He led the NFL in touchdowns last season, and for that Kenny Golladay is about to be handsomely rewarded.
Golladay, a wide receiver with year left on his rookie contract, said Monday after the first padded practice of Detroit Lions training camp he’s confident he’ll have a new deal soon.
“No worry right now,” Golladay said. “But I mean, as of right now I can only control what I control. I want to be here. Really, I’m just going to let my agent and front office take care of that. Pretty sure something will get done.”
Asked if he’s “pretty sure” something will get done before the Lions open the regular season Sept. 13 against the Chicago Bears, Golladay said, “Hopefully.”
A third-round pick out of Northern Illinois in 2017, Golladay right now stands as one of the best bargains in football.
He is scheduled to make $2.13 million this fall after leading the Lions with 65 catches and setting career-highs with 1,190 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns last season.
[ The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive sports content. ]
Joel Corry, a former NFL agent who hosts the “Inside The Cap” podcast, told the Free Press earlier this summer that Golladay’s new deal should place him among the seven highest-paid receivers in the NFL with an annual value that could approach $20 million.
More: Detroit Lions’ Kenny Golladay heading toward monster extension: ‘Back up the Brinks truck’
The Lions have prioritized doing Golladay’s contract over that of left tackle Taylor Decker, though when asked where things stood Monday, he insisted, “I haven’t heard anything so far.”
New contract or not, Golladay appears poised for another big season.
He’ll enter this fall as the Lions’ unquestioned No. 1 receiver, with a healthy Matthew Stafford at quarterback and a full complement of offensive weapons, including Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola and T.J. Hockenson.
Golladay said he spent the offseason training at Athletic Gaines, a change from his normal routine of working out in Florida. He expects to take a step forward in his second year in Darrell Bevell’s offense after a brief stay on the reserve/COVID-19 list to start training camp.
Golladay said he experienced two days of mild symptoms, including a fever, and is “100%” now.
“I really feel like (I can improve in) just understanding the offense better,” he said. “Last year, first year with Bev, so learning a lot of the stuff on the fly a little bit. We might put something new in for a week and then we might not use it again for like four weeks down the line and just me knowing the offense, knowing exactly where I got to go, then I can just play fast. If I’m playing fast, then I feel like I have a little bit of an advantage.”
FOR SUBSCRIBERS: The full audio from our one-on-one with Detroit Lions legend Calvin Johnson
Bevell said last week that he wants Golladay to become a Michael Thomas- or DeAndre Hopkins-like threat this year “where he really is dictating to the defense how they have to cover him.”
“When you’re in that go-to opportunity and… everybody knows Kenny Golladay’s getting the ball and everybody knows he’s still going to make the play,” Bevell said. “That’s really where we’re trying to get him to, to be that dominant level player.”
Golladay said that’s where he’s trying to get to, too.
“Of course I (don’t) want to just stay at the same level,” he said. “Each year I want to keep going up and up and I just want to build off last year. I felt like last year I built off the year before that and I just want to keep improving, just being a better receiver, a better teammate. We got Staff back, everyone’s healthy. Marv’s back, ‘Dola. Got our backs. I’m excited.”
Contact Dave Birkett at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Lions content.