Two critical components of the much anticipated Detroit Lions defense are expected to be absent to open the teams’ mandatory minicamp later today.
Detroit Lions star cornerback Darius Slay mentioned via social media on Instagram Live he wasn’t going to attend the teams’ minicamp. A friend he was chatting with reminded the pro bowl corner that he wouldn’t get paid, Slay said: “tell me about it.” Although Slay wouldn’t get paid, he actually loses money by not attending.
According to an article written by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press; Slay has already forfeited $250,000 for missing the Organized Team Activities that are generally billed as voluntary workouts, so my question is how “voluntary” are they? They use that term very loosely. I understand players that are part of the team are expected to show up to any of the team practices, functions, etc. Slay has two years remaining on his four-year extension from 2016. He makes a base salary of $12-million dollars.
I think some of the veteran players should be grandfathered out until minicamp opens. It’s just an opinion and drawing the line would become difficult, but these optional functions should be actually optional. Most quarterbacks are expected to be in attendance to get into a rhythm, also for as much credit or in many cases, the criticism they receive in today’s’ game (mostly related to the crazy salaries) it’s in their best interest to show up.
Damon Harrison, who shares the same agent as Slay is also expected to sit out minicamp, as he also elected to skip OTA’s. Snacks Harrison also lost $250,000 in fines from OTA’s, and the pair will lose just over $88,000 each by missing this weeks minicamp.
Both players are lobbying for a new deal; it should come as no surprise as the same agent represents both players. In the beautiful article written by Birkett, both head coach Matt Patricia along with Darius Slay weigh in on the situation;
"“Back in the day I’ve had other great players, really great ones, on my defenses before that just whatever the situation was to them, whether they have offseason routines that are agreed or talked about or kind of just gone through so everybody’s on the same page with all that stuff,” Patricia said. “For us it’s just focusing on the guys that are on the field.”Slay, in his Instagram Live chat Monday, indicated he plans to play for the Lions this fall and said he’ll try and sign as many jerseys as possible when he walks out of the tunnel for pre-game warmups this year.“I love my fans, I love Detroit,” Slay said at one point, adding, “I’m telling y’all, Detroit got the best fans in the world, man. Y’all got some crazy ones now, but y’all are the best ones now. Y’all are the best fans in the world.”"
In my opinion, it’s in the Detroit Lions best interest to get both of these guys signed for the long haul, if not this summer for sure by next summer. In my mind, they are the two most valuable players on the Detroit Lions defense. The team added free agent star Trey Flowers, and suddenly the Lions are poised to surprise the league this season competing for the NFC North title when many have already counted them out.
I wouldn’t expect either player to hold out this entire summer, but there is no telling what may happen in a year from now. Look on the bright side, with these guys resting their bodies, besides their regular workouts to stay in NFL shape that is; they likely are not risking a severe injury. It’s so odd, but every year a big-time players’ season is lost to a torn knee or a blown achilles tendon this time of year often suffered during practice in a non-contact drill.