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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4. S Ifeatu Melifonwu (Third Round, No. 101 overall)

Melifonwu has battled injuries off and on over his first three NFL seasons, with a position switch mixed in too after being a cornerback at Syracuse. But once he cleared a hand injury this past season, he was inserted into the starting lineup in place of Tracy Walker in Week 14 and did not look back.

In Week 15, Melifonwu showed his prowess as a blitzer with one sack. The week after that, he had two sacks and an interception on his way to winning NFC Defensive Player of the Week. In Week 17, Melifonwu had another interception. He continued to be impactful in the playoffs, with 1.5 sacks in the Divisional Round and another half-sack in the NFC Championship Game. He also led the team with nine tackles in the Divisional Round win over the Buccaneers.

Melinfonwu is lined up for a full-on, full season breakout in 2024. The only thing really standing in his way is health, as he still has to show he can stay on the field consistently. With that last point in mind, a contract extension for him is probably not a high priority for the Lions this offseason.

Ifeatu Melinfonwu contract extension projection: Let's see what he does next season

5. WR Amon-Ra St. Brown (Fourth Round, No. 112 overall)

St. Brown has carried the chip on his shoulder from being the 17th wide receiver taken in the 2021 draft right to becoming one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Next to Jared Goff, and maybe even more than the Lions' quarterback, getting him locked up long-term is the most important piece of extension business the team will do this offseason.

St. Brown is a lock to get $20 million, or more, a year in his next contract. A report from Cam Marino indicates the two sides are working on a deal that will pay "The Sun God" around $25 million per year over at least three years. $25 million a year would put him in the top-five highest-paid wide receivers in the league as it stands right now (tied for fourth, actually).

Amon-Ra St. Brown contract extension projection: Four years, $102 million; $60 million fully guaranteed, $30 million signing bonus