Why It Was Time for Lions to Part Ways with Darius Slay

Vito Chirco

Darius Slay's marriage with the Lions is over after seven years.

The 2013 second-round pick made three Pro Bowls during his time in Detroit.

He's also led the NFL in passes defensed since entering the league out of Mississippi State.

His loss will be felt not only on the football field but also in the community.

He become known throughout the metro Detroit area for frequently showing up to local youth sporting events, including high school football and basketball games.

It made him a player that fans were able to easily gravitate toward, despite the tumultuous times the organization went through in 2019.

The product wasn't pretty, but "Big Play" Slay was still there to root on.

That won't be the case going into 2020, however. He was dealt to the Philadelphia Eagles this past Thursday in exchange for third-and-fifth-round picks in this April's NFL Draft.

To no surprise, many fans are sad to see him go.

He gave it his all on every snap -- and often against the opponent's top receiver.

And although he missed two games a year ago with a hamstring injury, he still managed to tie for the team lead in both interceptions (two) and passes defensed (13).

There's no question he'll be hard to replace in the Lions' secondary -- despite the franchise's attempt to fill the void at least in the interim via the free-agency acquisition of veteran cornerback Desmond Trufant.

All that being said, Detroit general manager Bob Quinn had no choice but to move on from him.

Slay failed to mesh with Lions head man Matt Patricia from the get-go -- dating back to an incident in 2018 when Patricia first took over. And the fun-loving 29-year-old had no intention moving forward of being a part of Patricia's locker room -- which had no room for a brash, outspoken personality like Slay.

A divorce proved to be inevitable. 

And once Trufant was picked up by the Lions Wednesday night, Slay was already one foot out the door, and expressed that he hoped the acquisition would expedite the trade process for himself.

Well, it did, as the Lions moved him the following morning.

The two sides could no longer coexist with one another, and did the right thing by pulling the trigger on a trade.

My only gripe with the move is not the return. It is, instead, that the disgruntled Slay should've been shipped out of the Motor City long before March 19, 2020.


SI All Lions Roundtable: Culture Change Underway for Lions

Darius Slay to Wear No. 24 to Honor Kobe Bryant

Comments (6)
No. 1-5

It’s just tough because many vets will leave Detroit unhappy


No way Lions should have paid that much - But should have received more in return


How many people does martha have on a payroll of sorts still dishing the koolaid like its jonestown and people still drinking it.


It was time because he wasnt gonna keep losing like detroit likes top to bottom dont act like any other reason to part ways. U dropped a tier at cb trufant jesus h.


I suspect the Lions would've happily moved Slay at the deadline last season. They were actively shopping him then after all. Especially given the nature of the relationship being so fractured between the two. Given that fact interested teams were likely attempting to obtain Slay for A song. The Lions, rightly in my opinion, balked at those offers & held out for a better one. When you consider the team acquiring Slay, who ranked 97th out of 133 at his position last season, must also hand Slay an extension making him the highest paid CB in NFL history, another move I agree with Detroit not making, A return of 3rd & 5th round picks is solid under those circumstances. Though slightly more then A song & dance under most. With the ability it appears for Detroit to move back just 2-3 spots in the upcoming draft & gain more quality picks. This could certainly be the off season we look back on in coming years & say this is where the end of 70 years, or I lost count, of failure & ineptitude on the football finally began to end.