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.

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6. LB Derrick Barnes (Fourth Round, No. 113 overall)

Barnes had a memorably bad play against the Dallas Cowboys last season. That's what may stick in a lot of fans' memories about him, if not for his game-sealing interception against Tampa Bay in the Divisional Round. He'll never buy a beer in Detroit again.

But beyond those two polar extremes Barnes had a nice season, finishing fourth on the team with 81 total tackles while playing a clear career-high 705 defensive snaps. Patience clearly paid off with him, as Holmes noted in his season-ending media session, as he was a college defensive end making the full-time transition to off the ball linebacker in the NFL.

The Lions are deep at linebacker. Alex Anzalone, Jack Campbell and Barnes pushed Malcolm Rodriguez into a special teams role last season. Campbell and Rodriguez are young, and could both be starters in 2025. A question is where Barnes fits in that future picture, or if he fits into it. There's a chance he simply does not.

Derrick Barnes contract extension projection: TBD, but probably not this offseason

7. RB Jermar Jefferson (Seventh Round, No. 257 overall)

Jefferson has spent most of the last two seasons on the Lions' practice squad, including finishing this past season on IR. He was signed to a reserve/futures deal though, so he'll get a chance to show he's healthy and maybe earn a roster spot. Or maybe he sticks around on the practice squad again.

In any case, as expected, Jefferson is not getting a contract extension to stay with the Lions.

Jermar Jefferson contract extension projection: N/A

Next. 4 Detroit Lions who are most likely to have their contracts restructured this spring. 4 Detroit Lions who are most likely to have their contracts restructured this spring. dark