Well, not everyone can agree in life. Football is certainly no exception, but I had to chuckle to myself after recently when listening to Grantland contributor Bill Barnwell give the Lions’ signing of Golden Tate the aptly named “No Backsies Award” on a recent edition of The Grantland NFL Podcast. The award was supposed to be given to a deal where the team which signed the player in question will immediately regret the decision.
As Barnwell explains it, he feels like the contract (five-years, $31 million) is a lot of money for a guy who wasn’t ever a #1 receiver. I’m fine with this because as long as Calvin Johnson is in the game, Tate won’t be asked to be the #1 guy. He should have no problem upgrading over Nate Burleson at that #2/3 spot depending on what happens in the draft.
My strongest protest is Barnwell’s assumtion that any reciever can be productive across from Calvin Johnson.
A lot of guys can look good across from Calvin Johnson. Kris Durham, who is not a remotely competent NFL receiver…at least made plays across from Calvin Johnson here or there.
As any Lions fan can tell you, this just simply isn’t the case. Whether it was Bryant Johnson, Nate Burleson, Titus Young, or yes even Kris Durham, no one has been able to take coverage away from Megatron. Durham only manage 38 catches (10 drops) for 490 yards and two scores in a pass happy offense last season across from Calvin Johnson. To compare, Golden Tate had 64 catches (4 drops) for 898 yards and five scores in one of the most run heavy offenses last season.
Barnwell also didn’t like the amount of money the Lions gave Golden Tate to be a complement to Johnson.
I think they could have used their money elsewhere, and if they would have held onto it, they would have been much happier signing…Desean Jackson.”
Desean Jackson was great last year, but I don’t think he would have ever been in play for Lions, especially since the Redskins gave him more guaranteed money than Tate. The Lions might have spent a little more than market value for Tate, but after the trouble they’ve had finding a complement for Calvin Johnson, I’d say he’s worth every penny.
In the end I feel like Barnwell’s argument is far more about the amount of money Tate was given, rather than the type of talent he brings. I’ll leave you with this; when’s the last time a Lion not named Calvin Johnson made this type of play: