The Detroit Lions are currently taking calls once again on cornerback Darius Slay and deciding whether or not to move the cornerback when all is said and done this offseason.
That decision, though, isn’t one that the team can afford to take lightly. Subtracting Slay from the mix would seemingly hamper the Lions’ chances to have an elite season in 2020 given the cornerback’s importance to the team as a whole. If Slay does go, decisions will have to be made.
Analyst Chris Burke of The Athletic explained after new Slay rumors surfaced that the Lions have a big decision to make in terms of whether to deal the top corner. If they do, the team will have to answer the question of “what’s next,” and there are few easy answers to that query. In fact, as Burke says, the move could help the Lions open another gaping hole on their roster prior to the 2020 offseason.
If the Lions do decide on a Slay trade, it’s likely the team will have to make some sort of a signing in free agency, either a Chris Harris, Byron Jones or some other large name. They might also have to look strongly in Jeffrey Okudah’s direction during the NFL Draft. A combination of these moves could
Slay, however, offers the team some security in terms of everyone knowing what to expect from the player at his position. Heading into a bumpy offseason, that fact should offer some comfort to the team and their staff.
If Slay gets traded, the Lions will have a major challenge as it relates to how to react.
Deion Sanders Wants Darius Slay With Lions
Speaking at the Super Bowl with MLive.com’s Kyle Meinke, Deion Sanders admitted that the Lions need to step up with Slay and get a deal done to pay the man for being one of the best cornerbacks in the league.
Here’s a look at what he said:
“So perhaps it should come as little surprise that Prime thinks the Lions should extend Darius Slay, a gifted, three-time Pro Bowl cornerback who has also rankled this regime with his personality.
“Yeah, he is (worth the extension),” Sanders told MLive last week at the Super Bowl. “He’s one of the best in the game, right? He’s a Pro Bowler, right? I think they should.”
Sanders thinks splitting with Slay would be a mistake for a team that needs more defensive playmakers, not fewer, and Detroit should be building around him, not replacing him. Slay is hoping that happens too, already reaching out to prized Ohio State cornerback prospect Jeff Okudah.
“(Slay’s) good, man,” Sanders said. “One of the best in the game. I hope they can get another guy out there who can oppose him on the other side.”
Finding help for Slay if the team is able to agree to a new deal would be huge as well. From Jeffrey Okudah to Chris Harris, some names have already been rumored to be in the mix to help the Lions out.
A key component is figuring out what to do with Slay first and foremost, and as Sanders rightly presumes, the Lions should work hard to keep him in the mix. If they don’t, they will have a gaping hole to close up in short order.
Darius Slay Stats
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 a few months ago.
There’s simply no doubting the importance of him to the team in both the short and the long term. For that reason, keeping Slay around could be considered a slam dunk move.
If he gets traded, the team will have their work cut out for them.