What contract extensions mean for Lions, St. Brown and Sewell

Pat McAfee, crew full of praise for Amon-Ra St. Brown after new deal (1:01)

Pat McAfee, Darius Butler and Anthony "Tone Digz" DiGuilio react to Amon-Ra St. Brown reaching a new deal with the Lions. (1:01)

DETROIT -- On the eve of Detroit hosting its first NFL draft, the Lions locked down one of the top receivers and one of the top offensive linemen in the NFL with a pair of record-breaking deals.

On Wednesday morning, a source confirmed to ESPN that wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown had agreed to a four-year, $120 million extension that included the most guaranteed money for a receiver in NFL history ($77 million). Hours later, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter the Lions were signing All-Pro right tackle Penei Sewell to the largest contract ever given to an offensive lineman -- a four-year, $112 million deal that includes $85 million guaranteed.

St. Brown, a fourth-round pick in 2021, was the 17th receiver taken in a draft class that also included the Cincinnati Bengals' Ja'Marr Chase, the Miami Dolphins' Jaylen Waddle, and the Philadelphia Eagles' DeVonta Smith. He has used that as fuel for a career that is off to a historic start. Sewell, who was taken No. 7 overall in the same draft, has been equally effective for the Lions, earning first-team All-Pro honors in 2023 and consecutive Pro Bowl nods in 2022 and 2023.

St. Brown is one of three players in NFL history with 90-plus catches in each of his first three seasons, joining Odell Beckham Jr. (2014-16) and Michael Thomas (2016-18). He and Sewell -- who will be 29 and 28, respectively, when their deals end -- have become foundational players of Detroit's turnaround from a 3-13-1 team their rookie season to finishing Year 3 a win away from reaching the franchise's first Super Bowl.

Here's more context around the Lions' new contracts, what they mean for the team and players, and what's next.

What does this mean for the Lions in terms of the wide receiver and tackle positions?

This means Detroit has secured two of the league's best young talents at the positions. It was a no-brainer to re-sign them.

St. Brown has established himself as one of the NFL's elite receivers in his third season. He earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2023, making him the third receiver in franchise history to accomplish the feat.

Sewell ended with the second-best pass block win rate (93%), among right tackles last season, behind the Minnesota Vikings' Brian O'Neill (96%), per ESPN Analytics/NFL Next Gen Stats.

Both 2021 draftees have become integral to the Lions' success and have established a close connection with quarterback Jared Goff. With these moves, Detroit is rewarding its homegrown talent.

What kind of pressure might this new deal put on St. Brown?

St. Brown is known among his teammates as being a strong-minded player who carries a chip on his shoulder. The added pressure to perform that comes with a big contract shouldn't bother him.

His consistency has been one of his greatest strengths. Of the 70 players in the NFL with at least 200 targets over the past three years, St. Brown's 1.2% drop rate is the best in the league with five drops on 430 career targets.

His work ethic is also something of legend among his Lions teammates.

"Certain guys are different. And I want to make a comparison, but I don't want it to sound crazy," quarterback Jared Goff told ESPN in October. "But the way that he is, in the weight room and on the field, are very similar in my experience with [former Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle and future Hall of Famer] Aaron Donald. Like, it is business, business, business. He works harder than everybody.

"Aaron's the hardest worker I've ever been around, and Saint's right there with him just with the amount of time they put in and how serious they take it when they're on the field. It's a lot of fun to play with a guy like that."

Who are the next players the Lions must lock up, and what does the team's salary cap look like?

The Lions can now turn their attention to getting an extension done for Goff after a 2023 season in which he passed for 4,575 yards and 30 touchdowns and led the Lions to the NFC Championship Game.

The Lions have gone all-in on Sewell and St. Brown, but there is no "imminent" deal for Goff, a source told Schefter on Wednesday afternoon. The parties have held discussions about an extension, and Goff, who has expressed his desire to remain in Detroit, should be next as he enters the final year of his contract.

Without knowing the full details of the structure of the St. Brown and Sewell deals, it's hard to fully make sense of Detroit's salary cap situation, though the deals could have a major cap impact. Sewell's cap number this year was going to be $7.668 million, and it's possible the Lions structured the deal in such a way that number won't change much. They appeared to have done so with St. Brown, but we just don't know right now.

Entering Wednesday, it appeared the Lions were in good shape with something like $28 million in cap space, and they appear to have enough room to operate over the next couple of years.

What does this do for the wide receiver and tackle markets, and who could get the next big deals?

After more than a yearlong lull in the wide receiver market, the wideouts are getting paid again, and St. Brown's deal sets a floor for the Minnesota Vikings' Justin Jefferson, the Dallas Cowboys' CeeDee Lamb and the San Francisco 49ers' Brandon Aiyuk.

Expect Jefferson to secure a deal well above $30 million per year at this point. And I'm not so sure Lamb would take any less. Aiyuk is a bit of a wild card because a trade could happen, but surely his team in 2024 -- either San Francisco or a new home -- will have to pay him top-three receiver money. Whether St. Brown's deal is back-loaded in Year 4 will be important. The top guys want a true deal without a bloated, non-guaranteed last year tacked on.

As for Sewell's deal with the Lions, Bucs OT Tristan Wirfs has to be happy. This is a good deal that he will inevitably be able to surpass. -- Jeremy Fowler