Another name for Detroit Lions fans to watch as the wide receiver free agent market takes shape according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport: Golden Tate.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 11, 2014
What Tate lacks in size (5’10”, 199 lbs) he makes up for with solid hands. His sure-handedness would be a major solution to the drop problem Lions receivers had in 2013.
A major issue is Tate’s expected price tag. Former sports agent Joel Corry estimated Tate’s next contract at an average value of $7 million per year in a recent piece for CBSsports.com. There, Corry had the following to say:
Tate was Seattle’s leading pass catcher in 2013 with 64 receptions and 898 receiving yards. He didn’t crack the NFL’s top 30 in either category because the Seahawks ranked 31st in pass attempts. Tate fared better with advanced statistics. He had the fifth-best drop rate among wide receivers on catchable balls at 4.48 percent and was second with yards after catch per reception with 7.9 yards in 2013 according to PFF. Robert Meachem signing a four-year, $25.5 million deal ($14 million guaranteed) at the start of the 2012 free agent signing period after a 2011 season with 40 receptions, 620 receiving yards and six touchdowns should be encouraging to Tate.
On the surface, this doesn’t look like a realistic option for the Lions and you never know what info can be trusted, even when it comes from a reputable reporter like Rapoport. It is more likely the Lions sit back and let the market develop before capitalizing on someone with a better price to value ratio.