Trading Calvin Johnson Would Be a Terrible Mistake for the Detroit Lions

Benjita The SaneContributor IDecember 17, 2009

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 22: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions runs with the football after catching a pass against the Cleveland Browns at Ford Field on November 22, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions came from behind to defeat the Browns 38-37. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Over the past few days, I've been seeing a disturbing idea emerge from the Lions faithful.

Many feel that trading Calvin Johnson would be a step in the right direction for this Lions organization, with the hopes that it would move us up in the draft.

Many feel that it's Ndamukong Suh or bust in this draft, and if the Lions don't get him, they're doomed forever.

I feel that all of this is a load of dingo's kidneys.

Yes, the Lions suck right now. Yes, they're starting down the barrel of a top four pick in 2010. Yes, they need a defensive lineman. No, this isn't the way to go.

Suh may be the best option this year, but he is far from the only one. As many have noted, this draft class is rich with talent, as many juniors are opting out early to get their paychecks before the NFL puts a moratorium on enormous rookie salaries. 

Many people also worry about the Lions' salaries and feel that we cannot afford another top three pick's contract. Personally, I believe that you cannot worry about such things. As the old saying goes, "You have to spend money to make money."

Look at the Colts in the late '90s. They had many top five draft picks but weren't afraid of one more in Edgerrin James, even with Peyton Manning's salary on their books. Those two went on to incredible success together.

The Lions aren't in bad shape right now. They have at least four key positions solidified for next year (QB, WR, TE, and SS). I'm omitting Kevin Smith, as while he's serviceable, he's definitely upgradeable. The four positions I'm counting are not. Sure there are better players, but we have the best we can get at those four positions (five if you include Jason Hanson).

As many have noted, we are very weak at the wide receiver position once you look past CJ. This is the primary reason that I believe no trade would be worth losing him over. At No. 4 or higher, we will be able to draft a player that will solidify one more position. Roy was on his way out of Detroit, and we capitalized on it. Calvin's not going for at least three years, and he's not showing any signs of disgruntlement.

Yes, Suh would be a key player, but losing one key position (almost entirely) just to gain one is ludicrous—especially when there are alternatives such as Gerald McCoy and Derrick Morgan. Russell Okung's a good option as well, given our severe lacking on the offensive line. 

In addition, I don't see a clean situation where we could trade up to guarantee Suh. The candidates to trade CJ to are all below us in the draft order. Yes, we could use that to trade up, but then you're back to (basically) trading Calvin Johnson for Ndamukong Suh. Now you've got a great DT, but no WR. The offense stalls, and the defense ends up with the same field position problems we had this year.

My recommendations:

1. Keep the pick. Get Okung. Now your offense is protected much better. They move the ball, and the field position differences go away. Better Lions.

2. Keep the pick. Get Morgan or McCoy. Now your defensive line is much better. They give the offense better field position.

Of course, there's option No. 3: Lose out and hope the Rams, Bucs, and Browns all win one more game this year. Now you've got No. 1 and can do whatever you want.