Ryan Broyles' ACL Injury Not the End of the World for Receiver & Detroit Lions

Andrew Garda@andrew_gardaFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 11:  Ryan Broyles #84 of the Detroit Lions makes a move against the Minnesota Vikings on November 11, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Andy Clayton KIng/Getty Images)
Andy King/Getty Images

The problem the Detroit Lions have seemingly had this year has been the lack of a real threat beyond Calvin Johnson. Especially since Nate Burleson went down early in the season, the other targets for Matt Stafford have decreased in effectiveness, so he's forced the ball almost exclusively to Johnson.

Recently, after Titus Young was benched for being a malcontent, rookie Ryan Broyles had been giving Stafford a legitimate option beyond Megatron.

Broyles was still raw but he was coming along nicely—until he blew out the ACL on his right knee, ending his season.

As he had just recovered from an ACL injury to his left knee, it's fair to wonder what this means for the Lions and Broyles long term.

On the positive side of things, an ACL tear doesn't have to be the end of a career anymore, though if I were Broyles' agent I would call Adrian Peterson to see if my client could live in his garage during rehab.

Broyles appeared to have lost little to no speed, agility or burst after his first injury and if he follows the same rehab and training, he could return next year without issue.

As the linked article states, the Lions have players already who have had ACL surgeries on both knees. So even within the building there is a precedent for his recovery long term and certainly he has examples around him now.

Everything we've heard about Broyles marks him as a very hard worker with a lot of determination so you can't count him out. If the surgery is done well and he rehabs like he did last time, he should be back and close to 100 percent.

On the down side, some athletes don't recover and having two inside of a year isn't great. Broyles could work his tail off and never recover his strength, burst or speed. Sometimes effort and determination isn't enough

This also puts the Lions in the position of having to seriously look at free agents and incoming rookie receivers in next year's draft.

Now, given Burleson's age and Young's issues, they were probably going to have to do so anyway. However, they may find themselves looking at pricier free agents or a higher draft pick spent on a rookie to hedge their bets against Broyles missing camp, part of the season or even the whole thing.

It's a tough position because between Broyles and Young they've spent high draft picks on wide receivers two years in a row. There are other very pressing needs on the defensive side of the ball, so having to look at another receiver is dicey.

Free agency is rough because they have some serious cap issues over the next few years in having to deal with Ndamukong Suh and Matt Stafford. We know they've got some cap issues and we saw how that affected the contract negotiations with Cliff Avril. 

It would be hard to sell the locker room that you have cash issues when you spend big money on a free-agent receiver.

So long term, the team has to do some hard thinking about what its next move will be.

It could be bringing Burleson back, when the feeling was he might not be with the team next year. If he's healthy, it's at least a good stopgap measure.

Short term, it's stickier. The team doesn't seem to want to have anything to do with Titus Young and the season is pretty much over, so it may roll with the guys it has.

So far, the 'Megatron Ratio' is moving the ball though not winning games. It's unlikely to do so next year either.

Getting Broyles back healthy seems possible and would make a lot of people in the organization happy.

Just to be on the safe side, maybe we should get it that number for Adrian Peterson though.


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