The Lions made a key decision on wide receiver Kenny Golladay last offseason, and Pro Football Focus has provided even more confirmation it was the right one.
As he took inventory of the situation in his first offseason as Detroit Lions general manager, Brad Holmes had a key decision to make on a promising young player. Was wide receiver Kenny Golladay worthy of a significant multi-year deal? Should the Lions franchise tag him? Is a tag-and-trade a legitimate option?
Ultimately, the Lions did not tag Golladay and it appears they were never really in the mix to re-sign him. He landed a four-year, $72 million deal from the New York Giants, which placed him among the 5-10 highest-paid wide receivers in the league by many measures.
Golladay had 37 receptions (on 76 targets) for 521 yards without a touchdown over 14 games in his first season as a Giant. Awful quarterback play, which got even worse after Daniel Jones was sidelined by a neck injury, was not helpful. But Golladay was not impactful, and he was mostly healthy after missing 11 games in his final season as a Lion.
Golladay was easily included on Bleacher Report’s list of the worst contracts in the NFL. But Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus has gone a step further.
Lions’ decision to let Kenny Golladay go gets more affirmation
Monson recently ranked the best and worst 2021 NFL free agent signings. Right there, ranked third on the list of the worst, is Golladay’s deal with the Giants. Take it away, Mr. Monson….
WR Kenny Golladay, signed with the New York Giants for four years, $72 million
Injuries have been a major part of the poor first seasons from many of the players on this side of the ledger, but Golladay ended up playing 667 snaps for the Giants in his first year and was outscored by the left tackle when it comes to receiving touchdowns. Golladay caught just 37 of his 75 targets and averaged 1.23 yards per route run. One of his biggest strengths before now has been contested catches, but he brought in just 14 of his 31 contested targets despite catching almost 77% of them in his final season in Detroit.
Indeed, Giants’ left tackle Andrew Thomas had one touchdown catch to Golladay’s zero this season. The contested catch drop-off is notable, but it’s also fair to say Matthew Stafford is a better passer than anyone the Giants trotted out and that can make a difference in converting those opportunities– all contested targets are not necessarily equal.
Golladay can really only be better over the rest of his deal with the Giants. But the Lions absolutely made the right decision to let him go get what the market would bear in free agency, without feeling like they had to meet the price.