Determining Darius Slay’s value: Pay him or trade him?

Darius Slay, Detroit Lions (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Darius Slay, Detroit Lions (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /
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The rumors about Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay’s possible departure have us asking would we keep or trade him if we were Bob Quinn? Read on.

The Detroit Lions have a developing, fluid situation on their hands with cornerback Darius Slay coming into the last year of his current deal and wanting a pay raise. Unlike the Matthew Stafford rumors, though, it does seem true that vice president-general manager Bob Quinn is shopping the Pro-Bowl corner for the right price.

In this installment of Kick In The Crotch Weekly, we’ll look at both sides of Slay’s value, the upside and downside of keeping or trading him, and where he might end up if he were to leave.

On its face trading or letting Darius Slay go is a bad idea, especially given owner Martha Firestone-Ford’s talk about winning now and her playing meaningful games in December comments. The only thing that makes sense is to keep one of the most productive players the Detroit Lions have, not to mention one of their most decorated players in decades. Let’s recount how we got to this place, though.

Going into the 2019 season two Lions players were looking for new deals, Slay and defensive tackle, Damon Harrison. Harrison got a modified deal with a short extension while Darius Slay did not. Harrison’s first season was very good but his production at 31 years-old has dipped significantly according to most pundits and has lead to his being waived by the team, presumably due to a decline in performance, noteworthy in this discussion.

Slay skipped some offseason workouts and team events but showed up for training camp and played in all of 2019’s games. He is coming off of three decorated years where he was named as an All-Pro and Pro-Bowler, then back to the Pro-Bowl two more times.

During the season, his close personal friend on the team, Quandre Diggs, was traded to the Seattle Seahawks for a fifth-round draft pick, a move neither he nor Slay was fond of at the time. Now, this offseason the Detroit Lions have an unhappy player coming to the end of his contract, again.

A similar situation also happened with former wide receiver, Golden Tate, who was traded during the last year of his deal to the Philadelphia Eagles for a third-round pick, so Quinn does have some precedent to look at in these matters. He doesn’t seem anxious to give big deals to older players, which largely dovetails with what has been deemed, ‘the Patriot way.’ The New England Patriots are famous for letting older players leave and signing cheaper players to replace them, as long as they fit the system.

There you have it, you’re caught up on the past history of the discussion. Over the last few weeks, as this offseason has unfolded, Slay and the chatter surrounding his fate has been lively on social media.