So, being that both men were paid well within the top ten at their positions, it’s hard to say that the Detroit Lions are taking advantage of either guy. If the Lions could talk them into waiting until their contract was up, surely both men would vault back into the top few in salary if they continue to perform. That’s how the NFL works for elite players or those at premium positions.
Much has also been said by fans about both men wanting to do the best that they can for themselves due to the harsh reality that players are considered disposable once their usefulness or performance wanes. “Get what you can, when you can”, essentially. We aren’t here to argue that Slay and Harrison don’t deserve to be treated well, they are multi-millionaires whose deals reflected their hard work and the fact that their respective teams felt that they were near the top of their professions.
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While we think that both men are within their rights to ask for more money as players, it’s not conducive to maintaining a team atmosphere nor is it conducive to keeping fans happy. Let’s also face the fact that this issue, especially combined with the Calvin Johnson conversation, is a distraction to the fanbase. It is a distraction to the team, too, although most athletes support a teammate getting paid.
What they don’t like is getting constantly asked about said teammate’s holdout or contract situation. If you haven’t seen or don’t remember seeing prominent players go through a negotiation process, it’s a lot of focus on their absence if they choose to holdout.
Even when players show up but the media know that they are negotiating a new deal (think Matthew Stafford two years ago), many questions revolve around the money and the implications for the team and roster.
Once the player gets their new deal, then comes the “what this means going forward” stage where the deal is scrutinized ad nauseam. We’re a long way from that phase right now but it is coming. These are the real problems with the situation that the Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn is facing with two of his defensive stars holding out for more money.
In the long-term it shouldn’t cause any huge problems but the Lions came in last place in the NFC North in 2018, a feat which if repeated will have fans put on watch for their own safety. The franchise believes itself to be a contender based upon Quinn’s outlook and evidenced by the fact there have been no significant shake-ups at hardly any position. Given the truism of the win-now mentality, players missing time is antithetical to team goals of winning championships or division titles.
Forget the supposed culture of losing whose moniker follows the Detroit Lions around like a bad smell. If the Motor City Kitties don’t get this right very soon, we all know what happens. Quinn loses his job, followed by head coach Matt Patricia, and the dominoes keep falling until we are back in full rebuild mode.
Make no mistake, Quinn and Patricia will be on thin ice as soon as next year if this season isn’t significantly better than last year. So, while contract problems may not dictate the entire year, it will likely linger into training camp in late July. The Detroit Lions just can’t afford to divide their attention between their stated mission of winning the NFC North while pushing for a Lombardi trophy and getting caught up in several months of drama about who will and won’t suit up for the team this fall.