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Trade Rumors: Darius Slay put on block by Lions, would Chargers be interested?

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Detroit Lions v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

It’s not often that you find cornerbacks with the reputation of Darius Slay on the trade market, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Monday that the Detroit Lions have spoken to several teams about a deal for him. Slay has made the Pro Bowl in each of the last three seasons and was first team All-Pro in 2017 when he had a league-high eight interceptions.

What does Slay cost in cap dollars?

He signed a four-year, $48 million extension in July of 2016 and that deal expires after next season. The 29-year-old has one year left on his contract, including a $10 million base salary and a $2.9 million prorated bonus that will fall on the Lions’ cap sheet. The acquiring team would be responsible for his base salary and a $250,000 per game roster bonus.

What would Slay cost in trade compensation?

Again, teams have not made these deals very often, though they could become more commonplace as organizations focus more on cap management. On the same day, the LA Rams traded away Marcus Peters and traded for Jalen Ramsey; Peters netted them a player (Kenny Young) and a fifth round pick, while Ramsey cost them two firsts and a fourth. Peters was nearing the end of his deal but signed an extension and was named to the All-Pro roster, so you could argue that they really sold themselves short on that one.

However, since Detroit seems to be in the position of trade talks, they seem to have lost some leverage already and I’d wonder if the compensation for a potential one-year rental of Slay would be lower than what we expect. But I really have no idea. I would be curious to hear what others think Slay is worth and what they’d give up for him.

Would Slay help the LA Chargers?

Of course Slay would be an upgrade to the spot opposite of Casey Hayward and would give the Chargers one of the better cornerback duos in the NFL at a time when pass defense is of the utmost importance. I would also caution that Slay’s best season by far was 2017 and his last two seasons — despite the Pro Bowl nods, which we know have inherent issues of popularity — seem to be trending in the wrong direction. He is also playing on one of the worst teams in football and that could be affecting his play in a negative way. Do we know yet that the Chargers will be one of the better teams in football next season though?

All of this is likely moot due to Tom Telesco’s unwillingness to make any trades. I mentioned Slay in my cap casualty write-up for the Lions but figured it wouldn’t be necessary to move him unless Slay demanded it. At this point, it seems like Slay has at least demanded a new deal and if Detroit doesn’t want to pay it, they will look for the team that will.

Would you feel comfortable with a new deal for a 29-year-old Slay or should LA be looking for a younger cornerback with potential to grow, even if we can’t guarantee that will ever happen like it did for Slay?