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Lions make Frank Ragnow top-paid center with 4-year extension, per report

The Detroit Lions want center Frank Ragnow on their team for the long term, and they’re proving it by giving him a record-setting contact. 

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Lions are signing Ragnow to a four-year contract extension that will make him the highest-paid center in the NFL. 

That $13.5 million a year puts him above Corey Linsley of the Los Angeles Chargers, who was the highest-paid center before Ragnow’s deal. 

Ragnow still has two years left on his rookie deal, so his extension won’t kick in until the 2023 season. He’s owed just over $14 million through 2022, so he’ll be under contract for just under $70 million between now and the end of his extension in 2026. 

Keeping Ragnow was top priority for Lions

The 24-year-old Ragnow was a surprise first-round pick in the 2018 NFL draft, going at No. 20 overall following a four-year career at Arkansas. He broke out in 2020, earning his first trip to the Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors. The Lions exercised Ragnow’s fifth-year option last week, and GM Brad Holmes made it clear during the draft that keeping Ragnow on the team was a top priority. 

“It’s extremely important. 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 via “He’s everything that we look for and what we want as a Lion. I’ll never forget when it first got announced that I got the job, Frank reached out immediately. I told him, ‘Man, huge fan of you and you play the game the right way.’ 

“So, very important to get it done. Not going to comment on timetable right now — that would be a little bit premature — but we’re not sitting back and waiting on that one.”

The Lions didn’t sit back and wait. Five days after Holmes identified Ragnow as a “foundational piece,” they reportedly gave him a record-setting long-term contract that matches that high praise. 

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 18: Detroit Lions Center Frank Ragnow (77) during the game between the Detroit Lions and the Jacksonville Jaguars on October 18, 2020 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Lions center Frank Ragnow’s new contract extension makes him the highest-paid center in NFL history. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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