The Detroit Lions have assembled one of the NFL's top rosters, and it's due to the savvy work of general manager Brad Holmes.
Through sound moves in the draft and free agency, Holmes has the Lions in good position, and it's being realized around the league.
ESPN's Dan Graziano revealed what he sees as the best value contracts in the league, across the spectrum of rookie deals and deals veterans are playing on. The Lions appeared three times, as Jared Goff, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Sam LaPorta made the cut.
"The Lions paid him a little over $26 million in 2022 and are paying him about the same this season. He's on the books for about $27 million in 2024, too. It's basically half of what Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert and Lamar Jackson are making, yet Goff is fourth in Total QBR (73.3), ahead of all three of them."
From there, Graziano cites St. Brown as the top wideout on a rookie deal. There is certainly competition (Jaylen Waddle, Ja'Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson and others) though.
"St. Brown is the top wideout here and an essential cog on one of the best teams in the league, making him a steal. He's currently 11th in receiving with 455 yards, and he has scored three TDs."
Finally, Graziano tabbed LaPorta as his top tight end rookie deal.
"LaPorta was a second-round pick this April and got a four-year, $9.5 million contract. He already has three touchdown catches in his first five NFL games. He is not extension eligible until the 2026 offseason, so the Lions have him on the cheap for a while."
The Lions having three players on the list is notable. It points to how Holmes has built the roster.
Detroit Lions roster set up to contend for present and future
The Lions will have to decide on a Goff extension, and a new deal with St. Brown is a no-brainer. More immediately, a deal with offensive lineman Jonah Jackson is on the horizon as he's in the least year of his contract. But there is plenty of future cap space to accommodate those investments, thanks to Holmes not doing very many long deals in free agency and drafting well.
The Lions are in a unique position, good now (5-1 this season) and set up well for the future.