The NFL franchise tag deadline came and went on Tuesday with a slew of key big names earning one-year deals from their incumbent team. The tag can be a last-ditch effort to keep an impact playmaker or spur a long-term deal or trade. One surprising name who wasn’t tagged was Lions receiver Kenny Golladay, among our top 10 free agents.
The 27-year-old seemed primed to be tagged as the Lions transition to a new regime. The roster sorely lacks playmakers on both sides of the ball despite being capped out. Retaining Golladay to pair with a first-round receiver would’ve been an excellent way to keep the Lions’ offense a threat with Jared Goff now under center.
Th 6’4”, 214-pound Golladay has accumulated 3,068 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 141 first downs on 183 career receptions. He’s a tremendous big-play threat, and is easily the best receiver on the market. We’re going to break down his five best fits away from Detroit.
The time to spend is now for general manager Chris Ballard. His league-shaking trade for Carson Wentz was the first sign this regime is ready to take a bold step forward. Now Ballard needs to give Wentz and Frank Reich a reliable big-play threat to take the offense to the next level.
Pairing Golladay with Michael Pittman Jr. would give Reich a ton of options as far as vertical routes and moving each into the slot to hunt matchups. One of the best facets of the Eagles’ offense in 2017, that Reich was in charge of, was how Alshon Jeffrey and Zach Ertz played off each other, and these two large but gifted route-runners can replicate some of the same downfield looks.
Ballard may not want to spend a large chunk of his remaining cap on one position since he has to find defensive playmakers at corner and defensive end, but landing Golladay will elevate the offense unlike another signing.
The Colts have had tough injury luck on their receiver depth chart as both TY Hilton and Parris Campbell have missed time with significant ailments. Golladay’s missed his fair share of games throughout his career, playing in all 16 contests just once in four years. The Colts may opt for someone with a better track record despite their need for a true star at the position.
The Packers have continued to make head-scratching moves over the last year when it comes to building this offense. They opted to sign veteran receiver Devin Funchess instead of a speedy, higher upside option, then drafted Jordan Love and AJ Dillon in the first two rounds of last year’s draft. Dillon may pay off, but the Packers still offered Aaron Jones $9 million per-year during the season, making it clear they didn’t simply draft Dillon to save money for other positions.