Golden Tate trade rumors continue to swirl

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Less than a week ago, the Detroit Lions were trade-deadline buyers, sending a fifth-round draft pick to the Giants in exchange for defensive tackle Damon Harrison.

But after a disheartening loss to the Seattle Seahawks, teams are checking in to see if the Lions have changed their tune, according to an NFL report. 

Lions wide receiver Golden Tate is a free agent after this season.

The player who has general manager Bob Quinn's phone buzzing: wide receiver Golden Tate. 

"Look out for Lions wide receiver Golden Tate," NFL network's Tom Pelissero said during a televised report. "I can tell you that the Lions have been fielding calls, as teams have reached out about Tate. At this point, my understanding is it's not likely Tate gets moved unless they get blown away with an offer."

More: Lions' Taylor Decker dealing with undisclosed injury

Pelissero clarified that "blown away" would mean a mid-round draft pick, possibly a fourth-round selection. 

"Tate is 30 years old, still highly productive, but he's in a contract year, so you're talking about an 8 to 9-game rental," Pelissero said. 

By trading Tate, the Lions would be conceding to their fans and its locker room that they're not capable of competing this season, despite being just one game back in the NFC North race with a slate of three division games over the next month. 

Tate has caught at least 90 passes each of the past four seasons for the Lions and currently leads the team with 44 receptions and 517 receiving yards. He's been targeted at least six times in every game and more than 10 times on three occasions, including in Sunday's loss to the Seahawks. 

A free agent at season's end, Tate is primed to net a decent offer on the open market. To date, the Lions have shown little interest in being the team to pay him that raise, a follow-up offer to the five-year, $31 million pact he signed with the franchise in 2014.

If Tate does sign a multi-year contract with another team, the Lions could be in line for a compensatory draft pick from the league. Based on previous projections, he could net the Lions a fifth-round choice through that process.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers