The Detroit Lions declined to pick up former first-round pick Jarrad Davis’ fifth-year option earlier this week, but you wouldn’t know it from the way head coach Matt Patricia spoke of him on Tuesday morning.
“There is no doubt that JD is one of our strongest leaders on defense. He’s a great player, [and] someone we continue to build around.”
In fact, Patricia praised Davis for a good 90 seconds before coming back to the question about his fifth year option. All the while, he called Davis a “solid-rock leader,” an “everything-you-want-in-a-program type of a guy,” a “great kid” and just plain “awesome.”
But when it came to the Lions’ decision to not pick up his option, Patricia didn’t have much to offer in terms of their reasoning.
“We made a decision that’s best for the organization,” Patricia said.
So if Patricia has all of this praise for a player they weren’t willing to give an extra year worth just over $10 million, is it possible Davis is still in the team’s plans beyond 2020?
“Yeah, I think JD is a cornerstone of what we’re trying to do,” Patricia answered. “He’s in those big-picture plans in where we’re trying to go. We’ll, like I said, make sure that we have the best season that we can this year and go from there.”
Actions, of course, speak louder than words. The fact is the Lions deliberately made this year a contract year for Davis, and his play through three seasons certainly hasn’t warranted an eight-figure contract.
That being said, the praise the Lions’ coaching staff continues to give Davis feels nothing like the run-of-the-mill compliments they give to all of their players. Every time he’s brought up, both Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn sing their praises far above and beyond what would be expected of any of their players. So don’t quite count Davis out yet.