The Detroit Lions might have to get creative to fill some of their needs this offseason given some of the realities of the salary cap, and an old friend could quietly be a solid way for the team to get this done in a big way eventually.
With all the defensive needs the Lions have, the team is still going to need to find a way to add a few offensive weapons, especially at the wide receiver spot where there figures to be plenty of change. Adding a big-ticket item around potential franchise tag candidate Kenny Golladay might not be feasible, so the team is going to have to look for smart buys on the market in order to fill the void in a cost effective way.
Interestingly enough, one player who could soon be available is former Detroit wideout Golden Tate. Tate was dealt away a few years back by former general manager Bob Quinn, but hasn’t looked comfortable since joining either the Philadelphia Eagles or New York Giants. In fact, there are rumors that Tate could be released just a few seasons after signing a massive free agency deal in New York.
Recently, CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin explored why Tate could make sense as a release candidate in the coming days for the Giants:
“His days as a play-making starter are probably over, but as a No. 3/spot starter, you can do a whole lot worse. His departure from the Big Apple, meanwhile, seems like a foregone conclusion after a bumpy first year under new coach Joe Judge.”
If it’s true that Tate’s days as a playmaking starter are finished and a release is indeed a foregone conclusion, would a return to Detroit make sense? The Lions figure to be in the market for a wideout fairly early this season, and Tate could shepherd one of Detroit’s young draft picks much like he did for Golladay a few years back.
As a low-cost option, the Lions could probably do plenty worse than finding a reunion with Tate.
Golden Tate Stats With Lions
At 32, Tate is probably living on borrowed time as a high-level NFL player, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still be a quality piece for a roster. In Detroit, Tate already proved how good he can be. With the Lions, the wideout put up a solid 4,741 yards, 22 touchdowns and 441 receptions. He cracked the 2014 Pro Bowl for his work with the Lions, and was a solid player with the Seattle Seahawks before that. The last two seasons in New York, Tate’s numbers have fallen off considerably given his 8 touchdowns and 1,064 receiving yards, but there is little question what he brings to the mix as a stable, veteran presence for a team and a locker room.
When leaving Detroit, Tate appeared to be a bit saddened given his connection to the city and players. It certainly doesn’t hurt that he put up his best numbers with the team as well.
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Why Golden Tate Returning Could Make Sense
The Lions are looking for cheap help on the wideout market this offseason, and Tate knows the lay of the land in the Motor City, having starred with the team from 2014-2018 while enjoying some of his best seasons in the prime of his career. Likely to be willing to take a low-cost deal at this point in his career, Tate could prefer a place like Detroit, where he’s been comfortable and played well in order to perhaps finish out his career. Unlike others who have never tasted success, Tate already has a ring, so he might not be chasing that at this stage of his career, but rather looking to feel comfortable again.
Getting Tate with Jared Goff and a new-look offense which could be predicated on speed, play action and rollouts could be an ideal fit for both the Lions and for the player at this point should a release happen.