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Report: Detroit Lions discussing long-term deal with Darius Slay, but trade still possible

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The Lions and Slay are talking, but it’s not looking great per an ESPN report.

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We’re only a month away from the start of free agency, but it appears the Detroit Lions are working on a deal that could keep star cornerback Darius Slay on the team for years to come.

According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Lions and Slay “continue to discuss a long-term contract.” But before you get all excited about Slay sticking around for the next few years, Fowler also suggests that things are trending towards the Pro Bowl cornerback being placed back on the trade block.

“But the expectation exists that he could re-enter the trade market if no deal is reached in coming weeks, per source,” Fowler tweeted. “Both sides have been at this for a while, still no deal for 2021 (free agency).”

Slay first sought a new deal at the beginning of the 2019 season. He skipped out on mandatory minicamp but ended up reporting to training camp after no deal was made between teams.

The Lions cornerback has expressed his frustrations with the business side of things in regards to his own situation and the trading of his friend Quandre Diggs in the middle of the season last year. Just last week at the Super Bowl, Slay expressed his desire to retire a Lion, but also noted how he would be fine playing elsewhere, too.

“If they give me a contract, I’ll be blessed and fortunate enough for it,” Slay said. “Like I said, I always wanted to retire as a Detroit Lion, but if it don’t happen, it’s cool. It’ll be alright. If I don’t, someone will be getting a great player.”

The Lions have been quiet on their end regarding Slay’s future with the team. There were rumors that Slay was on the trading block during the deadline last October, but general manager Bob Quinn said talks were “not very serious at all.” As for a contract extension, Quinn chose to keep those discussions in house.

“I’m not going to get up and talk about anyone’s contract status—never have, never will,” Quinn said in December. “It’s conversations we have internally with the player and their representatives. So we’ll leave it at that.”

It is certainly a positive development that the two sides are talking about a contract extension, but Fowler’s wording seems to suggest both sides are a long way from coming to an agreement, and the option of moving on from Slay this offseason still appears to be on the table.