Lions new regime makes first mistake? Not tagging Kenny Golladay

Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

With a new regime in place, the Detroit Lions are heading in an exciting new direction. But those future plans don’t apparently include their Pro Bowl wide receiver, Kenny Golladay.

On Tuesday, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that the Lions don’t plan on using their franchise tag to retain Golladay according to an unnamed source. And that the talented wideout is likely going to hit the open market as a free agent later this month.

With the bulk of their wide receiver corps scheduled to become free agents this offseason as well, retaining Golladay was believed to be a priority for the Lions’ front office headed by their new general manager, Brad Holmes.  Instead, it appears the former director of college scouting for the Los Angeles Rams will attempt to rebuild this receiver corps from near scratch.

A quick glimpse of the Rams’ recent draft history would suggest Holmes believes star wide receivers can be found on Day Two of the NFL draft. That’s where Los Angeles drafted Mississippi’s Van Jefferson just last year and Eastern Washington’s Cooper Kupp back in 2017.

Free agency is also another avenue where Holmes seems to believe capable replacements for Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., and Danny Amendola can be found. The Lions did recently agree to sign Tyrell Williams to a one-year contract worth up to $6.2 million.

Williams got his start with the San Diego Chargers and would play two seasons under former head coach Anthony Lynn, who is now the Lions’ new offensive coordinator. There are several veteran wide receivers expected to hit free agency this month with ties to both the front office and new coaching staff in Detroit.

As for Golladay, choosing not to retain the 2019 Pro Bowl wide receiver might be the first mistake for the new regime in Detroit. After all, when healthy, the 27-year old has proven he’s a legitimate number one wide receiver.

Golladay proved as much two years ago when he led the NFL with 11 receiving touchdowns. Between 2018 and 2019, he racked up a total of 135 catches, a whopping 2,253 receiving yards, and a combined 16 scores through the air. But Golladay only played five games last season due to an early hamstring issue and a lingering hip injury.

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With a potential franchise tag cost for retaining Kenny Golladay hovering around $16 million, the Detroit Lions might figure those monies are better spent elsewhere. (Note: The Lions are reportedly not using the franchise tag on pass rusher Romeo Okwara either.) And considering the NFL’s salary cap is expected to drop significantly due to the impact of COVID-19, teams around the league are tightening their financial belts and parting ways with very talented players. The Motor City is no exception.