Unloading Their Most Consistent Player Of The Last Four Years Makes Sense For The Detroit Lions
In the 2014 offseason, Golden Tate left the Superbowl champion Seattle Seahawks to sign with the Detroit Lions. He quickly outperformed his five-year $31 million contract, posting at least 90 receptions over the next four seasons, and over 1000 yards in three of them. Since signing with the Lions, Tate has been widely considered to be the best receiver after the catch in the entire NFL.
This takes us to today, where Tate is 30 years old and set to play out the last year of his contract with Detroit. There has been no talk of a contract extension, and with the wide receiver market exploding it looks more unlikely every day that Tate will be re-signed.
Meanwhile, Detroit has found themselves in a situation where they have an overabundance of pass catchers. Marvin Jones, Kenny Golladay, and TJ Jones are all good options at the wide receiver position, while Theo Riddick, Ameer Abdullah, and Kerryon Johnson can contribute out of the backfield. Tight ends Luke Willson, Michael Roberts, and Hakeem Valles are all unproven but have high upside.
So, I believe that losing Golden Tate really wouldn’t be as big a blow to the Lions offense as many would think. And it would be a lot better to take that blow now and get something in return than see him walk with no return next offseason.
Possible Trade Partners For The Detroit Lions
With a season-ending injury to Marqise Lee, the Jags are in dire need of receiving help. They happen to have one of the most talented and deep defensive lines in the NFL, which is the Lions biggest position of need.
There are three players on the Jacksonville roster I would trade for Golden Tate: Dante Fowler, Malik Jackson and Marcel Dareus.
Jacksonville is likely to lose all three next offseason, as Dante Fowler is a free agent and Jackson and Dareus have contracts that the Jaguars simply can not afford. Each team would be trading losing a player they’re going to lose next offseason anyway, and gaining something that helps a lot this year.
In my opinion, if Detroit could get any one of these three players for Golden Tate, it would be a no-brainer for Bob Quinn to make the trade.
New England Patriots
The Patriots have less to offer in return in the form of players but are nearly as desperate at wide receiver than Jacksonville. Their top receiver, Julian Edelman, is coming off of an ACL tear and is suspended for the first four games of the season.
Likely player targets in return for Tate include defensive tackles Malcom Brown and Danny Shelton or defensive end Trey Flowers.
Ideally, Detroit would trade Tate for one of these players (preferably Trey Flowers) and a mid-round draft pick.
After cutting Dez Bryant early in the offseason, the Cowboys have no clear-cut first receiving option. Tate could step into the Dallas locker room and immediately become that.
The Cowboys have a few intriguing options they may be willing to give up for Tate.
Defensive Tackle David Irving has at times been dominant at rushing opposing passers but is suspended for the first four games of the season. He is a young player that may benefit from a change of scenery.
Tyrone Crawford is a veteran defensive lineman capable of playing end or tackle. Though he’s far from a star player, he’s been reliable and if he was packaged with a draft pick could be good compensation for Tate.
The Cowboys drafted rookie linebacker Leighton Vander-Esch in the first round of this year’s draft, which could potentially make linebacker Sean Lee expendable. Lee has struggled mightily with health issues throughout his career but is one of the best defensive players in the NFL when healthy. If Dallas would be open to a Lee for Tate trade, Detroit would really need to consider it.
The Bills are probably the team that most needs Tate on this list, while simultaneously having the least to give for him.
Buffalo has a few intriguing players that I might like to see on the Lions, such as tight end Charles Clay, defensive end Jerry Hughes, or linebacker Matt Milano. However, none come even close to being worth a straight up trade for Tate.
The only way I could see trading Golden Tate to the Bills is for at least a third-round draft pick and possibly one of the listed defensive players.
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