Lions sign free agent receiver Golden Tate

Posted Mar 12, 2014

The Lions have found a versatile weapon in Golden Tate to pair with Calvin Johnson

The Detroit Lions have been very clear all offseason that finding more help at receiver for Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford has been a major priority of theirs.

Golden TateWR Golden Tate (Photo: AP Images)

They found that help on Wednesday, coming to terms with free agent Golden Tate on a new 5-year contract. Terms of the deal weren't immediately known.

Tate spent most of the day touring the team’s Allen Park practice facility with wide receivers coach Robert Prince and also spent a considerable amount of time with Lions vice chairman Bill Ford.

Ford said back in 1995 during free agency when defensive tackle Henry Thomas visited Detroit: “Don’t let him out of the showroom.”

The Lions didn’t let Tate out of the showroom.

Tate, 25, was among the top available receivers in free agency and the Lions top target after catching 64 passes for 898 yards and five touchdowns as the Super Bowl champion Seahawks’ top receiver for most of the season.

Tate (5-10, 202) has terrific hands, dropping just six of 151 catchable passes in his career, according to Pro Football Focus.

The Lions have led the league the last two seasons with 44 and 45 dropped passes, respectively.

Every season since joining the league as a second-round pick (No. 60 overall) by Seattle, Tate has improved his reception and yardage totals.

He’s caught 165 passes for 2,195 yards and 15 touchdowns in four seasons. The last two seasons have seen him catch 109 of those passes for 1,586 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Playing opposite Johnson should only improve upon those numbers. Tate was the main weapon last season in Seattle, which means teams focused a lot of attention to stop him. In Detroit, he’ll have the benefit of playing much more single coverage with the focus teams place on Johnson.

With Tate on board, the Lions now have Megatron, Tate, Ryan Broyles, Kevin Ogletree, Jeremy Ross, Kris Durham, Corey Fuller, Patrick Edwards and Cody Wilson under contract at receiver.

The Lions are expected to further add to that list in May’s NFL Draft, potentially with the No. 10 overall pick.

One immediate change Tate will have to make is changing numbers. Unfortunately, his No. 81 is occupied in the D.