Receiver depth in draft a big factor in Lions' decision to let Kenny Golladay walk

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

For weeks, he Detroit Lions debated what to do with Kenny Golladay. In the end, the decision was made to let the former Pro Bowl wide receiver walk in free agency.

General manager Brad Holmes was asked about the decision when the team introduced quarterback Jared Goff last week, but declined to answer. But when it came up again in an interview Monday, Holmes provided some insight on the team's thinking. 

"Always stated that (he's a) very, very talented receiver, but we pretty much knew that, as with pretty much every year, in terms of free agency and the draft, that it's relatively deep in both spots," Holmes said. "It was a few different factors that went into it, but, you know, at the end of the day, it was just making the right decision for the Lions, both not only short-term, but more importantly, long-term."

Kenny Golladay.

Relatively speaking, Golladay's market was slow to develop. But in the end, he was able to find a taker at his asking price, securing a four-year contract from the New York Giants worth up to $76 million, with $40 million in guarantees. 

That proved somewhat fortunate, as this year's market was generally depressed for receivers. Despite top talents such as Allen Robinson and Chris Godwin never making it to free agency due the franchise tag, the receivers that were available outside of Golladay largely struggled to maximize their value. 

Prior to free agency, there was a thought the Lions might attempt to tag Golladay with a focus on trading him. Had they gone that route, the decision might have backfired. 

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"We discussed it and we mulled over it," Holmes said. "I wasn’t joking when I said he was at the forefront of my mind throughout the whole process. We did discuss those options, and then there is some difficulty in terms of forecasting that’s involved. That’s kind of why you probably may see (sign and trades) more prevalent in the NBA versus the NFL.

"With how the market was shaping out with the depth, both In free agency and in the draft, we just felt to go the route of not tagging him."

It's worth noting, if Golladay remains healthy and produces similar to the way he has in Detroit, the Lions will be in line for a compensatory draft pick at the end of the third round in 2022. 

Prior to letting Golladay walk, the Lions signed Tyrell Williams, kickstarting the team's makeover at the position. The team has since added Breshad Perriman, Kalif Raymond and Damion Ratley. 

Also, given Holmes twice mentioned the receiver depth in the upcoming draft, don't be surprised if the Lions add another option there, potentially in the first round where Ja'Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle and Heisman winner Devonta Smith are all intriguing options when the team is scheduled to be on the clock at No. 7.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers