July 29, 2016
Former Itawamba Community College and Mississippi State University cornerback Darius Slay believed he was a http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000669438/article/lions-darius-slay-wants-to-get-paid-like-a-top7-corner">top-seven corner in the NFL. The Detroit Lions brass must have agreed with him after signing him to a new four-year extension.
Detroit needed to http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000677691/article/lions-agree-to-contract-extension-with-cb-darius-slay?campaign=Twitter_atn">lock up Slay, who is just 25 years old, to an extension after losing high-profile players the last two seasons. The Lions lost defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in free agency after the 2014 season, and wide receiver Calvin Johnson suddenly retired after last season
The new deal is worth $48 million with $23.1 million in guaranteed money, and he will make a total of $50.2 million over the next five years. The former Bulldog was entering the final year of his rookie deal. The guaranteed money is good for seventh amongst cornerbacks.
Slay is one of the few cornerbacks to be overshadowed most of this career. At MSU, Johnthan Banks grabbed more headlines than Slay did.
Slay ended up drafted ahead of the 2012 Thorpe Award, winner Banks in the 2013 NFL Draft. The Lions selected Slay with the 36th overall pick in the second round, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Banks with the 43rd overall pick in the same round.
In the NFL, Slay has quietly become one of the http://www.nfl.com/player/dariusslay/2540288/profile">best cornerbacks in the league. He slowly began his pro career with four starts and played in just 13 games as a rookie in 2013. He finished his first year with 34 total tackles and 27 solo tackles with five passes defended.
Slay started all 16 games for the Lions in his second year and made 61 total tackles and 48 solo tackles. He had 17 passes defended and two interceptions.
Last season, Slay again started all 16 games for Detroit. He had 59 total tackles and 48 solo tackles. The cornerback added two more interceptions and 13 passes defended in 2015.
Pro Football Focus rated Slay as the No. 2 overall cornerback and had him ranked No. 8 in pass coverage. He has a passer rating of 90.1 when targeted in coverage, and he only allows a completion percentage of 63.2. NFL Media research says he was targeted 68 times last season.
Slay is counted on to cover the opponent's top receiver on most plays. He will also have to be a leader in the second for Detroit, with 2014 fourth-round pick cornerback Nevin Lawson slated to start opposite of him.
The six-foot, 190-pound corner might not be under the radar much longer after signing his new extension. If Detroit could win more games after finishing 7-9 last season, Slay might become a household name with NFL fans.