Tate was the Lions' leading receiver on the season with 517 yards and three touchdowns on 44 catches this season. While the move to part ways with Tate could complicate Detroit's efforts to play into January, coach Matt Patricia said it was made in the best interest of the team moving forward.
"For us, again, it's the whole picture," Patricia told reporters Wednesday. "Taking a look at what's best for us to do as a team. Those situations, they are not easy decisions. They're difficult decisions. ... It's not about one player, it's about team. We have a lot of guys who are really good on this team and can produce and, honestly, for me, we have confidence in everybody that they can go out and do their job."
Still, there are a lot of people who don't understand the Lions' decision. Patricia chastised a reporter for being unprofessional with his posture when the reported attempted to ask him if he believes the trade makes the franchise better.
"Um, well ... you know ... do me a favor ... just kinda sit up and have a little respect for the process," Patricia responded. "Every day you come in and ask me questions and you just kinda like ... you know ... gimmie this. But I mean ... be a little respectful. I am asking you to be a little respectful in this whole process, OK? So ask me a question professionally and I'll answer it for you."
Patricia and the Lions' braintrust seem confident the team isn't endangering its 2018 aspirations by parting ways with Tate. As NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport pointed out, the Lions are confident Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones are capable of being potent pass catchers in the Matthew Stafford-led passing game.
In addition, by trading Tate, the Lions land a third-round pick for a player who almost certainly would have been leaving the team as a free agent in March.
"We've seen through the course of multiple different examples through years in the NFL where these things happen and people move on and they keep going and they keep winning," Patricia said. "It's important for us when we evaluate everything we do as a franchise, I think there is certain value we can get, at times, during the season that will help us long term."