Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn has been very consistent over the last two years in getting long-term contracts done with Detroit’s core players right before the season starts.
He did it with quarterback Matthew Stafford and safety Glover Quin last year. The year before that it was cornerback Darius Slay, running back Theo Riddick and punter Sam Martin.
Could it be veteran receiver Golden Tate’s turn this summer?
Tate is entering the final year of the free-agent contract he signed with Detroit in 2014.
“I think all those things in my time here have happened in the summer,” Quinn said at last week’s annual meetings, when asked about Tate.
“So, I think our concentration and our focus right now is on the draft. Things that come down the road after that, they’ll come and go, and we’ll talk through it.”
Tate has at least 90 catches in all four of his seasons in Detroit. He was the first player in team history, and just the seventh player in NFL history, to record 90-plus receptions in four straight seasons.
He and Marvin Jones Jr. teamed up last season to become the first pair of Lions receivers to each record 1,000 receiving yards in the same season since Tate and Calvin Johnson did it in 2014. It’s only been done seven times in franchise history.
Tate finished fifth in the NFL in yards after the catch with 613, and was the only receiver among the top five.
Lions head coach Matt Patricia said he was particularly impressed with Tate’s ability to run after the catch, when talking to reporters last week.
“The wide receivers are a major problem to defend,” Patricia said of Detroit’s receiving corps. “Golden Tate is one of the best. I mean, once the ball’s in his hands, forget about it. It's a big problem.”
The Lions return all three of their top receivers from last year in Tate, Jones and Kenny Golladay for a passing attack that was sixth best in the league last year.
Tate, 29, told detroitlions.com at the Super Bowl he’d like for contract talks to happen sometime this offseason, and wants to be with the team long-term.
“To be honest, I think I do deserve it,” Tate said. “I think I’ve been available. I’ve been durable. I’ve been on the leadership committee for two years now. My production hasn’t gone down.
“Hopefully we can get something done this year. I’d love to spend the rest of my career in Detroit. I like where Detroit’s going, and I love the city and I love our fans. Hopefully, we get it done. We’ll see.”