With all of Detroits' backs out, the Lions need to find a trade partner as Week 1 approaches.
According CBS Sports' Jason LaCanfora, Detroit Lions General Manager Martin Mayhew is desperately looking for trade partners that could provide the Lions with some relief at the running back position (h/t faniq.com).
The three current running backs on the roster are Kevin Smith (out with an ankle injury), Mikel Leshoure (possibly facing suspension) and Jahvid Best (on the PUP list with concussed symptoms).
Luckily for Mayhew, there are still some good backs that could be had if the price is right.
Chris Ivory, New Orleans Saints
New Orleans has plenty of depth at the running back position, so it's possible that they spare Chris Ivory if Detroit offers a decent package. With Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas, the Saints have the luxury of losing Ivory because the guys ahead of him are more than enough to put up exceptional numbers.
This wouldn't be a bad acquisition for Detroit. The Saints running back has gained over 1,000 yards total in his two years in the NFL, even though he only played in six games last year. With an average of five yards per carry, Ivory might be the perfect compliment to Matthew Stafford, and that's why he should be their first target.
Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
Knowshon is a great back, but his legs just haven't returned to form after injuring his knee last season. Detroit could use that to their advantage, sending a low-ball offer to Denver with the hope the change of scenery will help the back pick up his game.
Moreno wasn't living up to the hype last season anyway, and it was likely he'd be on the block this season. He only had 37 carries in seven games for 179 yards—an average gain of about 4.8 yards per carry.
James Starks, Green Bay Packers
While Starks played a key role in the Packers' Super Bowl run, he might not fit into Green Bay's plans anymore. With Alex Green and Cedric Benson on the roster, James Starks' playing time could be dwindled to minimal minutes. Green Bay could still get something in return for their running back, and Detroit might be desperate enough to pay the price.
Starks played in 13 games for the Packers last season, and he gained 578 yards on 133 carries for an average of 4.3 yards per carry. However, it's extremely unlikely that Green Bay sends their back to a division rival—and we've seen that hesitancy before.
Will the Lions be able to find a trade partner before Week 1?
Maurice Jones-Drew is the cream of the crop of running backs. However, the Jaguars haven't shown any inclination towards trading Jones-Drew, nor will they go out and reach teams. If Detroit is looking for a RB, they'll have to contact Jacksonville and offer the kitchen sink for the premier back.
In his 16 games with the Jags last season, MJD rushed for 1,606 yards with six 100-plus yard games. It's clear that any team in need of a back would want MJD, but will they be willing to meet Jacksonville's wants, whatever that may come to be?
The answer is probably not.