In a season that saw multiple injuries to the Detroit Lions‘ receiving corps, including a torn achilles to Ryan Broyles and a broken arm that sidelined Nate Burleson for several weeks, it was made obvious that the Lions would have to acquire a wide receiver in the offseason whether it be via free agency or the 2014 NFL Draft. The positional need was made even more urgent when the Lions released Burleson in February. The Lions made their first splash in free agency today when they signed former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate to a five-year deal after he visited the team.
Tate is coming off of a Super Bowl winning season with the Seahawks in which he was their No. 1 wideout. He accumulated 898 yards with five touchdowns, leading the team in both categories. Over the course of his four-year career, he has a total of 2,195 receiving yards to go along with 15 touchdowns. 12 of his 15 career touchdowns have come in the past two years as the Seahawks have established a run game with Marshawn Lynch, allowing their offense to open up the playbook for their receivers. Look for Reggie Bush to have the same effect on Tate this year for the Lions.
Tate is known for his strong, physical play which is made evident in his blocking and ability to catch balls in traffic.
Tate will be a solid No. 2 option behind Calvin Johnson, as defenses won’t be able to double cover Johnson given Tate’s speed and strength combination, to go along with Bush’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Look for new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi to find creative ways to get the ball into Tate’s hands.
This signing may indicate that the Lions will be shifting their focus of their first-round pick to a defensive player, but that has yet to be determined given the free agents still looking for teams. The Lions could still look to add a player on the defensive side of the ball via free agency.
Either way, the addition of Tate will make the Lions’ offense more explosive in 2014.