On the eve of their final game, the Detroit Lions made a major move toward next season and the future by reaching a six-year, $46 million contract extension with defensive tackle Shaun Rogers that included a $15 million signing bonus.
Since being drafted in the second round of the 2001 draft, Rogers has been one of the most dominating interior linemen in the league. He earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl this season, his fourth with the team, but that isn't the only respect he has gained.
Rogers has been double-teamed so much by opposing blockers that it has enabled the other defensive linemen to be at the top of the sack lists as a unit. Defensive end James Hall, for example, is among the sack leaders with 11½ because he has been getting single blocking.
The Rogers deal was completed Saturday. His agents, Kennard McGuire and Fletcher Smith of CSMG, declined comment about the contract.
The deal, which will run through 2010, makes Rogers the highest-paid defensive tackle in football. It tops the $6 million a year deal signed by Warren Sapp in Tampa Bay before he left for the Raiders. Anthony McFarland of the Bucs signed a six-year, $31.25 million deal, and Kris Jenkins of the Panthers signed for roughly the same.
Rogers earned the ability to make the big dollars by proving he had durability and dominance despite a foot problem that scared away many teams from drafting him.
Had the Lions not reached an agreement with Rogers, there was a good chance they would have slapped him with the franchise tag.