Giants named favorite to land Lions Kenny Golladay if he walks

Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions (Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)
Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions (Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) /

Will the New York Giants benefit from this potential Detroit Lions’ blunder?

The Detroit Lions are currently a team in flux. Following the Lions’ comeback victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday, notching the first win for interim head coach Darrell Bevell, this roster has proven they are talented enough to still compete.

Yet, this is a Lions’ team that is expected to be under new management soon. That after the not-so-surprising move by ownership to fire head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn just over a week ago.

This new regime in the Motor City will hopefully make some decisions their predecessors refused to make. The most glaring omission is the signing of wide receiver Kenny Golladay to a long-term contract extension.

Originally drafted in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Northern Illinois, Golladay flashed unique playmaking ability as a 6-foot-4 deep threat. Over the past four seasons, the 27-year old has developed into a Pro Bowl receiver, notching a league-leading 11 receiving touchdowns last season.

Golladay is currently in the final year of his rookie deal in Detroit. And he was thought to be a high-priority for re-signing as early as this past offseason. But just four weeks away from the end of the NFL regular season and Golladay is still scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March.

Now, the talented wide receiver hasn’t done himself any favors this season, as he’s has struggled with a hip and hamstring injury that’s caused him to miss seven games. Golladay hasn’t suited up since Week Eight.

It’s anyone’s guess how his lack of availability will impact contract negotiations moving forward. This isn’t the first time injuries have limited Golladay as a hamstring issue forced him to miss five games as a rookie and really impacted his production that first year.

Pro Football Focus ranked Golladay the fourth-best free agent scheduled to hit the market in 2021 behind the likes of the quarterback Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys, wide receiver Chris Godwin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and wideout Allen Robinson of the Chicago Bears.

While PFF believes the Lions will use the franchise tag to retain Golladay if a long-term extension isn’t agreed to, they also suggested a new home if he’s allowed to leave the Motor City.

"“Prediction: Lions franchise tag Kenny Golladay for 2021, and a deal is not reached before the season starts. Otherwise: Giants sign Golladay for four years, $85 million ($21.25M APY): $57.5 million total guaranteed, $37.5 million fully guaranteed.”"

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In five games this season, Golladay has recorded 20 receptions for 338 yards and two touchdowns. Despite the lack of production, the Lions’ offense is clearly better when Golladay is on the field. When the team has had him in the lineup this season, their average score has been 26.6 points per game. Without him, that average drops to 21.8.

It’s clear that the fourth-year receiver should be a foundational piece the new regime in the Motor City builds around. And signing Kenny Golladay to a new deal in Detroit should be the first thing on their very long to-do list.