Though Hockenson has been solid and still has not reached his ceiling, he has not yet put together a season that many thought he would have by this point in his career.
During the 2021 season, Hockenson did catch 61 passes for 583 yards in 12 games, but his yards per reception (9.6) went down for the second season in a row. When it comes to blocking, Hockenson's pass blocking has continued to improve (65.4 grade on PFF) since being drafted, but his run-blocking has left much to be desired (45.1 grade on PFF).
Earlier in the offseason, the Detroit Lions announced they had decided to pick up the fifth-year option on T.J. Hockenson's contract, which means he will be under contract with the team through the 2023 season. (He will make $9.392 million in 2023).
But the big question is, when will the Lions sign Hockenson to a contract extension?
When the Detroit Lions will sign T.J. Hockenson to extension
Heading into the offseason, there were plenty who speculated that the Lions and Hockenson would iron out an extension prior to the start of the 2022 regular season but I warned that would not be the wise financial decision. Instead, I believe that it would be smarter for the Lions to wait to give him a contract extension until the 2022 season concludes.
“That’s a lot of money,” Hockenson said at minicamp about the contracts signed by Mark Andrews, Dallas Goedert, and Daid Njoku. “That’s life-changing. I’m already in a situation where my life has changed, so really what I want to do is win. That’s really all I care about. Money is one thing, but when it hits the bank account doesn’t really matter to me. I just want to make this place a winning program.”
Honestly, I let my agent deal with that. I’m not very good with the business side of things,” he said with a laugh. “Guys tell me what I should make, what I shouldn’t make, and I’m like, ‘I don’t really care.’ I’m going to play between the white lines, and whatever happens will happen. I don’t really deal much with that. I told my agent, ‘You do your thing, and I’ll do my thing.’ That’s kind of where it’s at. I don’t really know much, I don’t really care to know much.
“I’m just here every day to play with my teammates, and when that time comes to sign a piece of paper, I’ll do that.”
Hockenson, in my opinion, has not yet earned a contract extension that would make him one of the highest-paid tight ends in the NFL and that is likely what he would expect to get for a deal to be completed before the 2022 season.
Thanks to the fifth-year option being activated, the Lions do not need to be in a hurry to get a deal done as Hockenson is already locked up through the 2023 season and GM Brad Holmes knows that.
As I said earlier, I don't believe Hockenson has reached his ceiling and if he does not raise his game to another level during the coming season, then the Lions may want to think long and hard about what to do moving forward.
If the Lions do decide to give Hockenson a long-term contract extension, I would expect it to be finalized following the conclusion of the 2022 regular season.
Nation, do you think T.J. Hockenson will eventually sign a long-term deal with the Detroit Lions? If so, when do you think that deal will be completed?