Kenny Golladay

Lions Hope To Keep Kenny Golladay

Some have wondered whether Kenny Golladay could price his way out of Detroit this offseason. However, with weeks to go before free agency, Lions exec Chris Spielman tells WXYT-FM that Golladay — and the wide receiver position in general — is one of his very top priorities (via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press). 

[RELATED: Lions’ Marvin Jones To Chase Super Bowl]

I think Kenny is a, he’s a competitive guy and the thing that I’ve always admired most about Kenny when doing the games on TV is his ability to win the 50/50 ball,” said Spielman, an ex-linebacker and broadcaster who serves as one of the organization’s top executives. “I just think his size and what he can bring to the table is something that a lot of people liked about Kenny Golladay, including me.

The Lions — like most teams this year – are facing a numbers crunch due to the anticipated salary cap decrease. As they rebuild for the near-term and long-term, Spielman says he’ll be looking at talent and character in equal measure.

In any philosophy, you can fill in voids in free agency, but you can’t buy a locker room,” Spielman said. “That’s been a philosophy for a lot of teams. And generally, what I believe is that you want to build your team through the draft. So it’s kind of, draft, develop and re-sign. And I think that’s hopefully the direction that I think the Lions will take.”

When it comes to Golladay, the Lions figure to have lots of competition if/when he reaches the open market. The Giants, who are eyeing a major WR upgrade, are expected to be among his top suitors.

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Giants Interested In Kenny Golladay?

The Giants have their top three receivers from the past two seasons — Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate and Darius Slayton — under contract for 2021, but they are expected to show interest in a higher-profile pass catcher.

Should the Lions let Kenny Golladay hit the market, many around the league expect the Giants to pursue the Pro Bowl target, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv notes. The Giants discussed Golladay with the Lions before last year’s trade deadline, despite having just one win at the time, but the Lions held onto their No. 1 receiver. Golladay, however, missed most of the season due to injury.

Golladay’s availability will obviously factor into any team’s pursuit. A franchise tag for the four-year veteran is firmly on the table, despite the Lions having traded Matthew Stafford and overhauled their front office and coaching staff this offseason. The former third-round pick missed 11 games last season because of hamstring and hip injuries but averaged an NFL-high 18.3 yards per catch in 2019, doing so with Stafford missing half that season.

The Giants are expected to part ways with Tate at some point soon. No guaranteed money remains on the veteran’s deal, which calls for a $10.9MM cap number. Tate’s former Lions teammate would be a target to monitor, though the two-time 1,000-yard receiver may only be available through a tag-and-trade scenario. A receiver tag is expected to cost north of $16MM.

As of mid-February, the Giants are less than $1MM under the projected $180MM cap. They have Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson on track for free agency, with the former set to command big money after a breakthrough season in his first full year with the Giants. The team also has an edge rusher need yet again. But the Giants’ offense regressed to 31st in points scored last season, and its Daniel Jones plan may require more help for the young quarterback.

Should Golladay not hit the market, several other big-name receivers will. Former Dave Gettleman Panthers draftee Curtis Samuel is a free agent-to-be. Even if Chris Godwin and Allen Robinson are tagged, the likes of Will Fuller, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Corey Davis, T.Y. Hilton, Marvin Jones and A.J. Green are some of the names set to be free agents. The 2021 draft is also expected to be heavy on wideout talent, continuing a recent trend.

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Lions Expected To Franchise WR Kenny Golladay?

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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Lions To Place Kenny Golladay On IR

For all intents and purposes, the Lions’ season is over. It’s also officially over for wide receiver Kenny Golladay, interim head coach Darrell Bevell announced. 

Golladay has been out of commission with a hip injury and limited to just five games throughout the year. It’s hardly the platform he wanted with free agency on the horizon. The 27-year-old, ideally, says that he would like to stay in Detroit for 2021 and beyond. But he also wants a market value contract, which could put him in the $18-20MM-per-season range — provided that he’s healthy.

“You know, [the Lions] believed in me,” Golladay said recently“If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. Then I go somewhere else and ball out and play. But like I said, I’m a loyal person and of course I want to be here. I started my career here.”

The Lions, meanwhile, are in a holding pattern after the dismissal of Bob Quinn. The Lions’ next GM — whoever that may be — would have to clear significant salary cap space to either franchise tag Golladay or furnish him with a lucrative long-term pact.

Golladay’s fourth season will end with just 20 catches for 338 yards and two touchdowns. It’s a far cry from his 2019 showing of 65 grabs for 1,190 yards and an NFL-leading 11 receiving TDs, leading to his first-ever Pro Bowl nod.

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Lions QB Matthew Stafford Preparing To Play Tomorrow

In a sudden turn of events, it sounds like Matthew Stafford will play tomorrow after all. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the Lions quarterback is “preparing to play” against the Titans.

Stafford landed on the injury report this week after suffering a hard hit from Packers defensive tackle Kenny Clark that knocked him out of last week’s loss. The rib injury forced the veteran to miss practice on Wednesday and Thursday, and he earned the ‘questionable’ designation after putting in limited work on Friday (per ESPN’s Michael Rothstein).

There was initial pessimism surrounding Stafford’s injury, and interim head coach Darrell Bevell said the team would likely wait to make a decision about their quarterback’s status.

“This may or may not be a workout situation,” Bevell said. “Obviously, the conversation of what he’s doing kind of on the side before we even get that far. But if we need to have a workout Sunday morning, then we’ll end up doing that as well.”

The former first-overall pick didn’t miss a single game between the 2011 and 2018 seasons. His 2019 campaign was cut short due to a back injury, limiting him to only eight games. Despite two separate stints on the COVID-19 list, Stafford has managed to play in each of Detroit’s 13 games this season. The 32-year-old has completed 63.9 percent of his passes for 3,522 yards, 22 touchdowns, and nine interceptions.

While it sounds like Stafford will be taking the field tomorrow, two key members of the offense will not. Wideout Kenny Golladay will miss his seventh consecutive game with a hip injury, while center Frank Ragnow is out as he recovers from a fractured throat.

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Kenny Golladay Wants To Remain With Lions

Fresh off his first career Pro Bowl selection, Lions WR Kenny Golladay was hoping to secure a monster contract extension this year, or at least to build upon his 2019 successes and set himself up well for unrestricted free agency in 2021. Unfortunately, injuries have limited him to just five games this season, and he has not played since November 1.

With Detroit out of playoff contention, interim HC Darrell Bevell is considering shutting Golladay down for the year. “I think that’s a conversation that’s coming,” Bevell said (via Justin Rogers of the Detroit News). “We’re really trying to get him back and he really wants to play, he wants to be in there, but that’s a conversation of where are we at in the season that it might come to that.”

Some skeptics have wondered if that’s what Golladay has wanted all along. Although a report in early September suggested that the Lions and their star receiver were closing in on a long-term deal, that obviously has not happened, and it would be hard to blame Golladay for making a business decision and protecting himself from further injury instead of jeopardizing his health in a lost season.

But Bevell and Golladay both insist that is not the case. Bevell said, “[t]he good thing for me is I’m in here every day. I get to see what he’s doing. I get to see what he’s putting his body through to try to get back for us and for his teammates. He’s doing that and that’s really what I can say.” Golladay added that he sustained a hip flexor strain during Detroit’s November 1 battle with the Colts and suffered a minor setback in rehab, but he has been doing everything in his power to return to the field.

The 27-year-old said he remains committed to the Lions and wants to stay in Detroit for the long haul, despite the fact that the club will be looking for a new head coach and GM in 2021 and could move on from QB Matthew Stafford. However, he knows that might not be in the cards.

After all, contract negotiations are on hold since the team fired former GM Bob Quinn, and the Lions will need to clear significant salary cap space to either hit Golladay with the franchise tag or hand him a multi-year pact worth $18-20MM per season, which is what he stands to make on the open market (assuming he is fully healthy by then). Still, he is hopeful something can get done when a new regime is brought in.

“You know, [the Lions] believed in me,” Golladay said. … “If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. Then I go somewhere else and ball out and play. But like I said, I’m a loyal person and of course I want to be here. I started my career here.”

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Lions To Promote Mohamed Sanu

After two weeks on the Lions’ practice squad, Mohamed Sanu is set to return to game action. The Lions are promoting the veteran wide receiver, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

Sanu played in three games for the injury-depleted 49ers this season but did not make much of an impact. He may have another chance to play a key role Sunday, with the Lions down both Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola. This will be Golladay’s third straight absence.

Prior to the Patriots sending a second-round pick to the Falcons for Sanu, he had enjoyed a solid run of production in Cincinnati and Atlanta. Sanu fared well as a Julio Jones supporting-caster, but after the Falcons drafted Calvin Ridley, they moved on from their previous WR2. Sanu did not fare as well in New England and wound up a cap casualty this offseason.

The 31-year-old receiver will interestingly reunite with Marvin Jones, with the former Bengal teammates now doubling as by far Matthew Stafford‘s most accomplished wideouts. Jones and Sanu played together from 2012-15, but A.J. Green‘s sidekicks parted ways in the ’16 offseason when Jones signed with Detroit and Sanu landed in Atlanta.

The Lions also promoted defensive lineman Frank Herron from their practice squad.

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Lions Place Trey Flowers On IR

The Lions lost to the Colts on Sunday, and they picked up a couple of significant injuries while doing so. Defensive end Trey Flowers is going on injured reserve and as such will miss at least the next three games, the team announced Monday.

Meanwhile star receiver Kenny Golladay picked up a hip injury that will sideline him this week and have him week to week moving forward, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Rapoport noted in a follow-up tweet that IR is a possibility for him as well. The team views Flowers’ stint as a short-term one, Tim Twentyman of the team’s official site tweets.

It sounds like he’ll be back before too long, but it’s still a big blow. Signed to a five-year, $90MM pact last March, Flowers is the anchor of Detroit’s already underwhelming pass-rush. The former Patriot has two sacks and two forced fumbles through seven games this year. Fortunately the team just traded for Everson Griffen, and now they’ll really need him.

Golladay of course is the team’s top receiver, and this is a big setback for the offense. Golladay missed the first couple of games of the season with a hamstring issue, but had at least 105 yards in back to back games before going down against the Colts. Hopefully both will be back on the field as soon as possible.

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NFC North Rumors: Robinson, Packers, Golladay

The Bears and WR Allen Robinson have resumed extension talks after a tumultuous week, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that Chicago rebuffed trade inquiries on its star receiver while increasing the contract offer it had on the table. However, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says negotiations are not likely to last deep into the season.

Per La Canfora, Robinson and the Bears still don’t see eye-to-eye on Robinson’s value, and Robinson may be content to head into the 2021 offseason as arguably the best WR available in free agency. But La Canfora says Robinson will not hit the open market. If the two sides don’t come to terms on a new deal, look for the Bears to slap the 27-year-old with the franchise tag. Obviously, both parties would prefer to avoid that outcome, but it sounds like there is still a wide gap that needs to be bridged in short order.

Now for more from the NFC North:

  • Before the season started, we heard that the Packers and RB Aaron Jones were working on a new deal. Although games are now underway, it sounds as if an extension could still get done. Jones, who is currently earning $2.133MM in the final year of his rookie contract, has seen plenty of other backs get new deals over the past several weeks and hopes he will get his big payday soon. “I’m definitely open to getting something done whenever,” Jones said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. “But like I said, that’s not my main focus. Just gonna continue to focus on football and helping this team bring in the wins, as many as possible.”
  • Another key member of the Packers who is set for free agency in 2021 is LT David Bakhtiari. As was the case with Jones, Green Bay was hoping to finalize an extension for Bakhtiari before the season, but it sounds as if the two sides are far apart in negotiations. Demovsky says the All-Pro lineman is looking to match or exceed Laremy Tunsil‘s $22MM AAV, while the Packers’ best offer to date is about $4MM per year less than Bakhtiari’s asking price.
  • Lions WR Kenny Golladay will make his 2020 debut soon. Although the star receiver will miss Detroit’s Week 2 matchup with the Packers this afternoon, head coach Matt Patricia said Golladay is “really close” to a return (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network). A few weeks ago, the Lions and Golladay were said to be nearing an agreement on what will surely be a massive extension, though there were conflicting reports on that front.
  • ICYMI, the Bears and RB Tarik Cohen have come to terms on a three-year extension.

WR Notes: Godwin, Lions, Broncos, Bateman

A bevy of wide receiver news has surfaced Friday, with several key weapons either out or likely to be shelved for Week 2. Here is the latest from the wideout ranks:

  • The Buccaneers have given Chris Godwin a doubtful designation. The contract-year wide receiver displayed concussion-like symptoms Wednesday, after absorbing a late-game hit in last week’s loss to the Saints, and remains in Tampa Bay’s protocol. Godwin has missed just two career games.
  • For a second straight week, the Lions will be without Kenny Golladay. Joining Godwin as a contract-year standout on the verge of a big payday, Golladay will miss another game because of a hamstring malady.
  • The Broncos will have their first- and second-round picks together in game action this week, with K.J. Hamler set to join Jerry Jeudy. Vic Fangio said Hamler will play. The second-rounder sustained a hamstring injury during training camp. Denver may have to wait for any Jeudy-Hamler-Courtland Sutton formations, however, with the Broncos’ No. 1 target remaining questionable with a sprained AC joint.
  • During Week 1, DeVante Parker aggravated a hamstring issue he initially encountered during training camp. The Dolphins‘ No. 1 target is questionable to play Sunday.
  • The Texans worked out Devin Smith this week, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle notes. The Cowboys cut Smith, a former Jets second-round pick, as they trimmed their roster to 53 players. Now 28, Smith has just 15 career receptions since being a coveted prospect in 2015.
  • An interesting situation has emerged at the University of Minnesota, one of several Big Ten teams who saw an impact talent opt out and declare for the 2021 draft. First-round wide receiver prospect Rashod Bateman opted out this summer, but the high-end target is angling to return now. Bateman is back on campus but has signed with an agent, per Yahoo’s Pete Thamel (on Twitter). Due to the unusual circumstances the COVID-19 pandemic has created — particularly in the Big Ten, which announced an October restart this week — the Golden Gophers are attempting to secure a waiver from the NCAA to allow Bateman to play.