There's a lot of talk going on around here about who we should trade, the names that come up the most often are Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh. I'll make my position clear, I vehemently oppose trading either one of them (at the time of this piece at least).
Calvin Johnson is a once in a lifetime talent, and that's not an exaggeration. He's the best WR in the NFL and potentially one of the best of all time. He's currently playing at a level never before seen in the NFL, even Jerry Rice has never had a stretch of games like Calvin Johnson has. He has over 2000 yards in his last 16 games. He's on pace for 1900 this season after 1681 last season, which would be by far the biggest 2 season stretch in history. Nobody has put up back to back 1600 yard seasons before, he's almost certain to do it at this point. His production is more than just his numbers too, he also draws lots of attention, lots of attention. Watch how many players roll his way. He opens up things for everybody. And he's a great blocker. Does anybody remember Best's big screen pass last year? Calvin took two defenders away from the play and then ran all the way across the field to make a key block. There's little doubt that he's a spectacular talent, but his off the field persona is at least as good as his performance. He's a model citizen, humble, polite, and extremely hard working. You simply can't trade away a guy like Calvin Johnson.
Ndamukong Suh is another amazing talent, maybe not on the level of Calvin, but certainly among the best at his position. He's a physical presence, his impact is immeasurable to our defense. You ask any OC we face, the offensive gameplan starts with Ndamukong Suh. You ask any offensive lineman, he's the first player they account for on every play. The Lions are ranked 18th in the NFL against the pass, even though we have one of the worst secondaries in the NFL. Why? Pressure up front. That pressure begins with Suh. Watch the game tape, who is the guy who is always in the picture when the QB is getting uncomfortable? Suh. How many teams have success running at Suh? How many linemen can block him one on one? Call him dirty, call him an asshole, call him what you want. He's intimidating, and most of his intimidation comes from how hard he plays and how often he's affecting plays.
My opinion is that trading away guys that your team revolves around, regardless of their pay, is a bad idea. You can replace Suh's salary, but can you replace his presence? You can replace Calvin's salary, but can you replace his production? Sorry, but I can't endorse any of this talk. If you want to get rid of people, get rid of people that are underachieving. Get rid of KVB, get rid of Avril, get rid of Backus. But don't get rid of your core players, not when they're the best players on your team.