Golden Tate

Lions Nearly Extended Golden Tate Before Trading Him

Back in May, we heard that the Lions had not had any substantive contract talks with WR Golden Tate, who is in his contract year and whom the Lions dealt to the Eagles at last week’s trade deadline. However, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, citing Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, says that the Lions did try to extend Tate before trading him, and Tate believed that a deal was close (Twitter link).

As of right now, there are no reports as to the terms of that failed extension, but Tate is said to be seeking a contract in the neighborhood of Jarvis Landry‘s five-year, $75.5MM deal with the Browns, so it stands to reason that Detroit’s offer was somewhere in that ballpark. Landry is about four years younger than Tate, so despite Tate’s track record of quality production, he may not land as lucrative of a deal as Landry’s, but given the fairly unimpressive list of wide receivers eligible for free agency this offseason — not to mention the booming wide receiver market — Tate will be richly compensated one way or another.

Detroit GM Bob Quinn held firm in trade talks with opposing clubs, but when the Eagles met his asking price for Tate, Quinn felt obliged to pull the trigger. The Lions will move forward with Marvin Jones and exciting second-year player Kenny Golladay, while Philadelphia will add Tate to an already strong group of wideouts (as we learned earlier today, the Eagles did try to trade for the Jets’ Robby Anderson, but New York elected to hold onto its best deep threat, so the defending champs shifted their focus to Tate).

In seven games this year, Tate has 44 catches for 517 yards and three touchdowns. He is on pace to crack the 1,000-yard barrier for the third consecutive year, and while he does not present the vertical ability that Anderson would have, the Eagles will surely appreciate his versatility and ability to make contested catches.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Golden Tate Seeking Jarvis Landry Deal?

Golden Tate is now an Eagle following a deadline deal that sent him from Detroit to Philadelphia, but it’s possible that the veteran receiver only spends eight games with the Birds. Tate, of course, is a free agent at season’s end, and he and his agent intend to use Jarvis Landry‘s five-year, $75.5MM deal with the Browns as a basis for his next contract, according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

There are certainly valid reasons to make the comparison between Tate and Landry, and the two have extremely similar statistics since the latter entered the league in 2014. Over the past four-plus seasons, Tate holds the edge in overall yardage while Landry takes the cake in receptions and touchdowns. However, Tate is more than four years older than Landry, so it could be difficult to persuade clubs to hand the new Eagles pass-catcher a $15MM annual commitment.

One factor working in Tate’s favor is the 2019 free agent receiver class. It’s not difficult to argue that Tate will be the best wideout available next spring, as other options that should be available include John Brown, Devin Funchess, Randall Cobb, Jamison Crowder, and Cole Beasley. Tate should be more attractive than any of those pass-catchers, so it’s not inconceivable that he comes away with an unexpectedly large contract.

Philadelphia has shown a willingness to extend recently-acquired players (see: Alshon Jeffery in 2017), but if the Eagles aren’t able to retain Tate, they’ll surely hope the 30-year-old lands a generous deal on the open market. A hefty pact would give Philadelphia at reaping a 2020 compensatory pick in exchange for losing Tate, which would help offset the 2019 third-rounder the Eagles shipped to the Lions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Tate, Packers, Browns, Burns

The Lions are only one game out of the NFC North lead, but they nonetheless made the decision to trade their most productive wide receiver since Calvin Johnson to the Eagles. Golden Tate is now in Philadelphia, and some Lions staffers are “very surprised” about that transaction, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. This led Breer to wonder if there was a conflict between Tate and the Lions, and a team source informed him that wasn’t the case. Instead, the Eagles’ offer of a third-round pick for a player who was likely on his way out after 2018 was too good to pass up. Tate would have netted the Lions a compensatory pick had he left in free agency, but that selection would’ve come in the 2020 draft. Now, Detroit has an additional Day 2 pick in 2019. Tate’s departure, though, makes any Lions playoff hopes less likely.

Several of the North divisions’ teams made moves before the trade deadline. Here’s more fallout from some others, along with the latest from some other North franchises:

  • Ty Montgomery‘s fumble on Sunday in Los Angeles didn’t just prompt non-essential Packers to anonymously gripe about the mistake. Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes respected veterans called out the since-traded running back/return man. That, coupled with Montgomery not accepting full responsibility for his mistake and publicly expressing trust issues with teammates, signaled the Packers had to move on from the former third-round pick, per Silverstein. Montgomery stands to finish out his contract year with the Ravens.
  • The Packers were not happy about the way Ha Ha Clinton-Dix‘s 2017 season ended, with Silverstein writing Green Bay brass believed the 2014 first-round pick avoided tackles in the season finale against the Lions. This helped influence the Packers’ decision to not enter contract talks with Clinton-Dix prior to the 2018 season. While this tactic isn’t uncommon for the Packers, who let established starters Randall Cobb, Bryan Bulaga, Sam Shields and others play out their contract years before re-signing them, it led Clinton-Dix to believe he wasn’t going to be back next season. Hence, the trade to Washington. GM Brian Gutekunst, however, said (via ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky) these trades weren’t meant as a message for the locker room.
  • As far as replacing Clinton-Dix, the Packers have some interesting options. One NFC scout told Silverstein their best choice might be to move recently added cornerback Bashaud Breeland to safety and play him in tandem with Jermaine Whitehead. Kentrell Brice served as Clinton-Dix’s safety running mate this season. A four-year Redskins starter, Breeland has not played a snap for the Packers yet. Another option, as Demovsky details, would be to play 2017 second-rounder Josh Jones. He’s worked as a special-teamer thus far. Tramon Williams could be an option as well, so Green Bay is not lacking in possible solutions.
  • The Browns named former Cardinals quarterback Ryan Lindley as their running backs coach today. This is interesting on multiple levels. The 29-year-old now-coach’s highest level of experience came as a San Diego State graduate assistant. Lindley, though, played under new Browns OC Freddie Kitchens with the Cardinals when Kitchens was their QBs coach.
  • Artie Burns did not play a snap in the Steelers‘ win over the Browns on Sunday. Mike Tomlin said he benched the former first-round cornerback because he was late for a walkthrough, but Burns said Wednesday (via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) he was back with the starters at practice. Coty Sensabaugh started in place of Burns in Week 8.

Lions Trade WR Golden Tate To Eagles

Golden Tate is Philly-bound. The Lions wide receiver broke the news of his own trade via Twitter

It’s been real DETROIT! I’ll love ya forever. Philly Philly let’s get it!!,” Tate tweeted.

The Eagles will send a third-round pick to the Lions in exchange for the 30-year-old. Tate is in the final year of his contract and profiles as a rental for the free-spending defending champs, but GM Howie Roseman has no qualms about making aggressive moves near the trade deadline.

In seven games this year, Tate has 44 catches for 517 yards and three touchdowns. He’s on pace for numbers that are similar to his 2016 and 2017 stat lines, but the Lions couldn’t resist the offer of a high draft pick for the veteran. By moving Tate, they’ll open up more opportunities for the younger Kenny Golladay while also getting Marvin Jones more involved in the passing game.

With a 4-4 record, the Eagles felt compelled to upgrade the roster. It could be argued that wide receiver should not have been the Eagles’ top priority this week, but no one can argue with the club’s talent at the position after the trade. Alshon Jeffery is back in action, Jordan Matthews is contributing, Mike Wallace could be nearing a late-season return, and Tate is now in the fold to put them over the top.

Nicknamed “Showtime,” Tate is known for his tenacity and ability to eek out tough yards after drawing initial contact. He also offers the ability to play on the outside or the inside. This year, 25 of his 44 catches came from the slot.

If the trade works out as well as last year’s Jay Ajayi swap, then Roseman will be happy. Ajayi, acquired from the Dolphins for a fourth-round pick, led the Eagles in rushing yards in the playoffs on the way to the Super Bowl.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Interested In Golden Tate

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.

Lions’ Golden Tate Drawing Trade Interest

Could the Lions trade Golden Tate before Tuesday’s deadline? That’s what other teams want to know, as the Lions have been receiving calls of interest in the wide receiver (video link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). 

Pelissero hears that that Lions could be willing to part with Tate if they’re offered a fourth-round draft pick. For all of his accomplishments, Tate amounts to a rental for interested clubs, so his market is somewhat limited.

At the same time, the 3-4 Lions are very much alive in the sardine-packed NFC North, so one has to wonder why Detroit would settle for a mid-round draft pick. The Lions may be tempted to increase targets for Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones, but Tate remains a dangerous weapon as evidenced by his two 100+ yard games earlier this year.

Tate is in the final year of his five-year, $31MM pact. If another team acquires him this week, they’ll be on the hook for 9/17ths of his $7MM salary, which amounts to roughly $3.7MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Vikings, Panthers, Jones, Tate, Boston

Following the tragic and unexpected death of offensive line coach Tony Sparano this week, the Vikings have made some adjustments to their coaching staff. Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune reports (via Twitter) that the team will names Clancy Barone and Andrew Janocko co-coaches for the offensive line.

Barone, who’s been working in the NFL since 2004, was the Vikings tight ends coach last season. With the reorganization of the coaching staff, senior offensive assistant (and former Raiders offensive coordinator) Todd Downing will take on the tight ends gig. Meanwhile, Janocko had previously served as the team’s assistant offensive line coach.

NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport notes (via Twitter) that the team had also pursued former Vikings head coach Mike Tice for the offensive line job. We heard back in February that the 59-year-old was eyeing retirement.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFC…

  • Panthers right tackle Daryl Williams appeared to suffer a serious knee injury during practice today, writes Bryan Strickland of the team’s website. The 25-year-old reportedly went down following a “non-contact injury,” and he was later carted off the field. “He’s being evaluated,” said head coach Ron Rivera. “They’ll send him up to Charlotte where he can be closely looked at, and we’ll go from there. I’m not sure. I just know they’re going to take him up and evaluate him later today…Daryl is a solid young man, and he’s a big part of what we do. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.” If the 2017 second-team All-Pro ends up missing time, Rivera said 2017 second-round pick Taylor Moton will be given the chance to earn the starting gig.
  • Julio Jones saw several adjustments to his contract before reporting to Falcons training camp, writes Michael Davis Smith of ProFootballTalk.com. The star wideout will now earn a $4.4MM signing bonus thanks to his revised deal, while his 2018 and 2019 base salaries were reduced to $1.5MM and $2.9MM, respectively.
  • Lions wideout Golden Tate is entering the final season of his five-year, $31MM deal that was signed back in 2014. While the 29-year-old shouldn’t anticipate a similar payday as Brandin Cooks or Sammy Watkins, he’s still hoping the organization has some leftover money to keep him around. “I hope there’s some (money) left,” Tate told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press“Congratulations to all those guys who’ve gotten big deals. They definitely deserve it. I mean, all those players like Cooks and Sammy, they’re all hell of players. Who else? The guy who used to be in Chicago? Alshon (Jeffery). He got a payday, too. So congratulations to all those guys. I hope everyone who plays this game has an opportunity to earn a big payday. I’m happy for them.” Tate had another productive season in 2017, hauling in 92 receptions for 1,003 yards and five touchdowns.
  • We heard earlier this week that Tre Boston‘s deal with the Cardinals was worth $1.5MM (although this could be increased to $3MM). However, Pro Football Talk reports that the safety’s deal only contains $800K in guaranteed money. The deal also includes a number of incentives, including per-game bonuses, playing time bonuses, and Pro Bowl/statistical bonuses. The 26-year-old had a productive season for the Chargers last season, compiling 79 tackles, eight passes defended, and five interceptions in 16 games (15 starts).

North Notes: Lions, Abdullah, Tate, Browns, Ward, Packers, Williams

After drafting Kerryon Johnson in the second round and signing LeGarrette Blount in free agency, the Lions suddenly have a crowded running backs room. In addition to Johnson and Blount, the team also has Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, Dwayne Washington, and Zach Zenner on the team. At this point, Johnson, Blount, and Riddick are the locks to make t he team, while Abdullah, Washington, and Zenner are on the roster bubble, according to Tim Twentyman of Detroitlions.com.

Twentyman thinks the three on the bubble will be fighting it out for just one spot on the team. As of now he seems to think that Abdullah has the edge. The team can save $1MM in cap space by cutting Abdullah. Abdullah has been a disappointment since entering the league with a lot of hype as a second round pick back in 2015. Entering the final year of his rookie deal, even if he does make the roster this fall, 2018 should be his last season in Detroit. Washington and Zenner have both been hanging around the bottom of the Lions’ roster the past couple of years, and it looks like it could be the end of the road for them.

Here’s more from the league’s northern divisions:

  • The Browns are very high on rookie Denzel Ward, reports Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland. The number four overall pick in this year’s draft, Ward has drawn rave reviews from defensive coordinator Gregg Williams this spring. “He is one of the best press guys that I have seen” Williams said, adding that Ward “passed with flying colors” during offseason workouts. It sounds like Ward could start right away and that he could help solve the Browns’ long-lasting issues at cornerback.
  • The Packers battle between Tramon Williams and rookie Josh Jackson for a starting cornerback spot will be one of the most interesting competitions to keep an eye on, writes Nick Shook of NFL.com. Shook points out that Williams is 35, and that the Packers might be eager to usher in a “new era” at cornerback with Jackson. Williams could hang on as a starter for one final year, but it won’t be long until the Packers’ younger cornerbacks take over.
  • Golden Tate isn’t concerned with his contract, he told Sirius XM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Tate said he wasn’t worried about heading into the final year of his deal, and doesn’t appear to be pressuring the Lions for a new one. He did say teams shouldn’t hold his age against him, because he hasn’t “shown any decline.”

No “Substantive” Extension Talks Between Lions, Golden Tate

The Lions have not held any “substantive” extension talks with wide receiver Golden Tate, who is entering the final year of his current contract, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

Tate joined the Lions on five-year, $31MM deal prior to the 2014 campaign, and has subsequently outperformed that contract by nearly any estimation. In four years with Detroit, Tate has averaged 93 receptions, 1,056 yards, and five touchdowns per season. Tate has also played like one of the league’s most efficient receivers: in 2017, for example, Football Outsiders ranked Tate 17th in DVOA, meaning he provides excellent value on a per-play basis.

In his contract season, Tate will earn a base salary of $7MM and count for roughly $9.4MM on the Lions’ salary cap. On an annual basis, Tate is now just the 34th-highest-paid wide receiver in the league, sandwiched between Marqise Goodwin and Travis Benjamin.

“The wide receiver market is very high right now, and it wasn’t very high when I came out when I was in free agency the first time, unfortunately,” Tate said. “It’s pretty exciting. It’s almost like, with these guys that are signing their first big deal, it’s been set. I would have never thought receivers today would be getting paid I guess what quarterbacks were getting paid just four years ago.”

The Lions have re-invested in the receiver position since signing Tate in 2014 (and seeing Calvin Johnson retire after the 2015 season). Marvin Jones is on a five-year contract that will keep him in Detroit through 2020, while the Lions used a third-round pick on Kenny Golladay a year ago.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Lions, Tate, Vikes, Sendejo

While initial reports indicated Lions wideout Golden Tate would be sidelined for a “few weeks” after suffering an AC joint sprain in Week 6, the veteran pass-catcher participated in practice today, reports Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). Tate’s presence at practice certainly doesn’t mean that he’ll be ready to face the Steelers on Sunday, and there’s every reason that he’ll remain doubtful for Week 8 (especially given that he was recently spotted sporting a sling). But it’s a remarkable turnaround for Tate, and gives him a decent chance at being available in Week 9 even if he can’t go against Pittsburgh.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • Tate wasn’t the only Lions player to return to practice this week, as offensive lineman Corey Robinson was on the field as well, according to Justin Rogers of the Detroit News. Unlike Tate, Robinson isn’t currently on the Lions’ active roster, as Detroit placed him on injured reserve in September. The NFL now allows clubs to bring two players back from IR, and Robinson appears to be one of the Lions’ choices — he can practice over the next two weeks, and can be activated in time for Detroit’s November 2 contest against the Browns. Last season, Robinson appeared in 14 games as a reserve and made three starts.
  • Free agent offensive lineman Don Barclay worked out for the Lions today, per Adam Caplan of SiriusXM (Twitter link). Barclay, whom the Packers released off injured reserve earlier this week, appeared in 62 games (24 starts) for the Packers from 2012-16. Given his ability to play guard and tackle, Barclay would give Detroit experience all along the line. The Lions are a bottom-six team in both adjusted line yards and sack rate, and left tackle Greg Robinson — who’s filling in for the injured Taylor Decker — is the league’s second-worst tackle, per Pro Football Focus.
  • Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo will serve his one-game suspension in Week 8 after his appeal was denied, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. Sendejo, who earned his ban due to a hit on Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace, will be off the field when Minnesota faces the Browns on Sunday. Instead, the Vikings will turn to Anthony Harris and Jayron Kearse to cover opposite All Pro Harrison Smith. The one-game suspension will cost Sendejo roughly $174K, the amount of a single game check.