Detroit Lions: Kenny Golladay’s contract extension next on the docket

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

After securing their starting left-tackle Taylor Decker, the Detroit Lions will undoubtedly shift their focus to extending star receiver Kenny Golladay next.

One large piece of the puzzle fell into place recently for the Detroit Lions on the offensive side of the football.  The organization extended Taylor Decker, rewarding the man who protects Matthew Stafford‘s blind side with a lucrative six-year deal worth $85-million.

It’s crucial to secure a reliable left tackle, especially with Stafford’s recent injury history.  It’s also critical to have a reliable tackle giving Stafford the time required to hold that football an extra beat and throw it downfield to an emerging superstar in Kenny Golladay.

The former third-round pick is entering the final year of his contract, and after leading the league with 11 touchdown receptions last season, he’s due to break-the-bank with his next contract.

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Think about this for a second, Golladay led the NFL in touchdown receptions during the 2019 season.  Not Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, Michael Thomas, but Golladay.  It still feels surreal knowing that Stafford only made eight starts leaving his signal-callers to be Jeff Driskel and David Blough.

The Detroit Lions will have options now that Decker’s new deal is completed.  If the organization feels the need to see one more season of Golladay being the featured pass-catcher before shelling out anywhere between $17-20 million per season annually, they can always use the franchise tag next season.

The franchise tag isn’t an ideal route as it can fracture relationships between players and organizations.  Players seek the insurance of a long-term deal, organizations that use the tag are either at a negotiation stalemate or usually have long-term injury concerns.  The two tag disputes that come to my mind are both former Michigan State Spartan alumni.  Le’Veon Bell and Kirk Cousins both had some form of franchise tag dispute.

Bell was looking for a long-term deal from the Steelers, and after failing to receive it, he sat out a season before landing in New York with the Jets.  Cousins simply continued to be tagged by Washington over and over, raising his single-season salary until it was atop the league before he’d eventually sign a substantial long-term deal with the Vikings.

The hope is Golladay’s representatives, and the Lions can get a deal done and avoid any chance of a franchise tag dispute.

Each of the top three receivers on the Detroit Lions is heading into the final year of their contract.  With Golladay eventually receiving a large-cap number, both Danny Amendola and Marvin Jones may be looking for work elsewhere in 2021.  Retirement may also become an option for Amendola.

Golladay is on the cusp of being a top-five NFL receiver.  He appears to be more dependable than Amari Cooper, who just received a deal from the Cowboys that averages $20 million per season.  He doesn’t seem to be disgruntled or dramatic, nor does Golladay show a lack of focus like Beckham does at times.  Beckham averages $18 million per year.  Mike Evans averages $16.5 million per season through the 2023 season.  Evans has eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving mark in each of his six NFL seasons.  He’s also recorded 48 receiving touchdowns in six seasons.

Last season Golladay amassed 1,190 receiving yards, making 65 receptions while recording 11 touchdowns.  Expect the teams’ top pass-catcher to elevate both the yardage and reception numbers in 2020.

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The NFL is a ‘next man up’ league when it comes to contracts, but paying Golladay north of $20-million per season will hamper the teams’ ability to sign reliable complimentary players down the road.  Let’s hope the two-side can come to a fair deal that everyone can benefit from moving forward.