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#pounditSaturday, April 10, 2021

Articles tagged: Detroit Lions

Report: Lions source says Darius Slay was ‘major cancer’ last season

Darius Slay

Darius Slay is thrilled to be with the Philadelphia Eagles now, and it sounds like some with the Detroit Lions think it’s better for the team chemistry that he’s gone.

Slay was drafted by the Lions in the second round in 2013 and had been with them his entire career until now. However, he had issues with Matt Patricia since the head coach took over the team.

Slay told the Detroit Free Press on Thursday that he lost respect for Patricia when the new head coach made an example out of Slay during training camp in 2018 over the cornerback posting on social media. That negative first impression stuck with Slay, who still described his relationship with Patricia as “solid” last season.

Still, some others didn’t see it that way.

One Lions source told the Free Press’ Dave Birkett that Slay was a “major cancer” last season and would “sit in meetings and not pay attention” then “go into the locker room and tell other players how the coaches are full of s–t.”

Slay read the article and laughed at it via social media.

He also didn’t like that somebody aired him out anonymously.

Slay believes that the Lions cleared out the players who didn’t fit with Patricia and are bringing in new ones. The trade of Quandre Diggs last season upset many of the team’s players.

Slay is in a happier place now and is getting a nice fat contract from the Eagles. Patricia is building the Lions in the way that he wants. If the former Patriots defensive coordinator doesn’t turn them around, he’ll be viewed as another example of a coach trying to take over like he’s Bill Belichick before winning anything and building relationships with his players. It sounds like that may have been the issue between him and Slay.

You should read the entire Free Press article on Slay for more.

Darius Slay traded to Eagles from Lions

Darius Slay

The Philadelphia Eagles are revamping their secondary after they released veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins this week, and they have now acquired one of the best cornerbacks in football.

The Eagles are sending a third-round draft pick and a fifth-round pick to the Detroit Lions in exchange for Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay. Slay will receive an extension as part of the deal that will make him one of the highest-paid corners in football. The contract is worth $50 million over three seasons and includes $30 million guaranteed, according to Slay’s agent Drew Rosenhaus.

ESPN’s Josina Anderson first reported on Wednesday evening that the Eagles and Lions were working on a trade involving Slay.

Slay has made the Pro Bowl in each of the last three seasons, and he was set to earn just $10 million next season. That is well below market value for the top cornerbacks in the league, so you can understand why he wanted a new contract. The 29-year-old had 46 tackles and two interceptions last season. He has 19 career interceptions.

Having a strong secondary will be important for the Eagles, especially after the Dallas Cowboys just signed Amari Cooper to a huge extension. Slay will give Philly a major boost in that department.

Lions sign Desmond Trufant, can still look to trade Darius Slay

Detroit Lions logo

The Detroit Lions are making an addition to their secondary, which will ease the potential departure of Darius Slay.

Detroit is signing cornerback Desmond Trufant to a 2-year deal worth $21 million, with $14 million guaranteed, according to ESPN’s Jordan Schultz.

Trufant had 18 tackles and four interceptions in nine games for the Falcons last season before suffering a broken forearm.

Adding Trufant will allow Detroit to continue shopping Darius Slay. Slay has been looking for a new contract and wants to be highly paid. A report last month said the Lions were open to trading him.

This may be what Detroit needed in order to have the confidence to get what they want for Slay in a trade.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai to sign with Lions

Detroit Lions logo

The Detroit Lions have made a big move to land Big V.

According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Media, the Lions will sign Halapoulivaati Vaitai to a five-year deal worth $50 million.

After cutting Rick Wagner earlier in the week, the Lions needed a starter at right tackle. Vaitai should fill that role after being squeezed out of a starting job by the depth the Philadelphia Eagles had.

Vaitai has started 20 games in four seasons. It’ll be a big step up for him starting full time, but the Lions clearly believe he can do it considering how much money they’re giving him. It’s a risk, but clearly one they don’t mind taking.

Is Matthew Stafford pushing for trade from Lions?

Matthew Stafford

There have been widespread rumors about a possible Matthew Stafford trade during the offseason, but those rumors have been firmly denied by the Detroit Lions. There’s a new theory regarding why — and that’s that it’s not the organization itself driving those rumors.

According to Michael Silver of NFL Media, some coaches and executives around the league believe that Stafford is the one pushing for a trade from the Lions, not the other way around.

The Lions have been aggressive about denying these rumors, and Stafford’s camp not so much. It would be easy to understand why Stafford might want out: he just turned 32, the Lions don’t appear close to contending, and there could be high-profile quarterback jobs available this offseason. However, with the Lions appearing staunchly opposed to the idea, this definitely doesn’t seem likely at this time.

Lions GM Bob Quinn emphatically shoots down Matthew Stafford trade rumors

Matthew Stafford

The Detroit Lions hold the third overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, and there has been some speculation that they could look to trade Matthew Stafford and select a quarterback at that spot. According to Lions general manager Bob Quinn, the first part is not going to happen.

A report from WDIV-TV in Detroit late Wednesday night claimed the Lions have been in discussions about trading Stafford for “a couple of weeks.” Stafford’s wife Kelly breathed more life into the speculation when she posted on Instagram that she wouldn’t mind moving to Los Angeles “if Detroit is done with us.”

Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reached out to Quinn for his thoughts on the report, and Quinn shot it down in no uncertain terms. The GM told Birkett in a text message that the rumors are “100% false!!”

Stafford carries a cap hit of about $27 million for next season, and he has dealt with a significant back injury over the past two years. He missed eight games this past season because of it, but he was having his best year as a pro prior to that. The 32-year-old had 2,499 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and just five interceptions in eight games before the back injury sidelined him.

One option the Lions could explore is drafting a quarterback and having him sit behind Stafford for a year or two. Detroit would have to absorb $24.8 million in dead money if they released Stafford this offseason, but that number drops significantly if they part ways with him prior to the 2021 season.

Quinn made some comments last month that made it seem like the Lions expect to have Stafford back next season, so it would quite the surprise if that plan changes.

Lions ‘totally comfortable’ with Matthew Stafford as QB in 2020

Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford endured a tough season in 2019 that saw him fail to appear in all 16 games for the first time in nearly a decade, but it sounds like the Detroit Lions expect the veteran quarterback to be all-systems go heading forward.

With Stafford having dealt with a serious back injury that held him out of half the season, there has been speculation that the Lions could have second thoughts about the nearly $27 million salary cap hit the QB carries next year. However, Detroit general manager Bob Quinn told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday that he is “totally comfortable” entering the 2020 season with Stafford.

“He’s going to be in full health once the offseason program starts its course,” Quinn said, via Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press. “He’s pretty much at full health. Talked to him about 10 days ago. He was in the office, so he’s feeling great, he’s in a good mindset. He’s excited.”

The Lions have the third overall pick in a deep quarterback draft, so it would not be a shock if they took a QB in that spot. That would likely signal that they do not expect Stafford to be with the team for, say, five more years, but Stafford’s roster spot should be safe in the short-term. Detroit would have to absorb $24.8 million in dead money if they released Stafford this offseason. That number drops significantly if they part ways with him prior to the 2021 season.

Aside from all the financial logistics, Stafford was having his best season as a pro before the back injury sidelined him this year. He had 2,499 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and just five interceptions in eight games. Stafford also showcased his toughness by playing through the injury for a long time. The Lions could do a lot worse.

Lions commit to Matt Patricia for 2020, lay out their expectations

Matt Patricia

Matt Patricia is going to get an opportunity to coach the Detroit Lions for a third year, but ownership has made it clear it will be his last if the team is not in the playoff hunt late in the season.

On Tuesday, Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford told reporters that both Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn will return in 2020. However, Ford said Detroit’s ownership group expects Patricia to make staff changes and essentially made it clear he will be fired if the team doesn’t have a winning record next December.

The Lions have lost seven games in a row and are going to finish in last place in the NFC North for a second consecutive season. Patricia was likely given the benefit of the doubt this year because Matthew Stafford has been out for more than a month with a back injury, and he was having one of the best seasons of his career prior to that. Although, Detroit had lost four of the last five games in which Stafford played.

Detroit went 9-7 in both 2016 and 2017 before firing Jim Caldwell and bringing in Patricia, so you can understand why fans are frustrated. Patricia cracked a clever joke about his job security after the Lions’ latest loss on Sunday, but he will be on a very short leash next season.

10 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 15

Devlin Duck Hodges

The NFL regular season is winding down, and the stakes are high. As clarity starts to develop in some of the playoff races, the pressure increases for those still in contention. It’s not just them, though; every team has players fighting for jobs, and even teams long out of the playoff hunt are still trying very hard to bolster their reputations and statistics down the stretch.

So who failed to deliver? Who disappointed in Week 15? Here’s a look at some who did.

Duck Hodges, QB, Steelers

The Steelers have been winning games this season by relying on their defense and hoping their offense doesn’t screw it up, or does just enough to win. They needed a little more than that from their offense on Sunday, but they didn’t get it. Duck Hodges was intercepted four times and sacked four times in a 17-10 loss. They were up 10-7 and in Buffalo territory before Duck threw a game-changing interception that allowed the Bills to flip the field and tie the game. Then with the Steelers hoping for some magic late to tie the game, Duck threw interceptions in the end zone on consecutive possessions. He just wasn’t able to do enough.

Los Angeles Rams’ defense

The Rams defense has actually been a pretty sturdy unit except for a couple games, like the ones against Baltimore and Tampa Bay. On Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys joined those groups, putting up 28 first half points and 44 overall on the Rams. The rush defense was the Rams’ real weakness. Both Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott ran for over 100 yards and got basically whatever they wanted whenever they touched the ball. It was a big setback for the Rams, who at 8-6 are facing an uphill playoff climb.

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Lions given hefty fine for failure to report Matthew Stafford injury

Matthew Stafford

The Detroit Lions have become the latest team to be fined for violating the NFL’s injury report policy.

The league fined the Lions organization $75,000 for their failure to properly update Matthew Stafford’s status prior to a Nov. 10 game against the Chicago Bears. Coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn were also fined.

The Lions listed Stafford as questionable in the leadup to that game, and he was reported to be out on Sunday morning. Inconsistencies ultimately emerged in the handling of the injury. Some players said at the time they were aware as of Saturday that Stafford was unlikely to play, which, at best, should have led to a designation of doubtful. The result is a pretty severe financial fine for the Lions in the context of other penalties for the same policy violation.