5 Realistic Moves the Detroit Lions Could Make at the NFL Trade Deadline
The NFL's trade deadline is fast approaching, and the Detroit Lions have many needs. Whether they choose to address those needs via trade remains to be seen, but there is always a chance that Martin Mayhew will pull off a stunner.
NFL teams typically do not trade players. For that reason, the deadline usually passes by with about as much movement as a Jose Valverde curveball. That's because teams build for championships through the draft. In-season trades are short-term solutions and usually don't pan out.
It's also very difficult to swap one player for another and make it work financially.
Needless to say, Lions fans might remember that Mayhew almost pulled off a trade last season. He sent Jerome Harrison to the Philadelphia Eagles for Ronnie Brown. That trade was eventually nullified, but it proves one thing: The Lions aren't afraid to deal.
Rule changes have bumped the deadline to the Tuesday following Week 8. So, the Lions have about two weeks to mull over their options.
Here are several that make sense.
5. Kevin Smith to the Green Bay Packers
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So, trading a player like Kevin Smith to the Packers, whose running back situation is in disarray, seems ludicrous. Why help them? They just dismantled the Houston Texans after all.
Why help a division rival improve themselves?
If the Lions can improve themselves at the same time, it's worth the risk. Smith isn't contributing, and they should look to get whatever value they can for him.
The Packers don't have anyone in their secondary they'd trade for Smith. They're also beat up all over the place, so they don't have many players to spare either. They do have draft picks, though.
If the Lions could swap Smith for two late-round picks next year, they should sign the deal today.
4. Kevin Smith to the Arizona Cardinals
Rashad Johnson S, Arizona Cardinals
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Kevin Smith's return to the Detroit Lions was a great story last year. When Jahvid Best went down, he filled in admirably.
This year has been a different story. Smith has watched his name slide down the depth chart and his time on the field disappear. He's been passed by Mikel Leshoure, Joique Bell and Keiland Williams.
Rumor has it that the Lions felt he wasn't hitting the hole hard enough, according to Anwar S. Richardson of MLive. Whatever the reason, it looks like Smith isn't a key player in the Lions offense any more. He was on the sidelines in street clothes during their win at Philadelphia.
It's ironic since he's actually healthy for once.
The Lions should send him somewhere he has a chance to play. They owe him that much.
The Arizona Cardinals are a team in need of running back help. They lost their top two rushers—Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams—and could use a versatile veteran runner to share carries with rookie William Powell.
In exchange, the Lions could simply pocket another mid-to-late round draft choice, or they could go after some immediate help.
Safety Rashad Johnson is someone who could help the Lions immediately. He's stuck behind veterans in Arizona, but he could be a starter elsewhere. He's also a very good special teams player.
His contract is about $500,000 more than Smith's, but he'll be a free agent at the end of the year.
Even with the return of Louis Delmas, the Lions secondary is a weakness. I don't even need to comment on the special teams.
Johnson fills an immediate need and might be a good fit going forward, too.
3. Ashlee Palmer to Packers or Ravens
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As I said earlier, helping the Green Bay Packers or any other team is not the goal. The goal is to take advantage of them. The Packers just lost starting linebacker D.J. Smith for the rest of the year, and Nick Perry was injured, too, according to Kevin Seifert of ESPN.
Obviously, these teams could be in the market for a linebacker.
The Lions currently have seven linebackers on their roster. Palmer is the odd man out this season and next.
Stephen Tulloch has already signed, and the Lions will look to re-sign DeAndre Levy and Justin Durant in the offseason. They also have rookies Tahir Whitehead and Travis Lewis that they've invested in.
Doug Hogue is two years younger and has more potential.
The Lions simply don't need Palmer. They should be able to get a late-round draft pick in return for him, and that would suffice.
2. Nate Burleson to the Jacksonville Jaguars
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When Ryan Broyles became a Lion last summer, Nate Burleson probably knew his days in Detroit were numbered. He's a good slot receiver and a great guy in the locker room, but he's not irreplaceable—especially since the Lions drafted a receiver in the second round that has similar skills.
Everyone knew that Broyles would take some time to recover from the knee injury he suffered in college, but it appears he's there. He dons pads on game days and has seen limited action.
It's about time they unleash him on the NFL. The Lions offense needs a spark and maybe he's it.
Burleson is in his 10th year, and he's off to a great start. He still has value. The Lions could get an upgrade to their secondary in exchange for him.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are dead last in passing offense and need a reliable veteran like Burleson to bolster their receiving corp. Justin Blackmon has disappointed, Laurent Robinson has a concussion and Mike Thomas has done nothing.
Burleson would be a great addition—both for his play on the field and his leadership in the locker room.
The Lions could expect a veteran like Rashean Mathis or Aaron Ross in return. Both are above-average veteran corners. Mathis is better in man-to-man and Ross in zone schemes.
With Jacob Lacey possibly missing time due to a concussion suffered in Philadelphia, the Lions cornerback situation is once again dire.
The Lions need to do what they should have done in the offseason: bring in a solid veteran to hold down the fort opposite Chris Houston until Dwight Bentley is ready to take over.
1. Titus Young to the Oakland Raiders
Taiwan Jones RB, Oakland Raiders
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Lions fans are probably exasperated with Titus Young. The Detroit Lions probably are too.
It's only his second year so it might be too early to give up on him. Then again, he's made it difficult not to at least entertain the idea. He's committed a number of bone-headed penalties that cost the Lions dearly. He also assaulted a teammate.
In other words, he's a permanent resident in coach Jim Schwartz's doghouse. So why not get rid of the headache? Patrick Edwards impressed during the offseason and is waiting on the Lions' practice squad. He and Ryan Broyles could replace Young.
There's not really that much to replace is there?
What team might be in the market for a speedy receiver? The Oakland Raiders of course. They've already got a handful of them, but I'm sure they'd jump at the chance to add another.
The Lions could target running back Taiwan Jones in a trade. Jones is also a second-year player, but he hasn't received consistent playing time. In fact, this season, he hasn't seen any.
He has similar speed, acceleration and elusiveness as Jahvid Best and can be just as effective out of the passing game. The Lions could certainly find a role for him—especially considering the latest Best news, according to Anwar S. Richardson of MLive.