Lions make Frank Ragnow highest-paid center in NFL with extension through 2026

The Detroit Lions’ focus on building a mauling offensive line continues.

The Lions agreed to a four-year contract extension with center Frank Ragnow, making him the highest-paid pivot in the NFL, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported, per a source informed of the deal.

Ragnow’s extension is worth $13.5 million per year, according to Pelissero. The new-money average beats Corey Linsley’s $12.5 million per year on a five-year, $62.5 million contract the former Packer signed with the Chargers earlier this offseason. Ragnow also gets $25.5 million fully guaranteed at signing and $42 million in total guarantees, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

Now the highest-paid center in the NFL, Ragnow is under contract through 2026 at around $70 million total. The 2018 first-round pick was under contract for the next two seasons after the Lions picked up his fifth-year option.

Drafting Penei Sewell No. 7 overall last week, the Lions boast three-first rounders along their offensive line, including Ragnow and Taylor Decker (2016). With Ragnow and Decker getting extensions in the past year, Detroit ensured the strength of its team wouldn’t be siphoned.

Lions general manager Brad Holmes said in the aftermath of the NFL Draft that their next order of business was locking down Ragnow long-term. It didn’t even take a week to get the deal done.

“We already view him as a long-term piece, and he is a foundational piece because Frank is a guy that plays the game the right way,” Holmes said at the time. “He’s everything that we look for and what we want as a Lion.”

Extending Ragnow was an easy decision for the Lions’ new brass. Turning 25 years old in 11 days, the center is a mauler who can plow the road and is stellar in pass protection. Pro Football Focus graded Ragnow as its second-rated center in the NFL last season, behind only Linsley. Ragnow allowed just nine total pressures.

Beyond his physical exploits, Ragnow is the brain trust of the offensive line, who aided former signal-caller Matthew Stafford with protections and shifts. Locking the center down for the foreseeable future is a boon for Jared Goff and any other QB who takes snaps in the coming years in Detroit. Ragnow will be particularly helpful to an eventual young franchise QB.

The 6-foot-5 center put his toughness on display last season, finishing a Week 13 game despite fracturing his throat in the first quarter. Yes, Ragnow broke his throat and kept playing. He missed the next two games out of precaution but returned to finish the season in Week 17.

Fewer than five months later, now Ragnow is the highest-paid center in the NFL.

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