Detroit Lions, Darius Slay agree to 4-year, $50.2M extension

Dave Birkett
Detroit Free Press
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Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay.

Darius Slay wanted to get a contract extension done before the start of the training camp, and hours before the Detroit Lions' first practice of the summer, their best cornerback got his wish.

Slay agreed to a four-year extension worth $50.2 million total. According to reports, the contract includes $23 million fully guaranteed at the time of signing.

Slay said last month that he considered himself one of the seven best cornerbacks in the NFL and wanted to be paid like one.

His new deal works out to an average of $12.55 million per season. According to Spotrac, just six cornerbacks will make more this fall.

"I’m a top guy, that’s it," Slay said during June's minicamp. "I ain’t no real cocky guy like that, but I’m just confident in my game and what I put on film. I’ve been very, very productive for the past two years. Every year I has got better, so I feel like this year is going to be the best year and I’m going to make that."

Slay emerged as the Lions' clear-cut No. 1 cornerback last year, when he had 59 tackles and two interceptions and sometimes traveled with opposing teams' No. 1 receivers.

A second-round pick out of Mississippi State in 2013, Slay had a rocky rookie season but became a full-time starter in his second year, when he started all 16 games, made two interceptions and blanketed Dez Bryant in the Lions' playoff loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

"He's a great corner," Lions receiver Andre Caldwell said last month. "He's out there making plays. I don't know how to put a number on it, but I went against (Aqib) Talib and Chris Harris (while playing with the Denver Broncos) all last year and those are some great corners, and he stacks right up with them. Play making. Quick feet. Fast. So I definitely say he's a top talent in this league."

By signing Slay, whose rookie contract was set to expire after the season, to an extension now, the Lions can save their franchise tag next off-season for other members of their vaunted 2013 draft class.

Punter Sam Martin, running back Theo Riddick, defensive end Devin Taylor and guard Larry Warford also will be free agents after the season. Ziggy Ansah, the Lions' first-round pick in 2013, is under contract for next season on a fifth-year rookie option.

Slay is the second defensive stalwart the Lions have signed to a long-term extension in as many summers.

Last year, the Lions signed DeAndre Levy to a four-year, $33.8-million extension in August, only to have the linebacker miss most of the season with a hip injury.

The Lions placed Levy on the non-football injury list before the start of practice today.

Contact Dave Birkett: Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. Download our Lions Xtra app for free on Apple and Android!

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