Looking into Detroit Lions rookie deal extension candidates and what they might get

The 2021 draft class was the launch point of the Detroit Lions' rebuild, and here's what those extension candidates may get in their next contracts as their rookie deals get set to expire.

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
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1. RT Penei Sewell (First Round, No. 7 overall)

Sewell has quickly become one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL, if not the best if you account for his age compared to say, Trent Williams. The Lions are going to have to make him one of the highest-paid offensive tackles in the league very soon, and they know it.

Since he was a first-round pick, the Lions have a fifth-year option decision coming on Sewell before early May. That's a no-brainer to be picked up, but it could wind up basically being a place-holder for talks about a long-term deal. Over The Cap estimates the fifth-year option for Sewell at $19.7 million based on being selected to the Pro Bowl on the original ballot once among his two selections. He was an alternate the first time, in his second season.

The Lions could bypass the fifth-year option all together and just sign Sewell to a lengthy and lucrative multi-year deal early this offseason.

Sewell will get deal in the $20-$25 million a year range, to put him among the top-paid offensive tackles. Spotrac projects him for a four-year, $90.67 million deal ($22.6 million per year), with an assumption of starting after the fifth-year option in 2025. But let's leave aside the option, and go a little further.

Penei Sewell contract extension projection (2026-2030): 5 years, $110 million; $70 million fully guaranteed, $25 million signing bonus

2. DT Levi Onwuzurike (Second Round, No. 41 overall)

Onwuzurike battled a back injury that dated back to college as a rookie, then he missed his entire second season after aggravating the injury and having major surgery. By all accounts he was healthy this past season, but he didn't play much (132 snaps)-or very well.

As the offseason gets going, Onwuzurike is firmly on the radar to be cut by the Lions. A contract extension, to put it plainly, is not happening.

Levi Onwuzurike contract extension projection: N/A