BY Steve Rudman 02:53PM 03/12/2014

Tate jumps at the money, $31 million in Detroit

Golden Tate, Seahawks’ leading receiver, said he didn’t want to go to a “crap” city and “crap” team, but went to bankrupt Detroit to play for the 7-9 Lions.

Golden Tate insisted he wanted to remain in Seattle, but jumped at Detroit’s offer of $31 million over five years. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Golden Tate said all the right things about wanting to remain with the Seahawks, even offering a hometown discount in the first few days after the Super Bowl. But the fourth-year wide receiver out of Notre Dame was seduced by Detroit’s cash and five-year commitment Wednesday and signed with the Lions. Tate told ESPN that the deal was for $31 million with $13.25 million guaranteed.

The Seahawks hoped to retain Tate, their leading receiver last season, with a salary in the $5 million per year range, but Tate signed with the first team he visited in free agency, a genuine blow to the Seahawks.

Tate wound up doing exactly the opposite of what he said he wanted to do. A few days after Seattle defeated Denver in the Super Bowl, Tate’s interview with KJR-AM made it sound as if his heart was in Seattle.

“I probably shouldn’t even say this right now, but I’m going to say it anyway just because I love Seattle,” Tate said. “Honestly, I would rather take a little less to be happy and win ballgames than to take way more and go to a crappy city where the fans don’t give a crap about the team . . . you win a game once a month — something like that. I would much rather stay in the situation that I have now for a little less than to go and try to break the bank somewhere else.”

So Tate, who also had interest from the New York Jets and Jacksonville, winds up in Detroit, which filed for bankruptcy in July, with a team that finished 7-9 and out of the playoffs last season. The Lions are one of 13 NFL teams to have never won a Super Bowl.

Tate becomes the third major free agent from the Super Bowl champions to depart Seattle, following DE Red Bryant, who signed a four-year, $17 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars March 8, and DT Clint McDonald, who agreed to a four-year, $12 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday.

The Seahawks have also lost LB O’Brien Schofield, who signed with the Giants two days ago, and safety/special teamer Chris Maragos, who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles Wednesday (Schofield’s deal is in limbo until he is medically cleared to play).

Tate caught 64 passes for 898 yards (14.0 average) last season — both career highs — and five touchdowns. He also had 51 punt returns for 585 yards (11.5 average).

Tate played 762 of the Seahawks’ offensive snaps (75.3 percent), averaged 7.75 yards after the catch per reception, the highest by any NFL wide receiver with at least 15 catches. He also led all receivers with 2.6 yards after contact per catch.

Not only did Tate’s numbers improve every year, he became quarterback Russell Wilson’s favorite receiver. Wilson targeted Tate on 27.7 percent of the routes Tate ran, highest rate on the team. Tate also provided another dimension, his ability as a downfield blocker.

Drafted by the Seahawks in the second round in 2010 (60th overall), Tate caught 165 passes for 2,195 yards and 15 TDs in his four seasons, none more noteworthy than the “Fail Mary” against the Green Bay Packers on Monday night, Sept. 24, 2012.

On the game’s final play, Wilson threw a pass intended for Tate in the corner of the end zone. Tate and M.D. Jennings both hand their hands on the ball. Replacement officials ruled a simultaneous possession, giving Tate and the Seahawks a touchdown and a 14-12 victory. The NFL later acknowledged that Tate should have been called for offensive pass interference for shoving the Packers’ Sam Shields.

Now Tate gets to play the Packers twice each season.

With the Feb. 28 release of Sidney Rice and Tate’s departure, the Seahawks have three primary receivers on the roster: Doug Baldwin (a restricted free agent), Jermaine Kearse and Percy Harvin, who missed almost all of last season with a hip injury before returning for the Super Bowl.

Wide receiver thus becomes a priority for the Seahawks, either during the remaining free agency or in the May NFL draft.


  • tedsfrozenhead

    A healthy Percy Harvin will cushion this loss. Good luck to Golden, I will be wishing him the best and thank him for helping bring a Super Bowl Championship to the 12th Man.

    • 1coolguy

      1 pop upside his head from Thomas, Chancellor or Sherman and he’ll wish he never heard of Detroit! Can’t wait for the Hawks to level any and all “ex-Hawks”.
      I can see him “sandwiched” right now – OUCH!!!
      After all, these guys know all his moves and he can’t outrun Thomas.

    • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

      The sad thing about this is he could have enjoyed the fame right along with Percy had he stayed. The football gods owe us one in keeping Percy healthy this season and i wholeheartedly agree… Percy to the pro bowl and Golden taking up an extra hobby come play off time with all of that spare time he will have doing nothing.

  • jafabian

    The Lions never go to the playoffs and they only throw to Calvin Johnson despite having a decent receiving corps. If his contract is based on incentives he’ll have a hard time meeting some of them. And the econonmy in Detroit is horrible. The city filed for bankruptcy protection not too long ago. That kinda tells you something about living there. I wonder if Golden took all that into consideration?

    Hope he’s happy. However it’ll be interesting to get his thoughts on this decision in the future when he’s spending many January’s at home while the Hawks continue to play.

  • poulsbogary

    I would be curious to see his approach on how to handle the hawk secondary, if they ever play each other. Think he might want to tip-toe around back there against those guys?

    • 1coolguy

      One Sherman pop upside his head and he’ll be on the sideline………….

  • Travis

    I am just not as understanding as the rest of the 12’s. I’m pissed! This reminds me of Clay Bennett and Sonicgate. I understand the money talks, but dont pump me full of sunshine about staying here and not going to a bankrupt city with “crappy fans”, and a “crappy team” Money talks, bullshit walks……..see ya Golden “Bullshit” Tate.

    • Travis

      P.S. You and A-Rod should hang out.

      • jafabian

        I’ve been wondering if he’s aware that Michigan has an income tax and if the fact that the city filed for bankruptcy protection is an issue to him? The economy simply is not good there.

        • 1coolguy

          These guys only see Detroit on game day.
          I suspect he is clueless on the Michigan income tax – the difference between what Seattle was offering (about $4.5) and Detroit, combined with the SUCK living area in Michigan (right now, it’s 11 degrees and snowing!!!), don’t offset leaving Seattle.
          Oh well, blame it on young age.

          • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

            Did you read that in a detroit media outlet? We had 4.5m on the table? if that s the case he really did contradict himself in saying he was plenty willing to take less….the length of contract might be different?It wasnt a huge difference it appears.

            Wow….he sure didnt take accounting when he was at Notre Dame …..

      • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

        Pay~Rod @Take the $$(money)~TATE….thats a good analogy… but one difference?
        Before he signed out(and Copped out) of Seattle?Pay~Rod was asked if money would be a heavily influential factor on where he ends up next season and he bluntly said yes. He didnt offer any air ~violin tactics about how great Seattle was(or that his intent was to take less and stay)…he basically said Im greedy and I will be taking the mammoth contract route~bet on it….

        It was a rare clear moment of honesty from Alex but he did say it.

        I can see why people in Green Bay and St Louis hate him(Tate) so much for his arrogance. The words that leave his mouth are also apparently transparent. Having said that we dont know what Sea told him. Guessing they said something to the effect that we have budget constraints and we have capped a #2 wide receiver here @4million p/yr…thats what we have to give.Under that math?That would be 20m for 5 yrs…If Im Tate?Maybe i take that extra 10m too…as much as Golden runs his mouth im sure the story will come out soon.

        But thank you for your services Mr. Tate…if you feel watching sunsets in Detroit beats watching sunsets over Mount Rainier? More power to you , son. Good luck in your endeavors and the extra spare time you will have on your hands come play off time.

  • 1coolguy

    No problem here.
    He went for the $$$, which is fine, as we’re talking MILLIONS here.
    I am just surprised a better option was not available.
    Detroit has sucked, both geographically and as a team, for many, many years.
    No comparison to Seattle or other teams I would have thought were interested.
    Also, Matt Stafford is not a SB QB. He’s second or third tier, as he doesn’t have it between the ears.

  • 1coolguy

    If Rice can ever get healthy maybe he’d sign an incentive based contact, with a $3m base.
    He’s a China Doll, but I’d take a 1 year risk with the right terms.

  • ll9956

    At first I was baffled by Tate’s decision to go to Detroit, but an article published today stated that Tate gave Seattle a chance to make him an offer, which apparently they did, but Tate thought it was inadequate. I have to wonder what PC and Schneider’s thinking was.

    • jafabian

      Because his total contract puts him in the class of Marques Colson, Steve Smith, and Mike Williams. The guarantee currently puts him with Calvin Johnson. The team won’t break the bank for one player.
      Evidetnly despite his statements on wanting to be remembered as being a part of a winning tradition he’s following Rod Tidwell’s philosophy of “show me da money.” If that’s what he wants, more power to him.

  • hateTate

    A torn ACL sounds good just about now…

  • RadioGuy

    It’s a business at this level and the Lions gave Tate 31 million reasons (13.5 million reasons guaranteed) to move to Detroit. And he’s not going to the worst team in the NFL by any stretch…the Lions aren’t that far off from postseason action.

    However, losing Tate definitely hurts Seatlle: He was the best receiver on a Super Bowl championship team, and you don’t replace guys like that easily. Now it’s REALLY on Harvin to get/stay healthy because he’ll be the only deep threat the Hawks have in 2014.