Trading Golden Tate is a win for Detroit Lions’ future

Lions wide receiver Golden Tate looks over his shoulder on a touchdown run on a pass from Matthew Stafford in the first half in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. Eric Gay, AP

Face it folks.

The Detroit Lions are nowhere near winning the Super Bowl.

This team cannot even call itself a viable playoff contender, not after that dreadful performance on Sunday against Seattle.

So Lions general manager Bob Quinn made a cold, calculated business decision and took a bold, shrewd step by trading Golden Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles for a third-round pick, which is a fantastic return for a guy who is outta here in a couple of months.

This is a win for the future. A win for Kenny Golladay, who has an opportunity to become more productive. And a win for rational thinking.

Of course, many Lions fans were stunned.

Because they have rarely seen Lions management make logical business decisions.

This is so not the Lions’ way, an organization that usually falls asleep when other teams are making moves.

This is actually the Patriot way, to be active at the trade deadline.

From 2008 to 2018, the Patriots made seven trades near the trade deadline.

At times, the Patriots added talent — for instance, in 2016, the Patriots acquired Lions linebacker Kyle Van Noy for future considerations, which turned out to be a sixth-round pick.

But they also subtracted talent. In 2012, the Patriots traded away a 33-year-old Randy Moss to Minnesota for a third-round pick.

Is that comparable to the Lions trading their leading receiver? No. Not at all. That season, Moss had only nine catches for 139 yards and three TDs through four games. And the Patriots went 14-2 without Moss.

Of course, the Lions are nowhere near being a 14-2 team.

Which is the main point.

They traded away a player who was leaving for a third-round pick, and third-round picks can develop into starters.

Would I have a different view if the Lions had won on Sunday? Or even played respectable?

Or if they had beaten the 49ers?

Or if it had shown up against the Jets?

Yes, on all accounts.

But this team is what it is, a 3-4 team that beat a banged up New England Patriots team. It beat Green Bay when the Packers’ kicker forgot how to kick. And found a way to run the ball against Miami.

After that?

The Lions have been nothing but inconsistent, a team with a bunch of holes on defense.

Of course, the move is a shock.

Personally, I thought the Lions were in a great position, heading into the Seattle game. They had just improved their defense by adding Damon Harrison.

But they came out and revealed who they are. They are closer to the team that lost to the Jets than the team that ran all over Miami.

Will losing Tate absolutely cripple the Lions’ offense?

No.

It is actually a big opportunity for Golladay. He has just three catches for 49 yards and no TDs in his last two games. Shoot, he had just one catch for 12 yards against Seattle.

Golladay is a guy who has an incredibly high ceiling. But he needs to develop, according to none other than former Lions great Herman Moore.

Golladay has to be a little bit more like Tate. He has to learn how to become more of a complete receiver. He needs to be more versatile. He has to be more than a one-dimensional receiver.

And by removing Tate, that could, and should, open up more opportunities for Golladay.

The Lions were not going to pay Tate. So they got rid of him and added a third-round pick, which is a tremendous return.

Quinn did all of this, after realizing what seems obvious, the future is more promising than the present.

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