The most important offensive lineman in Detroit isn't going anywhere.
Center Dominic Raiola, who was scheduled to become a free-agent on March 2, agreed to a five year extension with Detroit late Saturday night. The deal is worth a reported $17.5 million and includes a $4.6 million signing bonus.
Raiola was priority number one for Detroit entering the off-season. He has been firmly entrenched as the starter since being drafted out of Nebraska in 2001, and was considered by Scout.com as the best available center in free-agency. Raiola has shown improvement in each of his three years in the league.
His chemistry with starting quarterback Joey Harrington, though, was also key. Harrington and Raiola are good friends.
With the pending departure of right tackle Stockar McDougle, who will test free-agency, the Lions would like to keep the remainder of their 2004 starting unit intact. Raiola joins left tackle Jeff Backus and guard Damien Woody as the starters that will resurface with the team in 2005. The Lions will likely address the left guard and right tackle position in free-agency and the draft.