Free agent wide receiver Golden Tate recently signed with the Port Angeles Lefties of the West Coast League, a collegiate summer baseball league, according to a press release from the WCL itself. Tate had not generated any reported interest from NFL teams this offseason.
Tate, who will turn 34 in August, did not see any regular season NFL action in 2021. From 2014-17, he enjoyed a solid run as a member of the Lions, earning his first and only Pro Bowl bid in 2014 and recording at least 90 catches per season over that four-year stretch. In the middle of the 2018 campaign, the final year of his contract with Detroit, the Lions shipped him to the Eagles in exchange for a 2019 third-rounder. He would catch the game-winning TD pass from Philadelphia QB Nick Foles in the team’s wildcard round victory over the Bears that season.
He earned a four-year, $37.5MM contract ($23MM guaranteed) from the Giants in the 2019 offseason, but his tenure with Big Blue was rocky at best. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2019 season for a violation of the league’s PED policy, and though he was a useful member of the club’s receiving corps upon his reinstatement — posting a 49/676/6 slash triple-slash in 11 games (10 starts) — 2020 was a different story. He was deactivated for New York’s Week 9 contest that year, with the team citing effort and performance issues as the reason for the move, and he publicly voiced his frustration over his lack of targets. He finished the season with a 35/388/2 slash line, his lowest totals since his sophomore season in 2011.
The Giants released Tate in March 2021, and he did not find a new home until he hooked on with the Titans’ taxi squad in November. He was cut a few weeks later without having earned a promotion to the active roster.
Given his age, his disappointing 2020 season, the fact that he was essentially out of football in 2021, and his inability to spark any interest this offseason, Tate’s NFL career looked to be finished even before his decision to reenter the baseball world. A three-sport athlete in high school, Tate was drafted by the Dodgers in the 42nd round of the 2007 MLB draft, though he did not sign, choosing instead to attend college at Notre Dame. He made his name as a football player with the Fighting Irish, but he continued to play baseball as well, and he was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the 50th round of the 2010 MLB draft (several months after the Seahawks made him a second-round choice of that year’s NFL draft). Obviously, he ended up signing with the ‘Hawks, which proved to be a wise decision.
In 2012, Russell Wilson‘s rookie year, Tate became a full-time starter for Seattle. In 15 games (all starts), he caught 45 passes for 688 yards and a career-best seven TDs, and he was a key component of the team’s aerial attack in their Super Bowl-winning campaign in 2013, hauling in 64 catches for 898 yards and four scores.
Assuming we have seen the last of Tate in the NFL, he leaves the game with a terrific resume. In addition to his Pro Bowl nod and Super Bowl ring, Tate took home over $56MM in career earnings — thanks largely to two notable free agent contracts with the Lions and Giants — and recorded three 1,000-yard seasons.