Slay stays: Lions stand pat as NFL trade deadline passes

By Matt Schoch
The Detroit News
Darius Slay

Allen Park – With rumors swirling about Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay, along with a few names on the market that could’ve made sense for them, the Detroit Lions stayed pat as Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline passed.

The team traded safety Quandre Diggs to Seattle last week but did not make a follow-up move this week as the 4 p.m. deadline passed.

As one of the league’s three .500 teams, the Lions (3-3-1) don’t have an obvious path right now in the traditional “buyers vs. sellers” context.

On one hand, the Lions are a couple wins away, starting Sunday in Oakland, toward being right back in the thick of the NFC playoff race. On the other, general manager Bob Quinn was active in a similar situation last year and came from New England, an organization notorious for cutting the cord on players, always keeping asset maximization on the forefront.

"I like our team. We're tough, we compete, we work hard, I think for us, it's business as normal," Lions coach Matt Patricia said. "The right situations always have to come up in order to get something done, and for us we're just focused on Oakland."

A report from Mike Klis of 9News, the NBC affiliate in Denver, said the Lions made an offer of less than a third-round pick for cornerback Chris Harris Jr. The four-time Pro Bowler is 30 years old and is staying in Denver.

For Diggs, the Lions received a 2020 fifth-round pick but also sent out a 2021 seventh-rounder.

Slay, who voiced his displeasure with the trade of his good friend, was rumored to be on the block, with ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reporting that the Lions sought a first-round pick and more for the 28-year-old, two-time Pro Bowler. Philadelphia was reported to have interest, with Kansas City also mentioned in rumors.

The Lions also could have used help at running back with starter Kerryon Johnson on injured reserve and the rest of the backfield short on experience. The Diggs’ trade, and Sunday’s injury to Tracy Walker, could’ve been cause to make a move in the secondary.

When asked if he plays to speak personally with Slay about the rumors and subsequent non-move, Patricia said he doesn't believe he needs to.

"Everybody knows: We're here, every team makes calls, every team took calls, that's what happens in the league these days," Patricia said.

Throughout the league, there has been a steady stream of moves since cornerback Jalen Ramsey was sent from Jacksonville to the Los Angeles Rams on Oct. 15. Among them: Running back Kenyan Drake went from Miami to Arizona, wide receiver Mohamed Sanu moved from Atlanta to New England, defensive lineman Michael Bennett moved from the Patriots to Dallas, and the Rams sent injured cornerback Aqib Talib to Miami on Tuesday to free up salary room – possibly to ink Ramsey in the long-term.

In addition to Slay, other big names such as safety Jamal Adams and running back Le’Veon Bell of the New York Jets, left tackle Trent Williams of Washington, and Melvin Gordon of the Los Angeles Chargers were rumored to be on the move, but the day was a quiet one. Williams ended his holdout and reported to Washington, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported.

Last year, the Lions acquired defensive tackle Damon Harrison from the New York Giants the week before the trade deadline, and then shipped wide receiver Golden Tate to Philadelphia on deadline day.

Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.