The Detroit Lions were quiet on the first day of free agency. Frankly, this was a good thing. The first day of free agency is when teams rush to sign players and their deals end up bloated. Then, the market bottoms out, and good players get signed to great deals. Especially if you can find a guy who wants a one year prove it deal. The Lions were content to extend Joique Bell, which I like, because I love Joique Bell. However, they had other needs to attend to, and they've now attended to one of them.
We know the Lions' needs. Wide receiver and secondary. Well, the secondary still needs to be dealt with. Also, wide receiver still need to be dealt with, because the Lions need more than one this offseason. They did get one though, as they've signed Golden Tate away from Seattle. The deal is, reportedly, for five years and $31 million, with $13.25 million guaranteed.
It's that last number that is most relevant, of course, as we've all learned about NFL deals. I'm... OK with this. Tate was the second best receiver on the market. Eric Decker is going to get overpaid. I feel confident of that. The Lions steered clear of him. Five years at a little over six million bucks a year feels, potentially, a bit too expensive, but not terribly. Plus, the new wide receiver market hasn't been set yet. We'll see how this deal looks when free agency ends.
Early on in his career, Tate didn't do much except get in trouble for breaking into some sort of doughnut shop to steal some maple bars. However, he's come into his own. Last season, he had 64 catches for 898 yards and five touchdowns, and he had seven touchdowns the season prior. Those would be good numbers for a secondary receiver next to Calvin Johnson. He also has the speed and big play ability to work out of the slot. Plus, encouragingly, Tate had the highest yards after the catch per reception at 7.8. That intrigues me. Also, he's only 25. He's in his prime. If last season proves legit, this deal will be fine. Not a steal, but fine.
I hope this will encourage the Lions to avoid drafting a wide receiver in the first round this year, unless they trade down. If they can grab Justin Gilbert in the first round, and then take a couple receivers in the next few rounds, I feel like that would work really well. Of course, there are a lot of changes in the coaching staff, and now ownership, to add to these roster changes. The Lions are a question mark heading into the 2014 season, but there is reason to feel somewhat encouraged by this Tate signing.