Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay is in the last year of his rookie deal.
This offseason, there were plenty of rumors and speculation regarding Detroit general manager Bob Quinn locking Golladay up for the future with an extension.
However, an agreement never came to fruition.
Despite the two sides not making a deal happen, that’s not to say that one couldn’t be done soon. It’s just somewhat rare for Quinn to do so midseason.
Even if an extension doesn’t happen, it's important to remember that the franchise tag is always in the Lions' back pocket.
Since Golladay was drafted in the third round in 2017, he has been the only Pro Bowler Quinn has selected.
It’s fair to say that Golladay has well surpassed his draft grade.
Golladay led the NFL in touchdown receptions (11) last year.
His 2,849 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns through 44 career games both rank as the second-most in Lions history in that span.
Needless to say, the soon-to-be 27-year-old is a playmaker.
Anytime an individual is in a contract year, there is always the question of a trade.
Let’s go over the pros and cons of the Lions trading away one of their best players.
Make no mistake, Golladay does a lot of things well, including acrobatic catches, consistently winning contested grabs and using his big body to shield defenders.
But, he has consistently been one of the worst receivers in the league in terms of yards of separation.
Creating separation is a big part of what makes the NFL’s top wideouts great.
Golladay is often talked about as being a top-10 receiver in the NFL.
Depending on who you ask, he is right around that area, which is fair.
Obviously, if an extension hasn’t been reached at this point, it's the money that is likely the holdup.
If Golladay is looking for a top-five contract, that would put him in the $20 million per year range.
In years past, in which there was an increasing salary cap every season, it would've made more sense.
In 2020, with a pandemic impacting the future cap space of organizations, Golladay’s value is likely under that $20 million mark.
Another aspect to consider is how difficult -- or easy -- it is to replace receivers in the league.
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Every year, the NFL Draft is filled with talent at the position.
There are often mid-round receivers who can make an immediate impact at a much cheaper cost. Golladay himself is a great example.
Taking a look at Super Bowl champions and their cap management the year in which they won the big game, it’s not common for the winners to be allocating a ton of cap space at the receiver spot.
There are plenty of ways to win in the NFL, but there are also plenty of successful teams that can get away with pinching pennies at wideouts.
Fortunately, the Lions are in a good salary-cap situation in the future.
On a team that is lacking high-end talent, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to ship off one of the true difference-makers on the team.
It’s obvious that the Lions' offense struggles when Golladay is not on the field.
Considering the top-three receiving options on the Lions' roster are scheduled to be free agents after the season, the receiver pipeline is pretty bare at the moment in Detroit.
Without Golladay plus potentially Marvin Jones Jr. and Danny Amendola next season, the group would need a complete overhaul. That’s a little different than just trying to replace one player.
No player is untradeable at the right price.
If the compensations is right -- say a first-round pick -- then, the deal wouldn’t be too bad. That type of return is likely unrealistic, though.
At the very least, if an extension can’t be made, the Lions and Quinn -- or whoever the general manager is next season -- can retain Golladay’s services with the franchise tag.
For a big-time player like Golladay, it just is difficult to fathom letting another one of the Lions' most talented players get away.
The Lions need all the help they can get.
Even if they do have to overpay a little bit compared to the market, they know what type of production they are going to get from Golladay.
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