Darius Slay won’t be attending the Lions’ mandatory minicamp. During an Instagram Live conversation with former teammate Crezdon Butler, the cornerback acknowledged that he “ain’t going” next Tuesday (via Jeremy Reisman of PrideOfDetroit.com). NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport echoes the report (via Twitter), saying Slay wants a new contract.
Despite having two years remaining on his deal, Slay is looking for a raise. The cornerback is set to earn about $12.5MM in 2019 and $10MM in 2020, which puts him outside of the top-10 at his position in average annual value. The 28-year-old has likely already forfeited his $250K workout bonus by skipping OTAs, and his absence from minicamp could cost him another $100K.
However, as our own Rory Parks explored yesterday, Slay (along with teammate Damon Harrison) probably won’t hold out into the regular season, when the real fines will start to pile up. Therefore, the Lions could hope that Slay ends up relenting and attending training camp, and the two sides could then revisit negotiations in 2020. Plus, it doesn’t sound like Slay is all that eager to leave the Lions; after disclosing that he won’t be attending minicamp, the cornerback made sure to pass along some love to the fans.
“I love my fans, I love Detroit,” Slay said. “I’m telling y’all, Detroit got the best fans in the world, man. Y’all got some crazy ones now, but y’all are the best ones now. Y’all are the best fans in the world.”
The 2013 second-round pick has spent his entire career with the Lions, and he’s earned Pro Bowl nods in each of the past two seasons. While his 2017 campaign was hard to match statistically, Slay did his best in 2018. He ultimately finished last season with 43 tackles, 17 passes defended, and three interceptions in 15 games (15 starts). Pro Football Focus ended up ranking Slay 23rd among 112 eligible cornerbacks.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.