Detroit Lions: Trading Ernie Sims Was a Good Move in the Long Run

Nick Mordowanec@NickMordoCorrespondent IApril 19, 2010

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 28: Ernie Sims #50 of the Detroit Lions leaves the field after a loss to the Green Bay Packers on December 28, 2008 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 31-21. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Some people may tell you this is the same old Detroit Lions script. Some may even be so irrational to believe that Matt Millen is still behind the curtain, pulling the strings and sneering wildly with his bushy mustache.

If you believe that, you’ve got it all wrong.

When the Lions traded linebacker Ernie Sims—a top 10 draft pick in 2006—on Monday for Denver Broncos tight end Tony Scheffler, many instantly wondered why. After all, linebacker Larry Foote had just bolted to the Pittsburgh Steelers, leaving a Lions linebacking corps quite thin.

Well, things just got thinner—but only temporarily.

Look, it was a move the Lions had to make. Sims’ value has been dropping every season since he was drafted, and he has been feeling a lot more pressure the past couple years as a defensive captain.

His production has not been top notch, either. He only had 2.5 sacks and just one interception in his tenure in Detroit. There were also times when he seemed overmatched or unable to stop opposing offenses. Coaches just felt that the younger DeAndre Levy will step up in a bigger role in the future.

In Sims’ defense, though, he went through a lot in just five seasons.

He played for two different head coaches (Rod Marinelli and Jim Schwartz), two different general managers (Millen and Martin Mayhew) and a slew of different coordinators. When you couple those facts with all the players who have come in and out of Detroit, it has been anything bum a smooth ride.

But now he gets a fresh start in a football-hungry city which is similar to Detroit in the sense that both franchises have been starving for a Super Bowl victory since the inception of the big game. Sims’ abilities will surely be intensely looked at by both coaches and fans alike as he now has more talent around him.

Looking at the other side of the spectrum, acquiring Scheffler was a move made for many reasons.

First of all, upper management realized that the value of Sims would continue to decrease the older he got and the more injury prone he was. They wanted to get a good player in return rather than a middle-level draft pick. Scheffler fits that bill.

Second, he is a big-time receiver. Scheffler started 28 games in his four years as a Bronco, catching 138 passes for 1,896 yards and 14 touchdowns. Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan loves using duel tight end sets, so this could evolve the offense in Detroit.

Last of all, it was a type of insurance move for Detroit. With Brandon Pettigrew still recovering from an ACL injury and Casey Fitzsimmons retiring from too many concussions, second-year quarterback Matthew Stafford now has a big target to find in the middle of the field. Scheffler has Dallas Clark-type range and can create mismatches against smaller safeties. Once Pettigrew returns it could pay big dividends.

This trade is all in the eye of the beholder. The Lions were thin at linebacker are now even thinner, but they still may try to obtain another veteran through free agency or may draft one with their many picks. They also have a legitimate tight end who can come in right away and start.

I think the one thing most people can agree with is that the Broncos got the worst end of this whole ordeal.