Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay switched agents back in January with eyes on receiving a contract extension this offseason. On Tuesday, he indicated that such an extension won't come cheaply for the Lions.
According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Slay said he wants to be paid like a "top-7" cornerback, listing the names of Darrelle Revis, Richard Sherman, Patrick Peterson, Chris Harris Jr., Aqib Talib and Joe Haden as the "real elite, elite, elite guys" ahead of him.
Four of those six have average annual salaries of at least $13.5 million, with only Talib ($9.5 million) and Harris ($8.5 million) below the $10 million mark. Only Haden ($22.6 million) received less than $24 million guaranteed among those six. Other contracts that could factor in would be those of Josh Norman (five years, $75 million, $50 million guaranteed) and Janoris Jenkins (five years, $62.5 million, $28.8 million guaranteed), both signed this offseason in free agency.
A 2013 second-round pick, Slay hasn't been selected to a Pro Bowl as he enters the final year of his rookie deal, but he's totaled 35 pass breakups and four interceptions in 32 starts the last two seasons. Slay also finished 2015 with Pro Football Focus' second-highest grade among cornerbacks, trailing only Arizona's Tyrann Mathieu, whom many classify as a safety.
"I’m a top guy, that’s it," Slay said, per Birkett. "I ain’t no real cocky guy like that, but I’m just confident in my game and what I put on film. I’ve been very, very productive for the past two years."
Birkett also added that Lions wide receiver Andre Caldwell -- who spent three seasons with Harris and two with Talib in Denver -- thinks highly of Slay's game, saying he "stacks right up with" Harris and Talib as "a top talent in this league."
Slay isn't sure about the status of talks, noting he has deferred the situation entirely to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. But he said he loves Detroit and would like to stay with the team that drafted him.
Jenkins' contract is probably a fair target for Slay and his representation, as Jenkins is also without a Pro Bowl appearance, though he's tallied more big plays (10 interceptions, six defensive TDs in four seasons). An extension between now and September would make sense for both sides, but the Lions also have the safety net of the franchise tag if they choose to wait until next offseason.