As the opening of training camp draws near, the pressure is starting to mount between the Detroit Lions and Matthew Stafford to get a long-term extension done. There are still no strict deadlines to meet and there is no reason to pessimistic about the chances an agreement is made, but now teammates are starting to speak their mind on the situation.
Golden Tate joined “NFL Total Access” on Wednesday and threw his full support behind Stafford. “I think you have to lock him up ASAP,” Tate said. “Don’t even leave a chance that he’s going to hit the free agency market.”
Tate and Stafford have been one of the most electrifying duos since Tate joined the Lions in 2014. In the past three seasons, Tate has had the sixth-most receptions of any receiver in the league, and he’s one of just one of four wideouts to have 90+ catches in each of those years:
Complete list of NFL players with 90-plus catches each of the past 3 years:— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) April 6, 2017
Odell Beckham Jr
But that’s not the only reason Tate thinks Stafford deserves his payday. “He is an excellent athlete, a great leader in the locker room, and with some help, the guy is one of the best in the league,” Tate said of his quarterback.
Tate didn’t shy away from his own contract during the television segment. Unlike Stafford, Tate is still signed all the way through the 2018 season, but he is already eyeing a pay raise. “I think I’ve proven myself year in and year out and I’m not done yet,” Tate said. “I think I’m valuable to the city of Detroit and the Lions, and hopefully in the future if i continue to ball out, we can work something out. Like I said, I want to be there, I love where we’re going and I get excited talking about it.”
This isn’t the first time Tate has talked about money this offseason. When receiver Julian Edelman received a modest two-year extension worth an additional $11 million dollars, Tate took to Twitter:
I hope I'm one of the next ones to get extended..... big plays can come in all shapes and forms huh? https://t.co/Rsw1jBRPWU— Golden Tate (@ShowtimeTate) June 9, 2017
But Tate will be 31 entering the 2019 season, and the Lions have several pending free agents to take care of before it’s his turn. The Lions have already reportedly entered negotiations with safety Glover Quin, and they’ll have a few tough decisions with player like Ezekiel Ansah, Tavon Wilson, Darren Fells and others.
The Lions could give Tate some peace of mind by locking up Stafford long term and sending out a signal to the rest of the team that they take care of their own, despite what others may think.