The franchise tag deadline has come and gone, and the Detroit Lions did not use their tag on Pro Bowl wide receiver Kenny Golladay.
The team and Golladay tried to work out a long-term deal during the season last year, but could not come to an agreement. By not placing the tag on their former third-round pick in 2017, Golladay is set to become an unrestricted free agent at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 17 and one of the top receivers on the free agent market.
Golladay is coming off an injury-filled 2020 season that saw him play in only five contests, catching 20 passes for 338 yards and a couple touchdowns. He was a Pro Bowler in 2019, leading the NFL in touchdown receptions (11) and recording a second straight 1,000-yard season.
"The great thing is that we have a process in place that we believe in, that we've been firm in," Lions general manager Brad Holmes told reporters last week when asked about the franchise tag. "When you really start the planning stages of the process, that process can go all the way up to when you have to make the decision.
"We definitely have a process in place that we believe in, that we're trusting. That's probably the best thing about it, is that we have a process that we're trusting and we're sticking to it. It makes sure that it meets the Detroit Lions' timeline, and that's really the thing that matters the most."
That process didn't include using a franchise tag that was expected to pay Golladay more than $16 million in 2021.
Holmes did say last week there's little debate that Golladay has shown the ability to be a No. 1 receiver in this league.
Letting Golladay hit the open free-agent market leaves a considerable void in Detroit's receiver room, though this is an overall good free agent class at receiver, and April's NFL draft is loaded at the position. Tuesday's move increases the likelihood Detroit will be in the receiver market in the draft.
I expect plenty more additions to come at the position in the coming weeks and months.