The Detroit Lions are exploring what to do with Darius Slay in the coming weeks, and while the team brass maintains anything is possible, that’s not exactly how one analyst sees it.
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press listened to what the Lions had to say during the NFL Combine and came to the conclusion that the team will be moving on from Slay eventually via trade. As he said, the team has been trying to move Slay, but the biggest obstacle thus far has been price.
Here’s a look at what Birkett wrote about what he thinks will play out with the Lions’ top cornerback:
“You don’t openly talk about trading your three-time Pro Bowl cornerback unless a divorce is inevitable.
So while Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia downplayed their desire to deal Darius Slay on Tuesday — “This is not an active trying-to-trade situation,” Patricia insisted — the only solution now is for the Lions to take the highest offer.
“What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to explore a trade,” Quinn told beat reporters in a discussion at the NFL combine. “That’s not saying we are definitely trading him. We’ve had some conversations with other teams. There’s nothing to report right now. I think we’re very much in the information-gathering phase of this and those conversations from here on out will be private between us, the teams and the representatives for Darius, and Darius himself. That’s kind of where it’s at.”
Truth is, the Lions have been shopping Slay since October’s trade deadline, but have yet to find a taker for their asking price.”
During the NFL Combine, Bob Quinn did meet with reporters and provide his take on where things stand. He said everything is on the table, including keeping Slay and working an extension.
In spite of that, Birkett’s take seems to be spot on. If the Lions weren’t trying to trade Slay, none of this would have surfaced in the first place, and the team wouldn’t be admitting talks were taking place.
As he says, it seems to be a matter of when and not if the move happens, and what the return turns out to be for Detroit.
Darius Slay Rumored Talking Contract With Lions
The cornerback was rumored to be on the move prior to the trade deadline, but a deal never panned out then. Slay has been open to the idea of staying, and that could be just what the Lions are currently also working on at this point in time.
According to a recent report by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Lions have been working with Slay to try and get an extension done. Nothing has happened yet, and the parties have been trying to hash out a deal for a while.
As Fowler explains, the Lions could choose to deal Slay in the event that they do not get a deal done. In other words, stay focused on this case in the coming weeks and months.
Lions general manager Bob Quinn has said he has spoken with Slay’s representation recently, but he was prepared to keep the details of those meetings quiet.
Slay himself has previously maintained he wants to stay in Detroit, but will be willing to roll with the punches no matter what happens. Clearly, things could go either way.
Lions Dangers Trading Darius Slay
If Quinn is motivated to keep Slay around, it could be for good reason. 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.
That’s a problem the cornerback isn’t likely to have himself.