Less than a week after trading for defensive tackle Damon Harrison, Lions general manager Bob Quinn was back making moves Tuesday at the trade deadline, sending veteran slot receiver Golden Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles for a third-round pick next season.
Tate, 30, was in the final year of a five-year deal he signed before the 2014 season. He caught 44 passes for 517 yards and three touchdowns in Detroit's first seven games. He appeared in 71 games (64 starts) and totaled 416 receptions, 4,741 yards and 22 touchdowns in four and a half seasons with the team.
The Lions were currently without a third-round pick in next year's draft after using it to move up in this year's draft to select defensive lineman Da'Shawn Hand.
"On behalf of our entire organization, I would like to sincerely thank Golden for his countless contributions to our team during his time as a Detroit Lion," Quinn said in a statement released Tuesday after the trade became official.
"For more than four years Golden displayed an unwavering commitment to not only his coaches and teammates, but also the City of Detroit. The impact he made on and off the field set an example for our team and serves as a testament to his character.
"We wish Golden and his family the very best in the next step of his career."
So, what does this trade mean for the Lions' offense and its receiving corps moving forward?
Veteran Marvin Jones Jr., and second-year receiver Kenny Golladay, effectively become Detroit's 1A and 1B options on the outside.
Golladay has 30 receptions on the season for 477 yards and three scores. He had a fast start to the season, but has caught just three passes the last two weeks. I expect both his targets and catches to see an uptick closer to what we saw the first month of the season.
Jones, who is coming off a seven-catch, 117-yard, two-touchdown performance last week against Seattle, has notched 26 receptions on the year for 387 yards and a team-leading five touchdowns.
Nothing changes for the Lions on the outside with Golladay and Jones, other than maybe we see the targets go up for both players. There's also the freedom now to move them around, potentially in the slot at times, to try and gain some mismatches.
In the slot, the Lions now have a number of options with Tate no longer on the roster.
Fifth-year receiver TJ Jones has shown to be versatile enough to play every receiver spot in this offense in his tenure with the team. He has experience playing in the slot in past seasons, and has 48 career receptions for 660 yards and two scores.
The Lions also kept undrafted rookie free agent Brandon Powell on the 53-man roster out of training camp. They obviously liked his potential and wanted to develop him. He was active vs. Seattle playing on special teams, but now it's possible he gets some run on offense. He caught 16 passes for 103 yards in four preseason games this year.
Offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter could also get creative and use Theo Riddick in more of a receiving/slot role, whenever he returns from the knee injury that's kept him out the last two weeks. Riddick is one of the best pass-catching running backs in the NFL, and we've seen him line up in the slot before. In six seasons, Riddick's caught 247 passes for nearly 2,000 yards and 14 touchdowns.
The Lions also have wide receiver Andy Jones, who is currently on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list, on the roster. He's recently returned to practice, and the Lions will have to make a decision on his roster status soon.
Detroit travels to Minnesota (4-3-1) this week to face a Vikings' defense ranked 10th overall and 15th against the pass.