A day after one big-name former Lion made the news as a trade candidate, Darius Slay has been granted permission to seek a trade.
On Thursday, a rumor surfaced suggesting the Los Angeles Rams want to trade former Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. On Friday, ESPN’s Diana Russini reported the Philadelphia Eagles have given former Lions cornerback Darius Slay permission to seek a trade.
Russini did add the Eagles are hoping to find a solution where Slay stays. But the defending NFC champs have a long list of notable free agents, not to mention a big contract coming for quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Why Slay may want a trade is unclear, since the Eagles did not actually hire former Lions head coach Matt Patricia as their new linebackers coach. Slay’s issues with Patricia in Detroit are well-documented, and they have lingered on Slay’s mind.
But SI’s Albert Breer clarified that Slay did not ask for a trade. Rather, it’s part of contract negotiations. But considering Slay’s agent is Drew Rosenhaus, weird negotiation tatics would be par for the course.
NFL Rumors: Could the Lions pursue a reunion with Darius Slay?
The Lions could certainly use a cornerback of Slay’s caliber. He’s now 32 years old, but Pro Football Focus graded him as a top-five corner in the league in 2021 and he has earned a Pro Bowl selection in each of the last two years.
On the contact front, Slay is entering the final year of the deal he signed with the Eagles after they acquired him from the Lions in 2020. According to Over The Cap, a trade with a post-June 1 designation would clear $17.5 million in cap space for the Eagles with $8.6 million in dead money this year. Before June 1, at least officially, the Eagles would take on $22.4 million in dead money.
For the Lions, or any other team, acquiring Slay would mean taking on his sizable $17 million base salary for 2023.
Ultimately this is an angle taken by Slay and Rosenhaus to get the deal he wants, with guaranteed money beyond next season, and it ultimately doesn’t matter if he gets it from the Eagles or another team. The Eagles have apparently said, effectively, “go ahead and see what you can find.”
Slay coming back to the Lions would be a fun story, and it’s one many fans are quickly clamoring for. Just don’t expect it to happen.