The Detroit Lions are still in the midst of a rebuild, but they are confident that they have at least one long-term building brick in place. According to ESPN, the Lions are anticipated to give tight end T.J. Hockenson, a Pro Bowler, first priority when it comes to negotiating a new deal in the coming months.

Detroit activated Hockenson’s $9.4 million fifth-year option in the offseason, meaning he’s now signed through 2023 with the Lions after being picked No. 8 overall in 2019. Even so, he has developed as one of the team’s most consistent weapons over the previous two seasons and might soon be rewarded as a result.

It’s possible that his success since 2020 might make him one of the highest-paid players in his position. By signing a new contract before or early in the 2022 season, Hockenson could fairly expect to earn at least $13.7 million per year, making him one of the NFL’s highest-paid tight ends.

T.J. Hockenson set for long-term future in Detriot

Even though Hockenson is unlikely to match the average annual earnings of elite tight ends like George Kittle, with $15 million, and Travis Kelce with $14.3 million, who lead the tight end market thanks to multiple 1,000-yard outings. In terms of pass-catching, the 25-year-old has been just as good as or better than four out of the five veterans who make over $12 million a year at the same position.

After signing center Frank Ragnow to a record-setting contract in May, the Lions haven’t been bashful about locking up their best young players. Hockenson is under contract until the 2023 season thanks to the fifth-year option, but it seems like the Lions aren’t going to waste any time in securing one of their best players.