Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tate Willing to Take 'Hometown Discount'

By Tyler Conway on February 5, 2014

Golden Tate knows the riches that can come with being a member of a Super Bowl-winning team hitting free agency. He doesn't care. He wants to be a Seattle Seahawk-just as long as the price is fair.

Tate, who is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, appeared on Sports Radio 950 KJR in Seattle on Feb. 4 to discuss the team's 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos. He was asked about his future. While Tate did not unequivocally say he'd be coming back in 2014, he was clear he'd take a Best Buy to make it happen, per Curtis Crabtree of Pro Football Talk:

I probably shouldn't even say this right now but I'm going to say it anyway just because I love Seattle, honestly, I would rather take a little less to be happy and win ball games than to take way more and go to a crappy city where the fans don't give a crap about the team. You win a game once a month of something like that. I would much rather stay in the situation that I have now for a little less than to go and try to break the bank somewhere else.

Based on his quote, the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders and other perpetual last-place finishers need not apply for Tate's services.

That should be no surprise considering the dichotomy between Tate's NFL success and the lack thereof his Notre Dame teams had. Tate was a member of the late-period Charlie Weis teams with the Irish, appearing in just one bowl game and never earning more than seven wins.

In his four seasons with Pete Carroll and Co. in Seattle, Tate has never won fewer than seven games. The Seahawks have made the playoffs in three of those four campaigns, including this year's Super Bowl run.

Tate, 25, was mostly held in check by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on Sunday, catching just three passes for 17 yards. But he was integral to Seattle's effort during the regular season.

With Percy Harvin limited to just one regular-season game, Tate stepped into the No. 1 wideout role and had the best season of his young career. He set career highs in receptions (64) and yards (898) and quietly graded out well in advanced metrics. Football Outsiders' DVOA metric ranked Tate the No. 19 receiver in football, while Pro Football Focus' wide receiver rating (subscription required) had Tate ninth.

It was a near-perfect walk year for someone who struggled mightily in each of his first two pro seasons. And though Tate was clear he would like to remain in Seattle, he still spoke clearly as someone who knew his value around the league was rising.

Gregory Bull/Associated Press

"At the same time, I don't want to be disrespected by any means," Tate said. "I want to be able to take care of myself and my family for the rest of my life at the same time. We'll see. That's what I have my agent for."

Tate, ideally, is a No. 2 receiver for most teams. He's a good route runner and exudes toughness and confidence, but he's not much of a big-play threat and lacks ideal size for someone playing on the outside. As B/R's Cian Fahey notes, Seattle may have a better long-term option to pair with Harvin already in-house with Doug Baldwin:

Golden Tate will give the Seahawks a home-town discount, unless it's substantial, I'd rather go for Baldwin.

- Cian Fahey (@Cianaf) February 5, 2014

The Seahawks' offense also didn't seem to lose a beat with Tate struggling to get open on Sunday. Russell Wilson completed 18 of 25 passes for 206 yards, with Baldwin accounting for a team-high five catches for 66 yards and a touchdown. Seattle also seems to have found a keeper in undrafted free agent Jermaine Kearse, who was just behind Baldwin with 65 yards.

Tate is a good player, but for the Seahawks, he's ultimately expendable. With long-term contracts coming up the pike for Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Russell Wilson and more, there just may be no room to keep Tate around and have financial flexibility.

Hometown discount or not.

Follow Tyler Conway on Twitter.

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