Darius Slay might be on the trading block, but the Detroit Lions would likely have to be blown away in order to make a deal ahead of Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline.
According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Lions aren’t likely to trade Slay, because they have a very high price tag on the cornerback that isn’t likely to be met.
Here’s what Garafolo said in his update:
“I know there was some mention yesterday that the Philadelphia Eagles were potentially in play for Slay. The asking price for Slay, I am told, remains incredibly high. If Howie Roseman didn’t pay big for Jalen Ramsey and he didn’t make a sizable offer just not big enough to complete the trade, I just don’t see him going to those levels to complete the trade. I am going to say that Slay remains a Detroit Lion beyond today.”
Ramsey recently was traded for two first round picks and a fourth round pick, and if the Lions asking price is indeed huge, one would have to assume it’s similar to that, either in terms of multiple early picks, or early picks and an elite young player.
The Eagles were said to be interested in the deal and making a pitch.
Big Play Talent
It makes sense the Lions would have a high price tag on their cornerback thanks to all he can do. Slay has been elite since being a second round draft pick of the Lions back in 2013, and has developed into one of the elite shut down corners in the entire league. He’s also a star for the Lions in the community, and arguably, is one of the top faces of the franchise at this point in time.
This past offseason, Slay missed the OTA period for Detroit amid wanting a new contract. While the Lions haven’t worked anything out with him, they also haven’t closed the door on making his re-signing a priority in the future, meaning a trade is possible if the team wants to move on. Slay also had a strong reaction to the team dealing Quandre Diggs for a draft pick last week.
Such a move would likely confuse fans, as unlikely as it may seem in the moment.
Even if the Lions hold on to Slay at the 2019 deadline, the team could be aggressive with their cornerback this offseason on the open market. According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, while Slay might not be traded right now, a deal could be struck next offseason to move the cornerback to a new location who might be more apt to give him a new contract.
Here’s what Birkett wrote:
“I’d be surprised if the Lions dealt Slay, their best cornerback – even if he hasn’t played at a Pro Bowl level this year – before Tuesday’s deadline. The more likely scenario is that the Lions send Slay to a team willing to give him a new contract at some point before next year’s draft.”
The contract seems to be the big sticking point with Slay. Are the Lions prepared to shell out the cash to Slay for the long term? He is 28 years old, and is theoretically in his prime. Cornerbacks, however, can have a short shelf life, especially if they get dinged up. This season, Slay has suffered a bulky hamstring, which was injured ironically enough in a game against the Eagles in September.
All that aside, he’s an elite talent and a fan favorite in Detroit, and the Lions might still have a shot at the playoffs, which is likely the biggest reasons that Slay will not be moving on right now.