DETROIT — The Detroit Lions got some much needed help for their receiving corps on Wednesday, signing Golden Tate to a five-year contract.
“Wow I’m officially a Detroit Lion,” Tate wrote on Twitter. “Extremely excited about the opportunity to grow with this organization.”
ESPN reported that Tate’s deal is worth $31 million, with $13.25 million in guaranteed money.
The Lions set out this off-season to overhaul a receiving corps that had become too reliant on Calvin Johnson in recent seasons.
They cut Nate Burleson for salary cap reasons last month and plan to add two receivers this spring, through free agency and/or the draft.
Johnson led the Lions with 84 catches for 1,492 yards last year, and running backs Reggie Bush (54 catches) and Joique Bell (53 catches) were the only other players with more than 50 receptions.
Tight end Brandon Pettigrew, who was fourth on the team with 41 catches for 416 yards, is a free agent, and Burleson was fifth.
Bell, who ran into Tate during his free-agent visit Wednesday, said Tate will be a welcome addition to the offense.
“Definitely would be a valuable piece to this already deadly offense,” Bell said hours before the deal was official.
A second-round pick out of Notre Dame in 2010, Tate led the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks with 64 catches for 898 yards and five touchdowns last year, and is capable of playing both the inside and outside receiver positions.
Just 25, he gives the Lions flexibility on offense, options in May’s draft and is capable of filling in as a return man.
The Lions still are likely to take a receiver high in May’s draft, perhaps even in the first round, with the 10th overall pick.
Along with Johnson and Tate, Kris Durham, Kevin Ogletree and return man Jeremy Ross are the Lions’ other top receivers.