Normally when a player hires a new agent, it isn’t all that big of news. In fact, the turnover is such that most fans couldn’t name a single agent for a player on their team. It isn’t always without meaning. Lions fans may remember Ndamukong Suh firing his agent during negotiations with the Detroit Lions, which was likely one reason a deal was never completed in time for free agency. They face no such delay with Darius Slay. The fourth year cornerback hired Drew Rosenhaus with the expressed purpose of a new deal with Detroit. More specifically, he hired Rosenhaus to get him a huge deal that will set him and his family up for life from the Lions new general manager, Bob Quinn. Same thing, right?
Drew Rosenhaus is a legend as an agent. His negotiating tactics have not always been on the level, however, and we should be prepared for some of his normal shenanigans. His clients are known for staging holdouts, something that isn’t new. It was a running joke in the NFL community any time a player staged a holdout, “Drew’s his agent, right?”. Sometimes convincing his clients to hold out of training camps and minicamps in only the SECOND YEAR of their contracts, a move that would be universally reviled in the age of Twitter.
Is Darius Slay worth the money he’ll be commanding, though? It wouldn’t be a tough argument to say he is. At 25 years old, the Detroit lions have a good opportunity to lock up their star cornerback before age starts to really hit him. He’s entering his prime, not in it, and all arrows point up right now.
You have a guy who played poorly until his final game as a rookie, then blew up in 2014, and was even better in year 3, why wouldn’t you want to pay that man?
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How much can Darius Slay command in free agency, though? What would the worth be for a contract if we have to put a number on it? Well, the top CB contracts in the NFL are around 14 million per season. That’s probably a bit rich for what Slay can command, but he’ll be in that neighborhood. Bets are, the first reports we’re going to see for what his camp is looking for is “
Money”, just shy of 14 per season. Why? Because it’s a lot of money and Haden was one of Slay’s idols, so it makes sense.
Is a holdout the only thing worthy of being called a shenanigan we can look forward to (In that it might happen, not that it will be a good thing when it happens)? Other fun tactics of Drew Rosenhaus include creating faux accolades for his clients when they lack them on their own. Darius Slay has no pro bowl to tout, no DPOY votes to hang his hat on. What can he use for negotiations, then? I’ve already mentioned the PFF nod, but another fun ploy is getting other clients or big named reporters to show support in one way or another. It’s all in the name of raising his client up in the mind of public consciousness. Not for the fans, but for the competition, which brings us to…
Be prepared to have a whole bunch of ‘leaks’. One common trope whenever Drew Rosenhaus is involved is the constant leaking of information to the media. In general, these leaks range from sketchy to downright insane, such as a player wanting a record setting contract or some kind of insult coming from one side directed at another. He uses this tactic to help push along the negotiation process if he feels it’s taking too long, so it usually comes later in the process. We’ll get details about the scope of the contract, the amount of guarantees, any escalators or incentives, a bunch of information that isn’t readily available to the press until after the ink is actually dry and never really available to the public. And yet, we often see it with Drew Rosenhaus’ clients and we’ll probably see it with Darius Slay.
Ultimately the Detroit Lions will need to sign Darius Slay to a long term deal and it ought to be a top ten (possibly even top 5 considering the market) contract. We as fans tend to undervalue our free agents during these negotiations, but Slay truly is worth it at this stage in his career. Don’t be surprised if Darius Slay contract/holdout/negotiations is the top story of the offseason in 2016 until the details get done. What do you think, Lions fans? Do you think Darius Slay is coming back? What kind of deal would you give him? Let us know in the comments or get ahold of us @SideLionReport on Twitter or look me up personally @MathBomb!