Jordan Mailata deal puts Penei Sewell in even greater position to break bank

With each big contract an offensive tackle gets, the deal Penei Sewell will eventually get from the Detroit Lions gets bigger too.
Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

In just three seasons, Penei Sewell has established himself as one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL. The first draft pick of the new era under general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell has become a foundational piece, just as envisioned. He will turn 24 in October.

It's a matter of when, not if, the Lions pay Sewell handsomely on his second contract. They can kick that can down the road a little when they pick up his fifth year option (projected $19.04 million) in the coming weeks (May 2 deadline), but it will be a placeholder move to a big long-term deal.

In March of 2023, the contract the Houston Texans gave Laremy Tunsil (three years, $75 million; $60 million guaranteed, $30 million signing bonus) prompted a funny note regarding Sewell from Justin Rogers of the Detroit News related to Sewell's home country.

Last July, the New York Giants impacted the tackle market by signing left tackle Andrew Thomas to a five-year, $117.5 million contract ($67 million guaranteed).

Jordan Mailata contract drives Penei Sewell's market value even higher

On Thursday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Philadelphia Eagles agreed to terms on a three-year, $66 million deal with left tackle Jordan Mailata ($48 million guaranteed, $20 million signing bonus). Based on per year average, Mailata is now a top-five highest-paid offensive tacke in the NFL.

Mailata is certainly deserving of a nice contract. He's a fantastic story, going from the league's International Player Pathway program in 2018 and seventh-round pick that year to being one of the best at his position. The Eagles rewarded him handsomely in 2021 with a nice new contract, and now they've gone a step further.

But Mailata is 27 years old, and he has never made a Pro Bowl or an All-Pro team. Sewell did both last season (First Team All-Pro), and it was his second straight trip to the Pro Bowl.

As outlined nicely by Jeff Risdon of Lions Wire, Mailata's $22 million per year with 72 percent of the raw total guaranteed should be below the floor for Sewell's new deal. Tunsil got 80 percent of his deal guaranteed, while Thomas got 57 percent of his guaranteed.

Other tackle contracts over the last couple years have not approached the percentage of guaranteed money Mailata and Tunsil got.

Sewell will easily command something in that range (between Mailata and Tunsil) as a percentage guaranteed in his new deal, and Risdon perfectly pointed to 75 percent as a possible minimum there.

The Lions will pay Sewell in line with his market value, there's no question about that. It's just a matter of time/timing. But his market value and related leverage only grows as other tackles sign new deals.

Next. Ranking the Detroit Lions' last 10 first-round picks. Ranking the Detroit Lions' last 10 first-round picks. dark