Kenny Golladay got the payday he was looking for.
Golladay, the Detroit Lions‘ No. 1 receiver the past few seasons and best free agent left on the market, found a new home Saturday, agreeing to a four-year, $72 million contract with the New York Giants.
The deal reportedly has a maximum value of $76 million, which would make Golladay one of the six highest-paid receivers in football, according to Spotrac.
Golladay turned down a contract offer from the Lions last fall that was believed to be in the $17 million range per season. Contract negotiations grew contentious, then were tabled after Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia were fired in November.
The new Lions regime of Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell decided not to use the franchise tag on Golladay before the start of free agency, declining to lock him in for the 2021 season at a shade under $16 million.
Holmes declined to offer a reason why he decided against using the tag.
“With respect to the process ongoing through free agency, I’m not going to comment on anything regarding that,” he said Friday.
Golladay, whose deal includes $40 million guaranteed, had back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons in 2018-19, and the NFL with 11 touchdown catches in the latter of those two years.
Last season, he missed 11 games with him and hamstring injuries but still caught 20 passes for 338 yards.
The Chicago Bears used the franchise tag on Allen Robinson and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers used the tag on Chris Godwin earlier this month, leaving Golladay as the top receiver unrestricted in free agency.
Still, he had only a handful of suitors because of his asking price, injury history and the shrinking salary cap. He turns 28 in November.
Along with the Giants, the Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens made overtures to sign Golladay.
In New York, Golladay becomes the No. 1 receiver for a young but talented offense. Quarterback Daniel Jones is entering his third season as starter, running back Saquon Barkley is returning from a torn ACL, and Darius Slayton and Evan Engram are their top returning wide receiver and tight end.
The Lions have lost three receivers already in free agency — Golladay, and Marvin Jones and Jamal Agnew to the Jacksonville Jaguars — and return only Quintez Cephus at the position from last season.
For losing Golladay, they will receive a third- or fourth-round compensatory pick in the 2022 NFL draft. If that pick lands in the back end of the third round, the Lions will have at least five of the top 100 or so draft picks.
They have their own picks in Rounds 1-3 next season, plus the Los Angeles Rams’ first-round choice, which they acquired as part of the Matthew Stafford trade.