A fourth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions got an absolute steal in wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. He finished his rookie season on a hot steak as he finished with 90 catches. He topped 100 catches (106) with over 1,100 yards last year, and despite missing one game this year he already has 82 receptions for 993 yards and five touchdowns.
Being a Day 3 draft pick in 2021 also means St. Brown will be entering the final year of his rookie contract in 2024. When he was hit with a ridiculous fine for a "block" in Week 11 against the Chicago Bears, he acknowledged the big hit it was to his pocket (4.6 percent of his $940,000 base salary this year, and about 84 percent of his Week 11 game check).
As the Lions hone in on upcoming contract extensions for some key players, they do have the luxury of a fifth-year option for 2025 on Penei Sewell to kick that can a bit.
Beat writer offers Amon-Ra St. Brown idea that fans will hate
In his latest mailbag post, someone asked Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press what a new contract for St. Brown would look like. "The Sun God" is of course in line for a massive raise in his second deal, easily projected over $20 million per year.
After going through the fifth-year option scenario for Sewell as a factor, Birkett head-on addressed a potential tentacle to St. Brown's situation.
"If I was St. Brown, I probably would hold out of training camp next summer, when he's due a comparatively paltry base salary of $1.055 million (that will go up once the proven performance escalator kicks in), until I got a new deal."
St. Brown doesn't seem like the type to hold out if he doesn't have a contract extension in place by the time training camp starts next summer. But based on what he's done through nearly three seasons, and would project to keep doing, playing on a current base salary just over $1 million for 2024 with no security beyond that isn't ideal. He has leverage on the Lions if it comes to it, and he wanted to fully exercise it.
It's incredibly unlikely St. Brown will hold out of training camp next summer. An extension might be done by then, or it's fair to assume he'll show up for work on Day 1 if it's close to getting done. But there's a chance it's not done, and he does decide (or get advised) to hold out until it is done.
As much as it would be unexpected and disappointing, a St. Brown holdout when camp starts next July is a possibility that shouldn't be automatically dismissed right now.