Golden Tate trade offer was too good for Lions to refuse

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Golden Tate

Allen Park -- The calls for Golden Tate started early, during training camp, but even though the productive slot receiver was entering the final year of his contract, general manager Bob Quinn wasn't going to give him away. 

A lot of teams were interested in him," Quinn said on Friday. "Nobody really came up with a good enough offer; really the offers were really insulting back in August, so we kept him on the team."

The Lions held tight, continued to discuss an extension with Tate, with the plan to play out the season even if the two sides couldn't work something out. But at the trade deadline the Philadelphia Eagles called, then called again, upping their original offer.

Weighing the team's immediate future against the long-term value of the offer, Quinn couldn't pass up the third-round pick Philadelphia had put on the table. 

"Philadelphia called and their offer at 8 o’clock in the morning, changed by 9:30 in the morning and I think we consummated the trade at 10:30 in the morning," Quinn said Friday. "It’s one of those things where it was just an offer that we really couldn’t refuse for what the value was and for what we had left with the player, which was eight games, and we felt we had a balanced offense at that time so that’s why we made it.”

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Whether or not it can be directly attributed to Tate's departure, the Lions' offense fell apart down the stretch. The team averaged 17 points and fewer than 200 passing yards the final nine games.

Did Quinn underestimate Tate's impact? 

"I’ll never underestimate what Golden brought to this team," Quinn said. "I think Golden did great things for this team on and off the field. Really, like when you think about the couple weeks after, his replacement was Bruce Ellington for a while, and he had pretty good production for those couple of weeks. I know Bruce got hurt toward the end of the year. I will never underestimate what Golden did. He was great player, he’s a great guy and I communicated with him after the trade, so no."

Ellington appeared in four games, catching 23 passes, but averaged 5.7 yards per catch. Had he qualified, that would have been the lowest rate in the NFL. At the time of the trade, Tate was leading the Lions with 44 catches and 517 yards.