In addition to the Patriots’ Demaryius Thomas interest ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline, the team is also “particularly interested” in Lions wideout Golden Tate, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
Tate’s in the final season of a five-year contract, and earlier Monday a report indicated a fourth-round pick may be sufficient to pry Tate from Detroit. Rapoport notes Thomas remains of interest to the Pats as well. The trade deadline is at 3pm Tuesday.
Around $3.7MM remains on Tate’s contract. The Patriots hold more than $5MM in cap space, additional room created by restructuring Jason McCourty‘s deal earlier this season.
The Lions, who beat the Patriots in September, aren’t necessarily surefire sellers. They’re 3-4 and one game out of an NFC wild card spot and still in the hunt for an NFC North title, although they certainly shouldn’t be considered the favorites in a stacked division. But with Marvin Jones and the emerging Kenny Golladay in the fold, it’s harder to see them keeping Tate beyond 2018. No substantial discussions about an extension between the Lions and Tate are known to have taken place.
Although, Tate said Monday talks have occurred, telling Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press he and the Lions are “closer” on an extension. Though, Tate has been one of the NFL’s most productive receivers during his Lions stay and would be a sought-after commodity on the market, perhaps commanding more than $12MM per year in free agency. He’s making less than $7MM per year on his Detroit deal. He does not expect to be traded.
“I don’t think so,” Tate said (via Birkett), on whether or not he believes he’ll be dealt. “I feel like I’m a huge part of this organization and this offense especially, so hopefully that’s not the case. But again, I do understand it’s a business and if it happens then, you know, depends on where they send me.”
The interest New England has in these veteran wideouts stems from the unreliability of Josh Gordon, Michael Giardi of NFL.com notes (video link). Gordon’s already run into moderate trouble with his new team; the Pats are set to bench him to start Monday night’s game because of tardiness. The team isn’t sure what it will get from Gordon, per Giardi, which is why the Pats are giving hard looks to other available vets.
Tate spends much of his time in the slot for the Lions. The Patriots have Julian Edelman back but could surely make their offense work with Tate in the fold. Tate has 44 receptions for 517 yards and three touchdowns this season. The Lions and Pats have a natural pipeline, with Bob Quinn having worked with Bill Belichick in New England.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.