In a move that was long speculated and expected, the Detroit Lions locked up their starting tight end, T.J. Hockenson (pictured), through the 2023 season by exercising the team's 2023 option on him on Tuesday night.

Hockenson has battled injuries throughout his three-year career with the Lions,  starting 35 of the team's 49 regular season games from 2019-21.  But despite that, he was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2020.

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Hockenson was the team's first round draft pick out of Iowa in 2019.  And when he's played, he's been effective.  In 2020, he played in all 16 games and caught 67 passes for 723 yards and six touchdowns.  And again, he was named to the NFC's Pro Bowl team.

T.J. is set to count $6.5 million against the team's salary cap in 2022.  He is slated to count $9.3 million against the team's cap in 2023.

Taking care of Hockenson now will allow the Lions to possibility to give other players contract extensions this offseason.  Players that are entering the final year of their deals include:  cornerback Amani Oruwariye, running back Jamaal Williams, punter Jack Fox, safety Will Harris, and kicker Austin Seibert.

The Lions have eight picks in the upcoming NFL Draft.  They will pick at #2 and #32 in the first round on Thursday.  They have a second round pick at #34, and they also have two third-round picks on Friday.  The Lions also have a fifth-round pick and two sixth- round picks on Saturday.

Currently, the Lions are $18 million under the salary cap for 2022, according to  A good chunk of that will go their draft picks mentioned above.

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