Contract extension for Alim McNeill does not seem to be imminent

Defensive tackle Alim McNeill is one of the next in line for a contract extension from the Lions, but the time for it to be done does not seem imminent.
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Since being taken in the third round of the 2021 draft, defensive tackle Alim McNeill has been a developmental success for the Detroit Lions. Last year, after an offseason where he reshaped his physique and expanded his on-field game, he had a breakthrough season-five sacks, 34 quarterback pressures (according to Pro Football Focus, etc.) Imagine if he hadn't missed four games with a knee injury.

McNeill seems to have another level in him, and the offseason addition DJ Reader alongside him will only bolster that idea.

Heading into the final year of his rookie contract, McNeill surely noticed this offseason's boom in the defensive tackle market as he gets ready to seize the opportunity to get paid handsomely with a big 2024 season.

As Lions' general manager Brad Holmes professes rewarding their own, McNeill is a shining example of that idea.

Contract extension for Alim McNeill may not be urgent matter for the Lions

In a broader site-wide piece looking at one contract situation for each team that's worth watching (subscription required), Colton Pouncy of The Athletic had McNeill for the Lions.

"The Lions just dished out $444 million to Amon-Ra St. Brown, Penei Sewell and Jared Goff this offseason, but there’s another extension candidate worth watching. That would be McNeill, a fourth-year defensive tackle coming off his best season. McNeill turned 24 in May and his best football is ahead of him, entering the final year of his rookie deal. He was a disruptive force against the run and as a pass rusher when healthy, and the signing of space-eating nose tackle DJ Reader should bring out the best in McNeill. McNeill will be due a big payday if it all comes together in Year 4. How much he ultimately gets could determine what’s available for other free agents like Taylor Decker and Carlton Davis III, to name a few."

Decker and Davis, like McNeill, are heading into the last year of their current contracts. All three may end up with new deals to stay in Detroit, but Pouncy seemed to insinuate McNeill's deal will wait until the end of the season pending how he performs. He can better max out his value if he takes the next step that seems to be coming, so it makes some sense from his end to wait. There's also risk in that approach-injury, etc.

The expectation is for McNeill to get a nice long-term deal from the Lions, barring things taking an unforeseen turn. It just doesn't seem like it'll happen before the season starts, at minimum, which isn't really a surprise.

Next. 5 Detroit Lions players who are next up for a contract extension. 5 Detroit Lions players who are next up for a contract extension. dark