The Lions had a good thing going on offense with a talented trio of wide receivers in Golden Tate, Marvin Jones Jr., and Kenny Golladay.
Subtract Tate from the equation. He was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles for a third-round pick today, the NFL trade deadline day.
It’s a head-scratching move.
Has GM Bob Quinn given up on the season? He will say no, but his message seems clear.
The Lions are just 3-4 but still had a fighting chance in the NFC North with Tate on the roster.
Now? The offense loses a major weapon. The locker room loses a leader and fans lose one of their favorites.
The three wide receivers are not interchangeable — they each had their strengths. Tate’s shiftiness, his ability to work between the seams and creases set him apart. He fought hard for yards after the catch and was successful.
The 30-year-old team leader, who was in his fifth season in Detroit, was in the last year of his contract and it seemed unlikely the Lions would pay a high price to bring him back.
However, the timing seems bad. It’s not a move that will sit well with fans or perhaps the rest of the team. This group finished last year 9-7 which cost Jim Caldwell his job. They brought in Matt Patricia to improve on that. They added nose tackle Damon Harrison last week which seems like a good move, but now trading Tate away seems a little scary.
In seven games this season Tate had 44 catches for 517 yards (11.8-yard average), three touchdowns and three carries for 42 yards. He never missed a game in his time in Detroit.