Originally written on The Victory Formation  |  Last updated 11/19/14

DETROIT - AUGUST 23: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions motions on the line across from Eric Wright #24 the Cleveland Browns at Ford Field on August 23, 2008 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Lions made it quite clear that their top priority this offseason was to sign Calvin Johnson to an extension. It appears they have accomplished just that. Anwar Richardson of MLive.com is reporting that the Lions and Megatron have agreed on an extension that will keep him in Motown until 2019. The contract is for 7 years and $132 million, with $60 million guaranteed. This exceeds Larry Fitzgerald’s 8-year, $120 milliion contract. Not only is Megatron now the highest paid receiver in football, he is the highest paid non-quarterback. I’d love to hear Cris Carter’s thoughts on this type of contract for a non-elite receiver (/wanking motion).

Additionally, this deal gives the Lions immediate cap relief in 2012. Johnson’s cap hit, before this extension, is around $21 million. That number will be significantly lowered, giving the Lions the chance to jump into feeding frenzy of free agency. The team has needs in the secondary and offensive line. Being able to pick up a player in one of these areas is huge. Offensively, even with a mediocre offensive line, the Lions were potent last year. The defense, on the other hand, was a weakness. Just look what Drew Brees and the Saints did to that secondary in the playoffs. Furthermore, this added cap space may allow the Lions to work on an extension with defensive end Cliff Avril or linebacker Stephen Tulloch.

Not only is this deal huge because it keeps one of the most dynamic offensive weapons in Detroit for the foreseeable future, but it also allows the Lions to improve elsewhere on the field. And that last bit is extremely important. It greatly improves this team’s ability to add pieces and challenge Green Bay for the NFC North crown in 2012. (And no, the Bears’ addition of Brandon Marshall does not put them on the same level as the Lions. That o-line is still a civ, and that defense is still a year older.)

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