Four thoughts on Golden Tate's $21K fine

What comes to mind after the NFL levied a $21,000 fine against Seattle Seahawks receiver Golden Tate:

  • No surprise: The rules are relatively clear if you've got enough time to study them and keep pace with periodic changes to them. I'll admit to needing a refresher periodically. In this case, Tate was delivering a blindside block on Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee. That qualified Lee for protections covering defenseless players. In general, those protections prohibit the blocker from hitting the defenseless player in the head/neck area. They also prohibit the blocker from using his own head to hit the defenseless player anywhere. In my view, Tate did lower his head so that his helmet impacted Lee. He also might have hit Lee in the neck area. Easy call for the league.

  • Lee uninjured: Lee got back up pretty quickly and returned to the game following an examination. That was the most important detail relating to this play.

  • Chunk of change: Tate was scheduled to earn $540,000 in salary this season. The $21,000 represents about 1.2 percent of his career earnings through Week 1. That amount is also the minimum fine for first-time violators of NFL policies on blindside blocks, hitting defenseless players and impermissible use of the helmet.

  • Tate's return big: This play involving Tate has overshadowed the difference he makes for Seattle on offense. The team needs a big season from him. The receiver position hasn't worked out the way Seattle would have drawn it up. Sidney Rice has had injury problems. Kris Durham never developed. Ricardo Lockette has not taken the next step. The more Seattle has to rely on receivers such as Mike Williams (since released) and Braylon Edwards, the clearer it is that the Seahawks need to address that position in the offseason. With Tate back from a knee injury Sunday, Edwards played sparingly. Tate caught three passes for 38 yards.