2014 NFL Free Agency: Lions Fans Should be Excited About Golden Tate Signing

By Chris Loud
Golden Tate
Getty Images

The Detroit Lions made a bold move in signing the Seattle SeahawksGolden Tate to a five-year, $31 million deal on Wednesday. If you were wondering what kind of receiver would best fit the Lions and help out their dire situation, you’ll soon realize that Tate is actually the perfect match.

Tate was the top receiver for the Seahawks last season, a year in which they won the Super Bowl. He was a second-round pick out of Notre Dame in 2010, and in four seasons became the No. 1 receiver on the best team in the NFL. He reeled in 64 catches, 898 yards receiving and five touchdowns in 2013. That’s on a team with Marshawn Lynch at running back, and a very solid receiving squad in addition to Tate. He has improved on his stats every single season he’s suited up for in the NFL.

I’m telling you Lions fans, those stats are great, and those alone fit well into what the Lions need as a second receiver to Calvin Johnson, but there is one stat that you have to pay attention to the most – DROPS. Or lack of drops I should say.

According to Michael Rothstein of ESPN, Tate has dropped seven passes with a drop percentage of 2.7 – in his career. According to Pro Football Focus, they have him drooping only four passes in his career. That means that three of those seven drops were questionable. Are you kidding? The Lions have seven drops per game. Okay, that’s not a real stat, but doesn’t it feel like that’s a real stat?

The other thing that is absolutely great about Tate is how versatile he can be for Joe Lombardi’s offense. Tate has the speed, and obviously the hands, to go deep. He also has the shiftiness and YAC (Yards After the Catch) ability to be a great slot receiver.

When the Lions go three wide, Tate can go on the line as a second receiver, or run from the slot. The Lions could have Johnson at one, Tate at two and even Reggie Bush over there in the slot too, with Joique Bell as a single back. I would take that action any day of the week, but I would most want to take it on Sunday or Monday night. Can the Lions please get some Monday night love in 2014?

He can even run back a few kicks and punts if Jeremy Ross doesn’t cut it. The point is, Tate gives the Lions an array of options. Which is exactly what the Lions need, especially with guys like Jim Caldwell and Joe Lombardi running the show.

His versatility also gives the Lions more room in the 2014 NFL Draft. They don’t have to go after a big-time receiver now, which means they could go get a lockdown corner or an aggressive safety.

All in all, Lions fans should be psyched about Tate. It’s a risky move at a five-year deal, but it’s a calculated risk that the Lions absolutely had to make. Grabbing any big-time receiver through free agency is always a risk, but Tate’s numbers, his drop percentage and his consistent improvement actually make him a much lower risk than other options the Lions faced.

Tate is going to be a solid receiver for the Lions, but his high potential is what should have Lions fans excited for the future.

Chris Loud is a Detroit Lions writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @cfloud, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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