Kenny Golladay trade rumors and the importance of context




The reports are out there that the New York Giants inquired about Kenny Golladay's availability for a possible trade. Jordan Ranaan of ESPN brought it up on a recent podcast

"I had heard something about this last week. There was at least some conversation about the Giants talking to the Lions about wide receiver Kenny Golladay. My understanding is that it did happen in some shape or form," Raanan said on Breaking Big Blue.

Ranaan also quickly noted any deal was unlikely to happen and it was more of an inquiry than a negotiation. That's what GMs do at the trade deadline - they talk. That's their job.

Still, many in Lions land interpret this credibly reported information as if the sky is falling. Surely GM Bob Quinn can't be trying to dump Golladay! What is he thinking?

Golladay is a pending free agent and has volleyed some ambiguous messages that his price tag is only going up with each subsequent great catch he makes for the Lions. Reported extension talks earlier this year have not produced an extension, and that leaves the Pro Bowl wideout's future in Detroit in question. That's going to lead to a lot of discussion and potential trade inquiries about Golladay.

I'm reminded of the importance of context and perception vs. reality that must be conveyed in the reporting process. Ranaan did his part on this front here, too, but that doesn't seem to sink in for a lot of the Chicken Little fans who must believe the absolute worst about the Lions 100 percent of the time. So I'll retort to them with an anecdote that highlights the importance of context and validity in trade talks.

I've shared this experience on-air and on podcasts before, but it's pertinent to write it out here in this instance.

It's Senior Bowl 2009, Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. This was before the game and practices blew up into the must-do status amongst the NFL Draft community, back before tiered credentials and limited access to certain people/places was implemented.

On a chilly morning I was seated for the early practice session with a friend who worked for the Washington Football Team, then under its former moniker. Seated two rows in front of us on the press box side of the stadium was none other than Patriots coach Bill Belichick. He sat by himself, with binoculars around his neck even though he was only about 15 rows up from field level. Up walked New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, and his opening greeting was a doozy.

Payton sat down next to Belichick and asked him, "What do you want for that Brady guy?"

Obviously Payton was not serious. Belichick didn't interpret as serious and he chuckled before greeting Payton. It was an ice-breaker between two colleagues that sure seemed friendly at the time. They wound up talking for several minutes, mostly about mutual friends in the coaching business from what I could hear.

Despite the glaring evidence that it was nothing of the sort, I could have written the bait-y headline, "Belichick listens to offer for Tom Brady". It would have been factually and semantically correct. Another team's head coach did indeed inquire about the availability of Tom Brady. Never mind that it quite obviously was not serious. Payton asked about Brady. I even had a witness to it, one who I've shared the remembrance with at several subsequent Senior Bowls-always for a laugh.

Is that what's going on here? Not exactly. I suspect the Giants were serious in inquiring about the possible availability of Golladay. The Lions side of the story is unknown, but Bob Quinn is a capable enough GM that he's at least going to listen. He might have curtly told the Giants to keep losing with what they've got. Or Quinn might have demanded Saquon Barkley, Golden Tate, 3 first-round picks and cash considerations. We don't know, and frankly it doesn't really matter.

Good players like Golladay who are playing out expiring contracts are going to attract attention from other teams. That's not a negative, by the way. It means you've got talent other teams covet. Reporting that other teams are interested does not equate to the Lions shipping Golladay or looking to move him or whatever other reporting euphemism you prefer for trade talks.

It's Quinn's job to both make and receive calls in advance of the trade deadline. Unless you personally know who called whom and the exact nature of the discussion, reporting that the teams have talked means next to nothing. Of course they have; it's what GMs do this time of year.

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