Bob Quinn's first draft pick as general manager of the Detroit Lions in 2016 was left tackle Taylor Decker at No. 16 overall. On Wednesday, Quinn made sure Decker will continue to be Detroit's left tackle for the foreseeable future, signing him to a multi-year extension through the 2024 season.
"Since the day we drafted him, Taylor has dedicated himself to our program and has developed into an important piece of our offense," Quinn said in a statement released by the team announcing the extension. "As one of our team captains, he sets a great example for every player in our locker room.
"This extension is a reflection of all of Taylor's hard work, and we are incredibly excited to come to this agreement and continue to work with Taylor for years to come. I also want to thank Taylor and his representatives for their work in making this extension a reality."
From the first day he got to Detroit, Decker has wanted to stay here and be a Lion for life.
"Right when I was drafted I was one of those players that wanted to play for one organization and be fortunate to be able to play with this Lions organization," Decker said in a Zoom call Wednesday.
"Not everybody gets to do that. It was a goal I've always had. I told Bob (Quinn) that the other day. So, that's just huge to me. This city has become my home and I'm part of this community, so to have the outpouring of love and support from the fans and from my friends, family and then obviously from the organization to want to sign me to an extension is huge, you know? I just appreciate everyone believing in me and trusting me to be their left tackle."
Decker said the extension process with the team was quick and smooth, and came together in matter of just three days after the team informed him and his representation they wanted to start negotiating.
Decker was a starter at left tackle the first day he stepped on the field in Allen Park as a rookie. He has developed into a core player and anchor on the Lions offensive line – along with fellow first-round draft pick (2018) and center Frank Ragnow.
After signing veteran free-agent right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai to a long-term deal this offseason, the Lions now have their bookend tackles under contract for multiple years. With Ragnow continuing to develop into one of the best centers in the league, the Lions look to be building a solid long-term foundation upfront.
"I think that the organization has put an emphasis on wanting their offensive line to have that cohesiveness and chemistry," Decker said. "Which is cool to see and it's cool for me to be a part of."
Decker has started every game he's played at left tackle (55). He is a good pass protector and run blocker. He's started 31 of a possible 32 games the last two seasons.
View photos from Detroit Lions Training Camp presented by Rocket Mortgage on Sept. 1, 2020.
Entering his fifth season, Decker's had probably the best training camp of his career, and is expected to carry that right into the start of the regular season next week.
"I've just seen so much growth in him over the last couple years in his ability to get better at the position, just be more consistent, his technique, his leadership is outstanding, the way that he approaches every single day," Lions head coach Matt Patricia said of Decker.
"I just couldn't be any happier for him in general with his development as a player and obviously everything that goes along with that for his future. I think he's just an intricate part of what we're trying to do and what we're trying to be about. You always want to do everything you can to raise your own and reward your own. Certainly Taylor has done an awesome job for us."