BY MIKE KILLBREATH
CCN Executive Editor
COLUMBUS (CCN) — The Detroit Lions traded Golden Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles Tuesday. The Eagles, defending Super Bowl champions, acquired one of the NFL's top wide receivers by giving the Lions a 3rd round draft choice in the June draft.
The major reason why the Lions decided to trade him likely is because they felt he would command too much money on the open market when he becomes a free agent after this season ends.
Tate has been one of the popular Lions since coming to Detroit four years ago as a free agent after winning a Super Bowl ring with the Seattle Seahawks.
Tate was quarterback Matthew Stafford's favorite target for the past 4 1/2 years. He led the Lions in 7 games this season with 42 receptions. Three of them went for touchdowns this year to give him 22 TD catches with the Lions. He led them with 99 receptions in his first season with them, then hauled in team-high totals of 90 in 2015, 91 in 2016 and 92 in 2017.
Tate signed with the Lions after winning the Super Bowl with the Seahawks in February 2014.
Tate had a career-best 64 catches during Seattle's 2014 campaign that led to the Super Bowl victory. He had 5 TD catches during the championship season to give him 15 during his four-year stay in Seattle.
Tate revealed the trade by taking to his Twitter account and tweeting: " It’s been real DETROIT! I’ll love ya forever. Philly Philly let’s get it!!"
He later released a longer statement on Twitter as follows: "On the plane to Philadelphia, reflecting on my time in Detroit. Can't thank the (Lions') organization enough for the commitment they made to me and my family. I'm proud to say that every time I stepped on the field in honolulu blue, I gave all that I had. Thank you to the Ford family, the coaches and my teammates. We made a lot of memories together that I will never forget. Most of all, I would like to thank the Detroit community for embracing my family and I. Elise and I tried to impact the community through our foundation as much as possible and you guys supported us through every initiative! We are forever thankful!"
Tate had told media members a day earlier that he would be surprised if the Lions traded him before Tuesday's trading deadline, but added that he understood how "football is a business."
Lions' General Manager Bob Quinn released a statement to the media about the trade as follows: “On behalf of our entire organization, I would like to sincerely thank Golden for his countless contributions to our team during his time as a Detroit Lion. For more than four years, Golden displayed an unwavering commitment to not only his coaches and teammates, but also the City of Detroit. The impact he made on and off the field set an example for our team and serves as a testament to his character. We wish Golden and his family the very best in the next step of his career.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Golden Tate was traded Tuesday after 4 1/2 years with the Detroit Lions