Free-agent wide receiver Golden Tate and the Detroit Lions have agreed to a five-year contract, according to the team website (via Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports):
Golden Tate five-year deal with the Lions, per the team's website.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 12, 2014
Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official website confirmed the move, per the Lions on Twitter:
Josina Anderson of ESPN spoke to Tate, who gave the details of the agreement:
Golden Tate to me just now: "Yes I am taking the deal (with the Lions). It is a 5-year deal for $31M and $13.25M guaranteed."— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 12, 2014
Tate also commented on his Twitter account after the announcement:
Wow I'm officially a Detroit #Lion. Extremely excited about the opportunity to grow with this organization.— Golden Tate (@ShowtimeTate) March 12, 2014
However Seattle I am extremely thankful for the support and love the city has given me over the past 4 years. It's tough to leave such a— Golden Tate (@ShowtimeTate) March 12, 2014
Great place. I appreciate everything the city, coaches, and teammates have done for me. I will always value how great seattle was to me— Golden Tate (@ShowtimeTate) March 12, 2014
The 25-year-old wideout is heading into his fifth season in the NFL and coming off a Super Bowl run with the Seattle Seahawks in 2013.
A former second-round pick by Seattle in 2010, Tate has improved every season since he entered the league, recording 64 receptions for 898 yards and five touchdowns last season to lead all Seahawks receivers.
Tate was also one of the toughest receivers to bring down in 2013, according to Pro Football Focus (via FFToolbox.com on Twitter):
Pete Damilatis of Pro Football Focus sheds light on an aspect of Tate's game that wasn't up to par:
Golden Tate has dropped 5 of 149 catchable passes in the last 3 seasons, lowest rate of any WR. Best hands in the NFL. #Lions— Pete Damilatis (@PFF_Pete) March 12, 2014
Tate's four-year rookie deal expired following last season and he became an unrestricted free agent this March. Unsurprisingly, his improved production caught the eye of several NFL teams.
In 58 regular-season games, Tate has caught 165 balls for 2,195 yards and 15 touchdowns, averaging slightly more than 13 yards per reception.
Shortly before the free-agency period officially began, Tate expressed confidence in his abilities and backed it up with his on-field production, per Sirius XM NFL Radio (via NBC Sports Pro Football Talk's Curtis Crabtree):
At the end of the day, I did my job. I performed on the field. I made plays. I helped my team win. At this point, I’m just thinking everything is going to work out. It’s going to work out the way it should work out regardless of whether it’s in Seattle or elsewhere. Obviously, I would like to be in Seattle but the hard part is over. I did my job, I handled my business. I stayed healthy and was reliable all year. Each year I’ve shown to be better than the last. With that being said, I’ve done my part so I can’t really worry about it.
Tate will certainly have plenty of positives to build on in 2014 and in the years to come following a career year in 2013 that ended with a Super Bowl title. His steady improvement in Seattle bodes well for the next chapter of his career and can be a source of motivation if he struggles in the future.
Still, Tate's recent success means that he won't be catching defenses off guard anymore and will have lofty expectations to live up to.
But based on what we've seen from the former Notre Dame playmaker since he entered the league, all indications are that Tate will continue to be a thorn in defenders' sides.
The Lions have been searching for a quality threat to line up opposite superstar Calvin Johnson. Tate can serve as the perfect second option in Detroit's passing offense and should be a valuable weapon for Matthew Stafford.