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Tuesday open thread: Who is the Lions’ most underpaid player?

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Who are the Lions getting at an incredible discount?

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY Sports

In order to succeed in the NFL, a team must be able to build a roster full of talent. I know that’s a terribly obvious sentence that it shouldn’t have even been published.

However, in order to build a roster full of talent, some players have to be paid well under what they’re worth. Whether a team is taking advantage of a player still on their affordable rookie deal or if they nab a free agent prior to their breakout in the NFL, they are constantly vying for bargains to help keep their team under the salary cap while not conceding talent.

The Detroit Lions are no stranger to this, and have managed to get a few players on their roster for far less than what they’re actually worth. So today’s Question of the Day is:

Who is the Detroit Lions’ most underpaid player?

My answer: Golden Tate.

For the past four seasons, Tate has finished in the top 10 in receptions every single year. He’s also managed to rank in the top 15 in receiving yards in three of those four seasons.

Yet his contract currently ranks 34th in average salary among wide receivers at $6.2 million a season. The receivers alongside him are Allen Hurns (35th), Marquise Goodwin (32nd) and Corey Davis (33rd).

Even when you consider that this will be Tate’s final and most expensive year of his contract, his 2018 cap hit is entirely manageable. The Lions are taking on a $9.35 million hit this year for Tate, which ranks at 18th just between Donte Moncrief and Pierre Garcon. Tate’s recent production blows those two out of the water.

Tate has been the centerpiece of the Lions’ offense ever since Calvin Johnson retired, and the Lions did incredibly well getting him at a decent price. The problem is that won’t likely continue beyond this season.

Earlier in the week, I crowned the Lions’ receiving corps as the best in the NFC North. However, that may not last very long. Tate is likely going to command more money in the future, and the Lions may not be able to afford him much longer. Though Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. will be on their affordable contracts for two more years after the upcoming season, the Lions may not have it in their budget to keep a third high-profile receiver.

Your turn.