Kenny Golladay

NFC North Notes: Golladay, Bears, Vikings

With Golden Tate long gone and Marvin Jones entering the final year of his contract, Kenny Golladay figures to be a high priority for the Lions this offseason. Because Golladay was a third-round pick, his fourth season doubles as a contract year. The Lions would like to extend him, and Golladay has expressed interest in a long-term Detroit stay, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets. However, no extension talks have commenced yet. Despite Matthew Stafford missing much of the season, Golladay established career-high marks in receiving yardage (1,190) and touchdowns (11). With the floor for No. 1 wide receivers being around $16MM per year now, Golladay will not come cheap after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.

Here is the latest from the NFC North, shifting first to some more receiving situations:

  • Anthony Miller dealt with as many as five shoulder dislocations as a rookie in 2018, leading to a 2019 surgery. The Bears wide receiver’s shoulder troubles are not over. He underwent another shoulder operation recently, Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com notes. Miller missed time during the 2019 offseason but did not miss a game last season. That seemingly won’t be an issue this year, with COVID-19 making it highly unlikely any teams will conduct any offseason workouts. The former second-round pick came on down the stretch last season, finishing 2019 with 52 catches for 656 yards.
  • The retooling Panthers did not pick up Jarius Wright‘s 2020 option, sending the veteran wideout into free agency. Although the Vikings shed Stefon Diggs‘ contract, do not expect Wright to return to Minnesota. The longtime Vikings slot receiver has a slim chance of returning to the team for which he played six seasons, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. The Vikings released Wright in 2018; the 30-year-old wideout played the past two seasons with the Panthers.
  • The Packers‘ agreement with free agent running back/return man Tyler Ervin is a one-year, $1MM pact, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com notes. Ervin will collect a $910K base salary. The Packers claimed Ervin off waivers from the Jaguars last year and used him on kick and punt returns.

North Notes: Golladay, J. Smith, Packers

Wide receiver Kenny Golladay has been a rare bright spot for the Lions this season, setting career-highs with 1,118 yards and a league-leading 11 TDs. The 2017 third-rounder will be eligible for an extension after the season, and he expects contract talks to take place in the coming months, as Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com writes.

“I’m sure we will (talk contract) the next few months or so,” Golladay said. “Everything will work itself out. I’m very grateful to be here. [The Lions] definitely took a shot on me and that would be a good way to repay them.”

Now for more from the league’s north divisions:

  • The Ravens agreed to a three-year extension with cornerback Marcus Peters yesterday, but that doesn’t mean Jimmy Smith‘s days in Baltimore are numbered. Per Jeff Zrbeic of The Athletic, the Ravens — who have invested heavily in their secondary in recent years — tried to extend Smith earlier in the season, and the two sides could revisit contract talks this offseason.
  • Regardless of what the Ravens choose to do with Smith, Zrebiec says the team can now focus on adding pass rushers and inside linebackers in free agency and/or the draft. He confirms an earlier report suggesting that Baltimore could put the franchise tag on Matt Judon, and Matt Miller of Bleacher Report says the Ravens are indeed heavily focused on pass rushing talent in the 2020 draft.
  • In the same piece linked above, Miller says the Packers are fully aware of how talented the 2020 class of wide receivers is and could use a first-round pick on a wideout for the first time since 2002.
  • Vikings receiver Davion Davis was arrested for DUI the same late October weekend as teammate Jayron Kearse, as Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes (though they were unrelated incidents). Davis, who was on the active roster at the time but who is now on the practice squad, has since pleaded not guilty to three misdemeanor charges. He has appeared in two games this season and has seen three offensive snaps.

Lions Wrap Up Draft Class

The Lions have signed third-round wide receiver Kenny Golladay, according to a team announcement. With Golladay signed, the Lions now have all of their draft picks officially under contract.Kenny Golladay (vertical)

Golladay, who was taken with the No. 96 overall pick, will be competing with Jared Abbrederis, Jace Billingsley, and T.J. Jones for the No. 3 WR position. With defenses keying in on Golden Tate and Marvin Jones, there could be lots of opportunities for Golladay in the next spot.

At 6’4″, the Northern Illinois product should have the length to win jumpballs against most of his defenders. He has been knocked by some evaluators for his route running, but scouts fell in love with him for his height and speed leading up to the draft.

Here’s the complete rundown of the Lions’ 2017 class:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Rumors: Carter, Maclin, Golladay

The Lions are planning a position switch for a recent draft pick. Additions of D.J. Hayden, Teez Tabor and fifth-round pick Jamal Agnew at cornerback led the Lions to ask their 2015 third-rounder — Alex Carter — to relocate to safety, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com reports. This would stand to give Carter a better chance to make the roster and attempt to launch a career that hasn’t taken off yet. The former Stanford performer has only played in one NFL game in two years. A 2015 ankle injury put Carter on IR, and the team didn’t see enough from him in 2016 to activate him for more than one contest.

At safety, Detroit has starters Glover Quin — who is in a contract year — and Tavon Wilson, with backups Miles Killebrew and Don Carey behind them. It’s a thinner situation than cornerback looks, as Roster Resource details, but Meinke notes Carter is no lock to make the team. More is expected of Killebrew, a 2016 fourth-round selection, in Year 2, and Carey is a constant on special teams. Jim Caldwell identified Carter’s frame, at 6-foot and 205 pounds, as a reason for the move.

Here’s more out of the Motor City.

  • The Chiefs made one of the more surprising moves of the offseason by making Jeremy Maclin an old-school, June 2 cut. Maclin immediately vaults to the top of the UFA wide receiver contingent, and the Lions could still be in need of a third reliable wideout after Anquan Boldin‘s contract expired. Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com weighs the fit for Maclin in Detroit, noting the salary would have to be right. Maclin just saw the Chiefs move on from a five-year, $55MM contract. That said, Maclin, at 29, probably profiles as a player who will want a role more substantial than as a No. 3 behind Golden Tate and Marvin Jones. Tate earns $6.2MM per year, and Jones averages $8MM annually. A Maclin commitment may be untenable. Boldin fits that description better, but the sides haven’t talked a deal in a while.
  • June 1 passing means the Lions do, however, gain $5.99MM in cap space after the funds from DeAndre Levy‘s release became available, as Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap notes. The Lions now possess $8.638MM in cap space. Levy’s deal will saddle the team with $4.8MM in 2017 dead money.
  • Third-round wide receiver Kenny Golladay remains the only Lions draft choice unsigned. This is due to the CBA’s cloudier language regarding third-round picks, with Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press noting third-rounders’ base salaries in Years 2-4 of their contracts can fluctuate compared to players chosen in every other round of the draft. Golladay, though, is working out with the team and expected to be signed by training camp.
  • Jarrad Davis signed a fully guaranteed rookie deal worth $10.969MM, Birkett reports. Davis receives a $6.117MM signing bonus. Tabor, assigned to travel from Florida to the Motor City a round after Davis, saw the Lions fully guarantee the base salaries in his first two seasons. Tabor’s signing bonus came in at $1.647MM, per Birkett. Both ex-Gators will have $465K base salaries as rookies.
  • Sixth-round quarterback Brad Kaaya signed for four years and $2.523MM after being a one-time Day 2 prospect, Birkett reports, with a $123K signing bonus. None of the Lions’ draft choices received any additional bonuses beyond their signing bonus.