Darius Slay’s 2017 season isn’t done just yet. The Detroit Lions’ fifth-year cornerback has a few more practices to go and a Pro Bowl game left on the docket. Once the Pro Bowl concludes, Slay’s 2017 season to remember will be over.
It was a season that saw the former second-round pick tie for the NFL lead with eight interceptions. Slay had six interceptions combined in his previous four seasons with the team.
His 26 passes defended led the NFL this season. His previous high was 17 back in 2014.
Slay was thrown at the third-most times of any cornerback in the NFL this year, yet opposing passers had just a little better than a 55.0 passer rating when throwing his way.
Slay also earned first-team All-Pro honors by the Associated Press. It was his first selection to the All-Pro team.
It certainly wasn’t a bad 2017 for Slay from an individual perspective.
So, what can we expect in 2018?
“Find a way to get better,” Slay said after the season while he cleaned out his locker. “From eight (interceptions), I need to have 10 (next year). So, I’ll just go find a way (to do) little things that make me better and go out here and work and try to be the best in the game.”
The Lions haven’t had a player reach 10 interceptions in a single season since Hall of Famer Lem Barney snagged 10 in the 1967 season. In all, only Barney, Don Doll (twice) and Jack Christiansen (twice) have ever reached 10 interceptions in a single season in franchise history.
Slay is young and beaming with confidence after the season he had this year. He’s wanted to be considered among the NFL’s elite corners for some time, and now that he’s among them, he has his sights set on being the game’s best.
He’s aiming high with his personal goals for 2018. If he hits them, it will certainly be good news for Detroit’s defense next season.
The NFL salary cap is rising another $10 million for the 2018 season, jumping from $167 million last year to $177.2 million.
This marks the seventh consecutive season the cap has increased and fifth straight year it has gone up at least $10 million. Since the league implemented its current collective bargaining agreement in 2011, the salary cap has jumped 47.7 percent.
In addition to the $177.2 million, the Detroit Lions will carryover an additional $4.15 million in unused cap space from the previous year.
With the release of the cap increase, franchise tag amounts have also been calculated. The Lions announced last week the team will use the tag on defensive end Ziggy Ansah. The one-year deal will cost the Lions $17.14 million, slightly less than originally expected.