OK, I know Roy Williams is gone.
I know this essentially means that the Lions are giving up on the season.
I know Roy was sweet and he was handicapped by a terrible team.
I know Roy was a class act and acquitted himself honorably as a Detroit Lions player.
I know I liked Roy and I wish it could have worked out better for him here.
But that’s what makes this trade so sweet. It’s the best of both worlds. Not even the most optimistic of Lions fans had any hope that Williams was going to sign again in the offseason when the Lions are so clearly in a rebuilding mode...again.
And what were we going to get for him?
And what do we expect to happen to this team even with Williams on the field?
This works out great for all involved parties. First, Williams goes back to Texas as a contender and will have a chance to re-invent himself with "the Boyz." Frankly, I’m going to root for him there, even though I’ve never particularly liked Dallas, because I think he deserves his shot, and I think this means that Terrell Owens is now on a very short leash.
Do you think that Jerry Jones, in light of all this Pacman mess, is in any mood to be screwing around with T.O. now? Better shape up son, because the Cowboys don’t need you anymore.
T.O. won’t shape up, of course, and is probably furious that the Cowboys just traded a first-, third-, and sixth-round pick in the 2009 draft to the Lions for a receiver that is bigger, faster, and a better teammate than him. He will sulk, he will violate the no-tolerance clause in his contract, and Jones will wave him goodbye without having to pay him a dime.
In the meantime, the Lions weren’t really utilizing Williams properly, anyway, and they are still in possession of a pretty good receiving corps. They need to absolutely be starting all their young players to see if any of them will step up and alleviate the need to draft their position in the spring.
But let’s get back to the trade.
A first-, a third-, and a sixth-round pick? Are you kidding me?
In my wildest discussions about trading Williams (and, granted, I’ve been calling for this move but didn’t think the Lions were smart enough to do it), I always thought the best we could hope for was a late first-rounder. And, honestly, at this point in the game, I would have been happy with a high second-rounder.
As the deal stands now, the Lions have a whole bunch of wiggle room come draft time. There is no scenario whereby the Lions will have anything less than the second pick in the draft, and they absolutely don’t need that high of a pick.
They could be in a position to trade down twice, sit themselves around the 12 spot while stockpiling second-rounders and even another first-round pick. What’s more, this draft class is very deep at all of the positions the Lions should covet: O-line, quarterback, defensive secondary. The Lions could conceivably land a stud at each one of those positions.
The Detroit Lions, believe it or not, could turn this ship around very quickly. I’ve always said that you don’t need a “football guy” as your GM, you need a “football guy” as your coach. Your GM needs to be a lawyer/businessman who knows the game, supplemented by knowledgeable scouts. Why?
Because lawyers know how to negotiate. They see their competition in the legalese, the cap-management, and the deal. And good lawyers do their research. They get the best information they can from the most reliable sources and don’t simply go with their “gut,” which was Millen’s preferred method of making a decision.
Now, the Lions have two lawyers at the helm. One, Tom Lewand, a Michigan law grad who knows his way in and out of the cap situation, and the second, Martin Mayhew, an NFL veteran player who went to Georgetown law after his playing days and has pursued scouting and team management ever since. To me, it sounds like a pretty good combination.
Legal smarts and football knowledge.
I know a lot of people were against giving these guys a chance after Millen stepped down, but give them credit—they just made the greatest trade in Detroit Lions history (not that the list is expansive), and have just set up the team with a damn fine hand come the 2009 draft.
In my opinion, they’ve just won at least a look for the permanent job.