Darius Slay and Damon Harrison Sr.—two key players on the Detroit Lions defense—are absent from the first week of Organized Team Activities, head coach Matt Patricia confirmed on Tuesday morning before their second practice of the week.
Though the practices are still voluntary at this point in the offseason, this indicates that both players may be looking to get a new contract with the team, as Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett suggests:
This isn’t news for Harrison, who switched agents this offseason and has already approached Lions management about a long-term extension.
Slay, on the other hand, is a bit surprising. The Lions’ No. 1 corner still has two years on his four-year, $48.15 million deal signed in 2016. However, Slay has gone on social media and expressed his desire to get more player-friendly deals in the NFL, specifically with guaranteed money.
When they guarantee all our money than we might think about it..... https://t.co/jOGH3VaWt3— Darius Slay (@_bigplayslay23) April 23, 2019
At this point in the offseason, Patricia isn’t worried, and he made sure to stress that these practices were not mandatory.
“You will not see them at practice today, but we fully expect that at this time of the year, there are guys that are here and there are guys that are not,” Patricia said. “That’s totally fine, we’re working with the guys out there.”
Lions general manager Bob Quinn doesn’t tend to address offseason extensions until late in the summer, so don’t expect a quick resolution with either player if their true intention is to sign new contracts with the team. That being said, OTA holdouts are nothing new for the Lions, Patricia or the NFL. This is just how the league operates now, and Patricia isn’t worried about it.