The Lions and Darius Slay appear to be nearing the end of the road with their seven-year NFL marriage as ESPN's Adam Schefter reports Detroit has spoken to "multiple teams" across the league about a potential trade for the Pro Bowl cornerback. The belief among other clubs, according to Schefter, is that Slay will be traded this offseason. That said, the Lions are "adamant on value." That's what makes any potential deal regarding Slay rather tricky. Not only would a team acquiring him then be required to give him a brand new contract, but they'd also need to make it worthwhile for Detroit in terms of compensation. That likely means some significant draft capital in exchange for one of the league's best corners on top of a potential market-setting deal.
The 29-year-old is currently about to enter the final year of the four-year, $48.15 million extension he signed with the Lions back in 2016 and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in 2021. Of course, whichever team deals for Slay would likely also ink him to a deal that prevents him from hitting the open market anytime soon. That's another hurdle in any potential trade for Slay. Any team that trades for Slay will also likely have to make him the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL.
As things stand now, Slay has an average annual salary of $12 million -- just the 14th-most in the NFL at his position. Slay comes with an approximately $13.4 million cap hit for 2020, but that could be re-worked with a new extension. If the Lions do, in fact, trade Slay, they'd still be on the hook for his $2.9 million dead cap hit.
Slay noted leading up to Super Bowl LIV that with the Lions, who at the 2019 NFL Trade Deadline, but it appears things have now gotten to a point where both sides are looking towards a future without one another.
Slay's production has fallen off a bit since his eight-interception campaign in 2017 where he also defended 26 total passes, but he has still had dominant stretches of play since then. During a Pro Bowl season in 2019, the former second-round pick had two interceptions and 13 passes defensed, while totaling 46 tackles.
He certainly has plenty of prime years left in him, but the jury is still out on where he'll actually spend them.