Lions don’t use franchise tag on Kenny Golladay

Detroit News

Justin Rogers
| The Detroit News

While a number of NFL teams utilized the franchise tag to prevent high-profile players from hitting free agency on Tuesday, the Detroit Lions weren’t one of them. That means wide receiver Kenny Golladay is set to become an unrestricted free agent next week. 

Last week, Lions general manager Brad Holmes said the team continued to weigh all options with Golladay, a third-round pick in 2017. 

“Obviously, I don’t think there’s any debate that Kenny has shown the ability to be a No. 1 receiver in this league,” Holmes said. “With that skillset that everybody knows that he has, we all know that he has, and being where we’re at from a roster standpoint, there’s also been no debate that Kenny has been at the forefront of our minds in terms of making sure that we make the best possible decision for not only the Lions, but for Kenny.”

And while there’s still a slim possibility the Lions could strike a long-term deal with the receiver, it’s appearing more and more likely he’ll be wearing a different uniform entering his fifth season. 

Selected 96th overall out of Northern Illinois in 2017, Golladay’s production quickly exceeded his draft position.

Hindered by a hamstring injury as a rookie, he appeared in 11 games, catching 28 passes for 477 yards and three touchdowns. But by Year 2, he developed into Detroit’s top pass-catching option. He would top 1,000 yards each of the next two seasons, while leading the NFL with 11 touchdown catches in 2019. 

Last year, injuries were once again an issue. A hamstring strain sidelined him the first two games before a hip pointer cost him the final nine games of the campaign. In five appearances, he hauled in 20 passes for 338 yards and two scores. In the four he played start to finish, he either topped 100 yards or caught a touchdown. 

Had the Lions used the franchise tag, the one year contract would have cost north of $16 million. And even if the team had gone that route, they were expected to shop him in a trade. 

On the open market, Golladay should command a multi-year deal that pays him at least that annually. By letting him walk, the Lions will be in position to net a compensatory draft pick in 2022, likely at the end of the third round. 

While Golladay avoids it, 10 players around the league were tagged.

Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin, Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson, Broncos safety Justin Simmons, New Orleans safety Marcus Williams, Panthers offensive tackle Taylor Mouton, Jaguars offensive tackle Cam Robinson, Giants defensive tackle Leonard Williams, Jets safety Marcus Maye, Washington Football Team guard Brandon Scherff and Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott were all franchised. 

The tag for Prescott is a formality after the quarterback reportedly agreed to a new four-year contract with the Cowboys this week.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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