You could make a good argument that Kenny Golladay is the top free agent wideout, but there’s a chance he won’t even make it that far. Multiple sources have told CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora that the Lions will ultimately slap Golladay with the franchise tag.
It would make sense for the Lions to follow that route, especially from a financial perspective. As La Canfora notes, the going rate for a player of Golladay’s caliber is probably around $19MM. The franchise tag is expected to come in around $16MM, which is a significant discount on a Pro Bowler. Plus, if the Lions commit to a full rebuild and clear house, franchising and subsequently trading Golladay would garner the front office some extra draft assets.
On the flip side, Golladay probably won’t be too thrilled about having to settle for the franchise tag, especially after he was unable to work out an extension with the organization during the 2020 season. The Lions have also hired a new coaching staff, revamped their front office, and traded franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford, an indication that they may be bottoming out before becoming contenders. While Golladay hasn’t been a headache during his tenure in Detroit (he even said that he’d welcome a return), the wideout would have non-financial reasons to not be thrilled with his situation.
The 2017 third-round burst onto the scene during his sophomore campaign, and he followed that up with a Pro Bowl campaign in 2019, hauling in 65 receptions for 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns. Injuries limited Golladay to only five games in 2020, with the 27-year-old compiling 20 receptions for 338 yards and two scores.
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