Lions Wide Receiver Golden Tate Is Up Next On Detroit’s List Of Major Contracts.
Golden Tate is set to play out the last year of his current contract for the Lions in 2018. What happens past that is anyone’s guess. The dynamic receiver is a fan favorite and has pulled more than his own weight on the field, but it might be time for the Lions to bid farewell.
One thing Golden Tate has working against him in this negotiation is his age. He’ll be 30 when the season starts. There are 17 active receivers in the NFL at the age of 30 or older. Of those 17, 15 are in contracts that end by 2020. A long-term deal is almost surely off the table. Only seven of those players are averaging more than Golden Tate is getting in his current contract ($6.2M).
This may seem obvious, but Tate is going to want more money, not less. So we’re talking about an aging player who is set to hit a decent payday considering what his production has been since joining the Lions. Now, 30 isn’t the huge wall for receivers the way it is for running backs. Plenty of guys have played into their mid to late thirties and done just fine.
Unfortunately, I don’t think Tate has the makeup of one of those players. The first noticeable problem is his size. Taking a look at the older players in the league that are finding success and I see a pattern or two. The most notable names on this list are big receivers. Larry Fitzgerald, Jordy Nelson, Demaryius Thomas. As these players have aged they’ve managed to be able to fall back on being big targets. Golden Tate won’t have that luxury.
Instead, Tate’s entire game is built on his quickness and agility. He’s great at what he does, he really is. The problem here is that quickness will be the first thing to go. When his quickness fades even by a little bit, that will change the entire ballgame for a player like Tate. At that point, what exactly is he offering to the offense? He was never “fast” to begin with. A small receiver with no wiggle doesn’t strike me as the best weapon.
If the Lions were able to secure Tate at his current amount that’d be great for another year or two but that’s a pipe dream. Fact is, the market has changed quite a bit since his contract was signed. Keep in mind, he plays in the slot now (his natural position) with fellow receivers Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones manning the outside spots. Here is where the market for slot receivers is currently sitting:
Jarvis Landry $15M … Doug Baldwin $11M … Keenan Allen $11M
That’s based on an average per year. Golden Tate has comparable numbers to these guys over the last few years. There’s no reason to believe he won’t have a suitor willing to pay him the market value. General manager Bob Quinn would have to spice up that cap number next to Tate’s name big time to keep him around. That’s where the concern comes. I believe Tate could get it done for another year or maybe two after 2018. But, at 11+ million per year, I’d prefer to look elsewhere.
I genuinely love the player Tate has been for the Lions. I just don’t see that trend continuing in the not-so-distant future. The combination of age and money is too much for my liking. In a perfect world, Golden Tate makes the selfless move and takes a team friendly deal for a year or two. But, being close to the end, it stands to reason that he will seek out what is best for him and his family. And I can’t hold that against anyone that does. Every story has to have a final chapter. That should be 2018 with Golden Tate and the Lions.
If you think otherwise, check out Brandon’s article here.