Before Tracy Walker was even asked about his impending free agency later this year, he sure sounded like a player that wanted to be part of the Detroit Lions’ future.
“My main objective right now is to continue to grow with this coaching staff, continue to grow with this group of guys I’ve got surrounding me, and just continue to try to build a foundation,” Walker said. “One thing I’ve been saying all year is we’re trying to establish a foundation, and that’s something I want to be a part of. I just want to do the best and be the best player I can possibly be.”
Walker has, indeed, seen his play grow this season. While he’s cooled off towards the end of the season, at one point this year he was the No. 2 ranked safety by PFF and he currently leads the team with 94 tackles, despite missing a couple of games. Walker attributes that growth to the current coaching staff, specifically defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant.
“I love my coaching staff. I mean, shit. Dan (Campbell)? I love playing for Dan. And I love playing for AG. And I love playing for AP, know what I mean?” Walker said. “Those guys have taken care of me, and I’ve gotten better because of those guys. Since they’ve gotten here, I’ve seen massive improvements in my game, you know? Mentally, physically and as a man. So at the end of the day, that’s why I still want to play for them.”
In March, Walker’s rookie contract runs out, and he’s likely due for a significant bump in pay. But the Lions' safety said that free agency isn’t currently on his mind with one game still left on the schedule. He did admit that much of the process is out of his control, with his fate—at least partially—being decided by his agent and whatever teams offer him.
“I want to be a part of this tradition that’s been started here, but at the end of the day, that’s not up to me honestly,” Walker said. “I’m just here to do what I do best and do my job. That’s for upstairs and my agents to decide. So as far as that, I’ll just let them handle that. I control what I can control, and that’s making plays on the field.”
It’s unclear if the Lions have had any talks with Walker about keeping his future in Detroit, but if Glenn has anything to do with personnel decisions this offseason, Walker is a priority re-signing.
“Absolutely. We like good players and if you’re a good player, we’re looking to sign you,” Glenn said this week.