Tate, though, is relishing the opportunity. He never saw himself as a No. 2 option anyway.
"I've never seen myself as a No. 2 receiver," Tate said, via The Detroit Free Press. "And I've said it before: I don't care if I was playing with Jerry Rice and Cris Carter. That's just not how I see myself, and that's just how I'm driven."
Although it's cringe-worthy to hear teams tell the media that they have multiple No. 1 wide receivers, the Lions were a rare case over the two years when Tate and Johnson overlapped. Between 2014-15, Tate was targeted 272 times and Johnson was thrown at 277. Tate went for 2,144 yards and 10 touchdowns while Johnson went for 2,291 and 17 touchdowns. Tate and Johnson were 10th and 11th, respectively, in receptions last year.
Plus, we can safely assume that the addition of Marvin Jones will not cut into Tate's targets like Johnson did. Tate could be a legitimate candidate to lead the NFL in receptions this season, or at least entrench himself firmly in the top five.
Picking up the slack from a leadership standpoint is something different altogether.
"I'm trying my best to lead these guys the best I can," Tate said. "I'm not competing to be a leader. It either comes or it doesn't. Either guys look up to you, based on how you carry yourself, your play or what you say, or they don't. I'm just going to continue to be me. If guys choose to follow, then great, I'll lead the best I can and that'll be that."
The jury is still out on the Lions' offense in 2016. It certainly won't come with the same expectations as say, the Steelers or Cardinals, but Tate has been overlooked and overshadowed for the better part of his six-year NFL career and has improved steadily each season. If nothing else, Detroit might be able to produce another star wide receiver now that Johnson is gone.