Toward the end of last week, the Cleveland Browns came to an agreement with wide receiver Jarvis Landry that will pay the star wide receiver $75.5 million over the next five years.
That has led to an important conversation among Lions fans about the future of Golden Tate. The veteran pass catcher took note of Landry’s contract, and knows it could impact his own future, as Tate only has one more year remaining on his contract:
Tate will be coming off one of the biggest bargain deals among all wide receivers in the NFL. The Lions inked Tate to a five-year, $31 million deal in 2014, and since then, he has rewarded the team by ranking sixth in the NFL in receptions (372), ninth in receiving yards (4224) and eighth in catch percentage (70.6%).
So now the Lions are going to be faced with a very difficult situation. Give the soon-to-be 30 year old a significant pay raise, or move on from one of the biggest pieces of the offense over the past four season.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
What is the most the Lions should consider paying Golden Tate?
My answer: First off, let’s get this straight: If Tate is commanding a top-10 salary in the NFL (~$14 million/year)—which he very well could be asking for—the Lions have to move on. It’s not ideal, and it shouldn’t be personal, but the Lions just can’t be spending that much on Tate when Marvin Jones Jr. is playing as well as he is and Kenny Golladay is waiting to break out. It would take a significant adjustment for the Lions’ offense to thrive without Tate, but good teams adjust to losing expensive players, and the Lions’ needs elsewhere are just too pressing.
That being said, the Lions should try to keep him if they can. Though I think he’d be unlikely to accept the terms, I wouldn’t go much further than a two or three year deal at $10-11 million a year. Obviously, it would depend on how it’s framed with guaranteed money, but I could certainly accept a three-year, $32 million deal for Tate. That’s still a significant raise from his previous contract ($6.2 million/year average), but I get the feeling he may be asking for significantly more.