Detroit Lions: Pay Kenny Golladay now, before the price rises

(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions are winners in three of their last four games, and wide receiver Kenny Golladay is a big reason why.

Kenny Golladay is a wide receiver that currently resides in the football wasteland of the Detroit Lions. He’s been one of the few bright spots for a Lions team that has been struggling to be mediocre over the past few years and is seemingly due for a contract extension along with a pay raise.

Right now, he’s quietly becoming one of the best receivers in the NFL. His ability to consistently produce has helped propel the Lions to a .500-record through Week 7, and his efforts include an amazing, acrobat-like catch last Sunday during a last-second win against the Atlanta Falcons.

Proud of his four catch, 105-yard performance one week prior during a victory over the traditionally-downtrodden Jacksonville Jaguars that included a 48-yard deep-ball and a drawn pass-interference call in the endzone, Golladay took to Instagram to proclaim, “That (expletive) gone cost you.”

More from Detroit Lions

The 26-year old isn’t lying and is completely in touch with reality. With each passing week, his market value continues to increase.

The longer the Lions wait to reward Golladay with an extension, the higher the price tag will become.

Even Lions legendary running back Barry Sanders agrees.

The Pro Football Hall-of-Famer recently offered his take on the former third-rounder during a Pepsi commercial shoot featuring the two:

"“The guy, he’s a playmaker,” said Sanders, who had spent little time with Golladay before their commercial shoot. “He just goes about his business and he’s always showing up at big moments. So you love seeing that. Obviously, we love having him here. We definitely know about him around here and I think more and more people every week will learn. So this is fun to watch.”  – Barry Sanders via Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press"

Without Golladay, the Lions opened the season with two-straight losses. Following his return from a minor, early-season hamstring injury, the Detroit squad has since gone 3-1.

As a result, head coach Matt Patricia’s once red-hot seat has cooled a little bit, and fans are beginning to once again mix pitchers of Honolulu-blue Kool-Aid in advance of Sunday’s contest against the Indianapolis Colts.

Surely, everyone who suffers by way of fandom in the Motor City will be willing to pour at least one glass before kickoff before possibly being forced to self-medicate with an adult beverage once the game starts.

Take a second to look at the production of Kenny Golladay for the Detroit Lions.

According to Pro Football Focus, Golladay has earned a 70.0-plus grade in every game he’s started this season and is currently ranked sixth among all receivers in 2020 with an 85.7-grade overall.

To put that into perspective, Detroit has climbed the NFL’s passing-attack ranks in recent weeks, largely because of the receiver’s ability to stretch the field and come away with contested catches.

Last week, he recorded the most contested catches in an NFL game since 2016. Of those six catches, four went for 10-plus yards, with five being good enough to move the chains (first downs).

Last season, he tied for the league lead in touchdown receptions. Throughout his career, Golladay has averaged 16.8-yards per reception and found the endzone 21 times in just over three seasons. He’s quietly been the Lions best playmaker since Calvin “Megatron” Johnson retired in 2016.

"“He reminds me a lot of myself as a young player,” Sanders said. “I mean, I wasn’t about talking about the game and talking about what I was going to do; just about what are you doing every day to try to get to that next level and maybe you’ll end up being one of the great players. So I like it.” – Barry Sanders via Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press"

Golladay is a big-play machine. In the professional ranks, players of that sort often intend on securing the bag. Agents drive up costs and search for either fair market value, or worse, intend to reset the market.

The Lions are doing themselves a disservice because their star wide receiver’s profile is continuing to rise both on-and-off the field. At the moment, Golladay seems to want to continue on the success he has built during his stint with the Lions.

However, free agency looms, and the longer Detroit waits, the more enticing the prospects of testing the market will become for him. He could command top-dollar from a team in a major media market.

According to Spotrac, his closest statistical comparison is Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper. The contract he was recently awarded totaled a value of over $100,000,000 throughout the next five seasons. That’s a lot of zeros. To be exact, Cooper will average $20M per year by the end of the term.

Golladay is right on par with other receivers like Cooper, New Orleans’ Michael Thomas, Cleveland’s Odell Beckham Jr., and Los Angeles’ Brandin Cooks at similar career-crossroads. When Spotrac calculates and predicts his future market value, the Lions receiver could garner a four-year deal somewhere in the ballpark of $18.9M per season.

light. Trending. Everson Griffen excited to join the Detroit Lions; will bolster defensive front

So what are the Lions waiting for? That’s a figure that has the potential to climb, and the league’s salary-cap figure for 2021 has the potential to decrease due to the effects of COVID-19 revenue losses. GM Bob Quinn and Detroit owner Sheila Ford-Hamp need to get a deal done now. Period.