Will Darius Slay be back with Lions next season? 'We'll see'
Allen Park — Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay is the kind of guy who lives in the moment. But as the team's season winds down, there's going to be an increasing focus on his future.
Slay has one year remaining on his current deal and he started pressing for an extension this past offseason. He skipped the voluntary portion of the offseason program as well as mandatory minicamp, sacrificing more than $300,000 in the process.
The Lions didn't give in and Slay ultimately reported on time for training camp. But after he voiced displeasure with the team's decision to trade longtime teammate and close friend Quandre Diggs, it raised questions about whether Slay could be on his way out, as well.
Slay didn't deny a new contract remains a priority, but said he hasn't decided whether he'll skip the offseason program again next year.
"I don't know," he said. "We'll see."
He also didn't shoot down the idea he could push for a trade if he doesn't get an extension offer from Detroit.
"I'm going to go play ball," Slay said. "We'll see when that time gets here, but we'll see. I'll figure it out."
Any decision relating to the contract will be made jointly by Slay and agent Drew Rosenhaus.
Slay, a second-round draft pick in 2013, will be entering the final year of a four-year extension he signed in 2016. His salary actually dips in the final year of the deal, to $10 million, after earning $12.55 million this year.
On a per year basis, Slay's salary ranks 13th among his position.
The contract situation will be a tricky one for the Lions to navigate. Slay turns 29 on Jan. 1 at a position where declining production often hits fast. That must be weighed against his current performance.
Even after a slightly down year, by his own lofty standard, he still earned a third consecutive selection to the Pro Bowl this week, riding heavy support from the league's coaches and players.
"I appreciate the respect they gave me because I go out there and work hard," Slay said. "I compete at a high level, so for them to notice, I appreciate it."
As for the news that coach Matt Patricia will be returning next season, Slay didn't have much to say, other than it was expected news.
For now, Slay is focused on this week's matchup with the Denver Broncos, although that trip to Orlando for the Pro Bowl won't be too far from his mind.
"Oh, yeah," he said. "I told my kids the other day we're going to Disney World, for free, too. We love that."