Lions WR Golden Tate on the Jarvis Landry Deal, Wanting an Extension with Detroit

Golden Tate, who’s entering the final year of his contract with the Lions and hoping to sign an extension with team this summer, said his first reaction to Jarvia Landry’s deal was, “Whoa,” and not just because it could impact the money he makes in 2019 and beyond, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.

“Guys are getting paid a looot of money,” Lions wide receiver Golden Tate said in a phone interview. “There’s guys who aren’t even every-down receivers who are getting paid a lot of money, so that’s obviously refreshing as a receiver to see going into this market here soon.”

“The wide receiver market is very high right now, and it wasn’t very high when I came out when I was in free agency the first time, unfortunately,” Tate said. “It’s pretty exciting. It’s almost like, with these guys that are signing their first big deal, it’s been set. I would have never thought receivers today would be getting paid I guess what quarterbacks were getting paid just four years ago.”

“I’m going into Year 9 and if I don’t sign an extension then it’ll be Year 10 that I’m going into,” Tate said. “I don’t know how teams view 10-year vets, but my goal is just to not show any decline. I’m just trying to maintain at least 90 catches and at least 1,000 yards and show, hey, I’m still holding on strong, baby. Let’s keep this thing going.”

“Right now I’m just kind of focusing on getting to know Coach Patricia and showing up to work ready to work every day so he gets a feel for my type of personality, what I’m going to bring to this team,” Tate said. “I’m trying not to worry about it too much. Obviously, we all know that I’d love to get something done, but I go into each year just trying to prove myself because there’s a new batch of guys that are probably coming in to try to take my job.”

Lions Ink Five Rookies Including First-Round Pick Frank Ragnow

The Lions signed five draft picks as rookie minicamp opens, including first-round pick Frank Ragnow, Kevin Patra of NFL.com reports.

The No. 20 overall selection, Ragnow signed a four-year deal expected to be worth around $11.8 million total. As with all first-round selections, the deal comes with a team option for a fifth season.

The Arkansas offensive lineman became a hot name as the draft approached and was the first center selected.

Lions general manager Bob Quinn said after the draft he fielded several trade offers for the 20th pick but felt he couldn’t pass on a chance to add a rock like Ragnow to the middle of the offensive line.

“Everything we’re about is kind of what he is,” Quinn said, via MLive.com. “So at that point in time, it was a real easy pick. He was a guy we kind of had our eyes on for a while, and it kind of worked out that way.”

Two Former Lions Employees Sue the Organization, Clam Discrimination

Two former Lions employees who claim they experienced unequal treatment and disparaging comments because of their race have filed suit against the team, alleging they were fired because of racial and age discrimination, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.

Robert Yanagi, the Lions’ long-time director of video operations, and assistant video director Michael Richardson filed a lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit Court last month seeking damages in excess of $25,000 for being terminated in January “without justification.”

The Lions released a statement on Tuesday afternoon, saying, “we are aware of the report. Because the report involves ongoing litigation, it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this time.”

Yanagi, a 58-year-old man of Japanese descent, responded to requests for comment Tuesday. Richardson, a 52-year-old African-American, could not be reached for comment.

The Lions fired both Yanagi and Richardson in January, while retaining two video assistants, and replaced them in February with former Syracuse and Indianapolis Colts video director Erik Kunttu.

According to the suit, which also names the NFL as a defendant, Richardson complained to the Lions’ human resources department last December that he was subjected to “racist comments by an employee in the Detroit Lions scouting department and disparate treatment by an employee” of the team’s operations department.

In the same meeting, Richardson said that Yanagi previously asked the same employee to “stop making jokes about his race,” the filing says.

Days after Richardson’s complaint, Lions general manager Bob Quinn met with Richardson and acknowledged his complaint of race discrimination, the suit says, while also raising “concerns about Richardson’s work performance.”

Lions Deal DT Akeem Spence to the Dolphins for a 7th Round Pick in 2019

The Lions on Thursday traded defensive tackle Akeem Spence to the Dolphins for a 2019 seventh-round draft choice, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.

Spence, 26, had a career-high three sacks for the Lions last season and started the final 11 games of the year after Haloti Ngata suffered a season-ending injury.

Spence, 6-foot-1 and 307 pounds, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

In Miami, he’ll be reunited with former Lions defensive line coach, Kris Kocurek, who accepted the same position with the Dolphins in January.

Lions Earn an ‘B-‘ for Their Draft According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

The draft grades from ‘Draft Guru’ Mel Kiper Jr. are out, and one team that got a good grade is that of the Lions, who according to Kiper got an ‘B-‘ for their collection of players over the two days.

Here’s what he had to say:

Matt Patricia’s first draft as coach of the Lions could be defined by whether they finally find a consistent running game. The O-line and running back focus were clear. Detroit moved up eight spots to No. 43 (and surrendered pick 117) to take Kerryon Johnson, who had 20 total touchdowns last season. Johnson was my ninth-ranked back, and I had higher players on my board, plus the injury concerns at Auburn give me pause. There’s no doubt that he’s talented, but is he going to be a three-down back? Can he be relied upon in pass protection? Detroit finished last in rushing yards and yards per rush last season, so it’s impossible to get worse. If Johnson can make an instant impact as a rookie — and maybe break the streak of 68 straight games without a 100-yard rusher — that deal might be worth it.

Detroit helped the running game with center Frank Ragnow in Round 1 (20), and got a potential steal at 153 in offensive tackle Tyrell Crosby, who played left tackle at Oregon and had a foot injury in 2016. And fullback Nick Bawden late in the seventh round is going to help there, too. The best true blocking fullback in this draft should make that team. Safety Tracy Walker (82) went higher than I thought he’d go, but the four-year starter impressed teams at the combine. Da’Shawn Hand (114) is a Patriots-type pick — he has all the traits in the world to be a great player, and he could play defensive tackle or defensive end. The Lions gave — who else? — the Patriots a 2019 third-round pick to trade up to get him.

The NFC North is a tough division, and a running game really matters. If Detroit found its workhorse — and players to help him — this could be a good class. But that’s no certainty.

Round/Pick Name Pos College
1/20 Frank Ragnow C ARKANSAS
2/43 Kerryon Johnson RB AUBURN
3/82 Tracy Walker S LOUISIANA
4/114 Da’Shawn Hand DE ALABAMA
5/153 Tyrell Crosby OT OREGON
7/237 Nick Bawden FB SAN DIEGO STATE

Lions DE Ziggy Ansah Expected to Ink Franchise Tender and Report for Workouts

The Lions were hopeful that Ziggy Ansah would take part in a portion of voluntary workouts this offseason so first-year coach Matt Patricia could get to know his star pass rusher.

It appears, they’ll get their wish, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.

NFL Network reported Monday that Ansah will sign his franchise tender and report for workouts on Tuesday when he returns from his trip to Ghana.

Ansah spent more than a month in his homeland this offseason, visiting family and making media appearances.

He led the Lions with 12 sacks last season, and general manager Bob Quinn said last week it was a no-brainer for the team to use the franchise tag on Ansah before the start of free agency.

“That’s something when we were going through the process, Matt got on board and Ziggy was the No. 1 conversation,” Quinn said. “What are we going to do with Ziggy? I had my thoughts. It didn’t take long for me to show Matt why we should do what we did. To have an outside edge rusher that can be as dominant as Ziggy was something that was really appealing to Matt because Matt has had a lot of great players in New England and I think Ziggy would rank right up there with some of the best players that Matt has ever coached.”

Lions Announce 2018 Preseason Opponents

The Lions announced today the team’s 2018 NFL Preseason opponents, which includes a nationally-televised game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday, August 24 (Week 3, CBS). The Lions open with a road contest against the Oakland Raiders in Week 1 before hosting the New York Giants in Week 2 and Cleveland Browns in Week 4 at Ford Field.

Additional dates and times for Lions preseason games will be announced at a later time.

Preseason Week 1 at Oakland Raiders (August 9-12)

In the 2018 NFL Preseason opener, the Lions head to Oakland to face the Raiders in the teams’ third preseason clash since 2012. The Lions and Raiders have met only seven times in the preseason, with Oakland winning the most recent matchup 27-26 in 2014. The Raiders hold the edge in the all-time preseason series with record of 6-1-0.

Preseason Week 2 vs. New York Giants (August 16-19)

In Preseason Week 2, Detroit welcomes the New York Giants to Ford Field for the first time in the preseason since 2008. The teams have faced off against each other 15 previous times in the preseason, with the Lions holding a 10-4-1 record against the Giants. Detroit won 13-10 in the most recent meeting in 2008.

Preseason Week 3 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (August 24, 8:00 p.m. EST)

The Lions conclude their preseason road schedule in Week 3 when the team travels to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers. The contest, which will be broadcast nationally on CBS, will mark the first time the two clubs have ever met during the preseason.

Preseason Week 4 vs. Cleveland Browns (August 30-31)

Detroit closes out the 2018 NFL Preseason at home against the Cleveland Browns, marking the first preseason meeting between the two teams since 2014. The Lions and Browns have squared off in the preseason more than any other Lions opponent with 46 meetings to date. Detroit leads the preseason series with a record of 25-20-1.

Lions WR Restricted FA TJ Jones Inks His Tender to Return to the Team

TJ Jones has signed his free-agent tender and will be back for a fifth season in Detroit, Kyle Meinke of Mlive reports.

Jones, a restricted free-agent, had been offered an original-round tender. He’ll make $1.7 million in 2018, a well-earned pay bump for the former sixth-round pick.

After not playing as a rookie in 2014 because of nerve issues in his arm, then catching just 15 passes the next two seasons combined, he enjoyed something of a breakout in 2017. He served as the top wideout off the bench, earned six starts while Kenny Golladay dealt with an injury and finished with 30 catches for 399 yards and one touchdown.

Jones did miss the final two games of the season with a shoulder injury, though, and underwent offseason surgery. He’s not expected to participate in the conditioning program while he focuses on his rehab, and it remains unclear when he’ll be able to return to the field.