Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate said he doesn’t expect to be going anywhere at Tuesday’s NFL trading deadline.
NFL Network reported Monday that the Lions have been fielding offers for their leading receiver and likely would need a mid-round draft pick — “maybe a fourth-rounder” — to trade Tate by 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Tate said he has not heard anything from Lions brass about a possible deal, and he’s not putting much stock in the report that he could be on the move.
“I don’t think so,” Tate told the Free Press on Monday. “I feel like I’m a huge part of this organization and this offense especially, so hopefully that’s not the case. But again, I do understand it’s a business and if it happens then, you know, depends on where they send me.”
Tate, 30, was the subject of mild trade speculation after an 0-2 start, but the Lions have won three of their five games since to get back in the NFC North race.
At 3-4, they’re currently in last place in the division, but just a game behind the first-place Chicago Bears. And last week, they traded a 2019 fifth-round pick for defensive tackle Damon Harrison in an effort to bolster their playoff chances.
“We’re right there in the mix,” Tate said.
Tate leads the Lions with 44 catches and 517 yards receiving this year, and is on pace for the first 100-catch season of his career and his fourth 1,000-yard season in five years with the Lions.
Part of the reason he’s assumed to be a trade candidate is because he’s in the final season of a five-year, $31 million contract he signed with the Lions in 2014 and will be a free agent in March.
But Tate said Monday he’s still optimistic he can get a long-term deal done to stay in Detroit and the two sides have moved “closer” to an extension since the start of the season.
“Ask (the front office about it), and then I’ll speak on it,” Tate said. “But I don’t want to be the one — I don’t want to draw too much attention in season to all that stuff.”
The price for competent wide receivers has skyrocketed in recent months, with players like Jarvis Landry, Sammy Watkins and Brandin Cooks signing mammoth deals.
The Lions have two other productive receivers in Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones — Golladay will be up for his own extension after the 2019 season — but Tate has proven to be an indispensable player in the slot.
He averages more receptions per game than Landry, Watkins and Cooks, and is one of the best in the NFL at making yards after the catch.
One of the league’s best bargains in recent years, Tate said he wants a market-value deal for his next contract — and he hopes that comes from the Lions.
“I expect to be here and I want to be here,” he said. “But we’ll see.”
While a second NFL Network report Monday suggested the New England Patriots are among the teams interested in acquiring him, Tate said he hasn’t given any thought to the trade rumors and wasn’t aware of the reports until a reporter brought them to his attention.
“I don’t think they’re going to trade me,” Tate said. “If they do, I’ll be surprised but it’s a business so I guess we got a few hours. A few hours and we’ll see.”
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