Source: Lions trade CB Slay to Eagles for picks

The Detroit Lions have traded star cornerback Darius Slay to the Philadelphia Eagles, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Detroit will receive a 3rd-round pick and a 5th-round pick in the trade, according to Schefter.

After the deal, the Eagles and Slay reached an agreement on a three-year, $50 million extension that includes $30 million guaranteed, Slay’s agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN.‬

The Lions drafted Slay in the second round of the 2013 draft out of Mississippi State and inserted him into the starting lineup immediately. He lost his gig after two weeks — and didn’t start again until Week 13 of his rookie year.

It was the only time in Slay’s career he hasn’t been a full-time starter. He took over the main cornerback role opposite Rashean Mathis in 2014 and by the end of that season had become one of the top young corners in the league, notching his first two career interceptions and breaking up 17 passes — the first of six straight seasons where he would have double-digit pass breakups.

Slay took another step in the 2017 season, where he led the NFL with eight interceptions and 26 pass breakups, leading him to his only first-team AP All-Pro selection and the first of three straight Pro Bowl nods.

He became Detroit’s best cornerback over the past half-decade, playing in 103 games with 94 starts, intercepting 19 passes for 265 yards and one touchdown. He’s also defended 104 passes, forced one fumble and recovered two fumbles.

As he ascended, Slay signed a four-year, $50 million contract extension in July, 2016 – which made him one of the top-paid corners in the NFL at the time. By the time the 2019 season came around, Slay chose to not attend voluntary spring workouts and mandatory minicamp to try and leverage a contract extension for the Lions. The strategy did not work as Slay reported for training camp without an extension.

He played the 2019 season and now enters 2020 in a contract year, once again hoping to be paid as one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL. In February, Slay told ESPN he had prepared his family for the possibility he would not be with Detroit this season. He has lived year-round most years since being drafted, although is in the process of building a permanent home in Houston for his family to live full-time.

“It’s a business so it should be looked at as a business aspect of it,” Slay said. “If it was up to me, I would love to be here my whole career. But one thing about a lot of stuff that comes, first is my family so I’ll do what’s best for my family, for them first and put my family in great position to never have to want for nothing.

“So that’s my goal, and if that’s being [in Detroit], I’m here. If it ain’t, then I ain’t.”

Slay has been through trade speculation since the middle of the 2019 season, when he spoke up saying “nobody’s safe” following the Quandre Diggs trade to Seattle. It was a move Slay was not happy about – and while he continued to play and made his third Pro Bowl, there were continued questions about his long-term future in Detroit.

Off the field, Slay became connected to the Detroit community more than most athletes over the past decade. He continually shows up to local high school and college games on his own volition – often signing every autograph and taking every selfie – and runs local impromptu camps to help players learn the correct way to play football.

He also befriended receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, who is in the 2020 NFL draft, and Michigan State point guard Rocket Watts after attending their games – trying to offer advice if they want about anything they might ask.

“Overall, for a high school player, they look up to dudes like that and it just means a lot to them,” Watts told ESPN last year. “Just knowing that a dude in the NFL that has already been in your shoes, to reach out to you and have somebody like that you can talk to and, you know, get advice and stuff like that.

“It means a lot.”

Now, Slay will likely continue that tradition — just in a different city.