Golden Tate contract talks likely to wait until summer

The Detroit Lions have aggressively extended the contracts of a number of key contributors under general manager Bob Quinn, and if the pattern holds, wide receiver Golden Tate could be next on the docket.

Quinn said he hasn’t thought that far ahead, preferring to explore that possibility later in the summer, well into the offseason program, and with the chaos of the draft in the rearview mirror.

I think all those things, in my time here, have happened in the summer, Quinn said. I think our concentration and our focus right now is on the draft. Things that come down the road after that, they’ll come and go and we’ll talk through it.

The biggest difference is Tate’s age. He’ll turn 30 during training camp, which could limit how much the Lions are looking to invest in him, both in terms of contract length and financially.

Regardless, cap space shouldn’t be an issue. The team has approximately $11 million remaining and Quinn intends to enter the season with a healthy buffer, just for reasons such as this.

We always leave a buffer, Quinn said. I’m not getting into specifics about how much. But there’s practice squad salaries, there’s draft picks, there’s injury replacements during the season, there’s possible extensions in training camp.

There’s a myriad of things that we always keep a buffer for, he said. You’re never going to see us go close to the cap this time of year. That’s just not good business. You always have to keep that for contingency plans and for emergency plans during the year.

Maybe that’s good enough for Seattle these days: Dress different, act like the masses. It wasn’t good enough before, though, when the Seahawks nurtured an identity, lived by their own rules and stayed late at the playoff party every year.

Maybe this is Seattle’s new winning formula. It’s been other franchises’ winning formula, to be sure. But the Seahawks had their own formula, and if they had employed a more reliable kicker last season — another common theme they have adopted to their detriment — they might still be winning with it today.

Much of this, of course, is simply the way NFL business is conducted these days. Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett and Earl Thomas (if and when he is moved out) were going to face the fate of every player who signs a big deal in his prime. No matter how much they’ve won, how much they’ve redefined their positions and how much they’ve created unique identities, their team was going to want someone younger and cheaper sooner rather than later.