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Historic Frank Ragnow extension shows SOL is in the past
The record-breaking contract extension of Detroit Lions’ center Frank Ragnow is good news on several fronts.
It is yet another sign of the “Same Old Lions” mantra disappearing.
It is a commitment to quarterback Jared Goff. Along with that, it makes Ragnow and his family happy. And finally, it is an investment in one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.
Ragnow signed a four-year, $54 million extension with the Lions that set off a bevy of emotions for him and sent a strong signal that the Lions mean business when it comes to ground and pound and keeping Goff upright and clean in the pocket.
The Lions committed to Ragnow and Goff by making him the highest-paid center in the NFL.
A few decades ago, the Lions were in a similar situation with the opportunity to extend Pro Bowl center, Kevin Glover. The Lions flubbed it by lowballing Glover, which had a devastating ripple effect that bogs the organization today. It ticked off Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders, who grew frustrated over the treatment of teammates. It is one of the reasons Sanders threw up his hands in frustration and retired in his prime.
The Lions have lacked a consistent running game since.
Ragnow will be snapping balls until at least 2026 because the Lions smartly decided to high-ball and not low ball.
“Holy cow, my dad,” Ragnow said while fighting back the tears. “I don’t think it hit me till now.”
On Mother’s Day weekend, Ragnow thought of his dad Jon, who died of a heart attack during Frank’s junior season at the University of Arkansas. After a weekend of bass fishing in the UP and summer relaxation, his thoughts will veer toward protecting Goff.
This is the most important part for Lions fans. There is skepticism for the former Los Angeles Rams quarterback who came here in a trade for former Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. Goff is a flake and turnover machine when he doesn’t get protection. But he can be a solid addition if his offensive line is stout, and he can freeze linebackers with play-action passes.
That’s why the Lions are hell-bent on solidifying the offensive line. Left tackle Taylor Decker is serviceable. Rookie right tackle Penei Sewell should become a star in this league, and Ragnow, 24, — a Pro Bowl performer — still has youth on his side.
Happy players are winning players. Devoted players are winning players.
The Lions must end the string of making players disgruntled. That list includes Calvin Johnson, Darius Slay, Kenny Golladay, Quandre Diggs, and Ndamukong Suh.
And, of course, Barry Sanders. The signing of Ragnow is a game-changer on so many fronts.
Sit back and enjoy the brand new Lions. And say goodbye to the Same Old Lions.