.

In 2024 the Lions can cut Decker and clear $11.3 million in cap space with $6.3 million in dead money, according to Over The Cap. An improving cap sheet makes taking on that dead money hit possible palatable for the Lions. But unless Decker’s level of play falls off a cliff over the next two seasons, cutting him two years from now is unlikely.

In terms of cash layout for this year and per-year average, Decker is back-half of the top-10 and in the top-15 respectively among left tackles right now. Even with no Pro Bowl selections on his resume right now, that feels like value for the Lions now and over the next couple years.

The idea of trading Decker at some point remains very remote, but it’s possible if there start to be signs he’s an asset that would only depreciate. A fairly favorable contract, among the best contracts in the league for those who want to go there, would only help the appeal of the Lions’ left tackle in a trade.

Decker will turn 32 just before the 2025 starts. It’s definitely possible the Lions will re-do/extend his current deal before then, if his level of play maintains and it’s easy to see he has some good years left.

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