Could the emergence of Riley Reiff make somebody like Gosder Cherilus expendable for the Lions?
The New York Jets' offense is an absolute mess right now. Through two preseason games, the Jets have scored a total of nine points on three field goals. They haven't found the end zone yet, and a big part of their inability to score seems to stem from poor offensive line play. Specifically, right tackle Wayne Hunter has not been good, and ESPN's John Clayton speculates that the Jets may be looking for a new right tackle.
The Jets probably have no choice but to look outside for a RT. Wayne Hunter's four-sack game Saturday was a wake up call for the Jets.— John Clayton (@ClaytonESPN) August 20, 2012
The reason I am bringing this up is because the Detroit Lions have really good depth at offensive tackle right now. Five tackles are currently expected to make the team: starters Jeff Backus and Gosder Cherilus and backups Riley Reiff, Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard. Guys like Backus and Reiff obviously aren't going anywhere, but some of those other guys seem like they could help the Jets.
Now, the question for the Lions is this: Which tackles are actually expendable? Personally, I think Cherilus and Hilliard are the top candidates for a trade if the Lions decide to make a deal happen. Cherilus is entering the final year of his contract and is being pushed by Reiff, who got one series with the first-team offensive line against the Baltimore Ravens last week. If Reiff shows he would be able to start at right tackle in 2012, I would consider Cherilus to be expendable. As for Hilliard, he is a solid backup who can play multiple positions, but the Lions could certainly afford to part ways with him.
The thing to obviously keep in mind is that eventually Reiff will likely be the starting left tackle. Backus has another couple of years left, but when he moves on, Reiff is expected to step in for him on the left side of the line. That means that if the Lions did decide to move Cherilus (or if they decide to not re-sign him next offseason), they will need to find somebody to start at right tackle in the future. Assuming Reiff moves to the left side, somebody like Fox could step in at right tackle, but health issues have been a concern for him in the past.
The Lions also have Jonathan Scott on the roster right now. He has been injured, but perhaps we could see the Lions try to flip him for a draft pick to a team like the Jets toward the end of the preseason if he gets healthy. Right now he's not likely going to make the team, but this is where Martin Mayhew could work his magic to add a draft pick.
If the Lions were able to move Cherilus or Hilliard to the Jets, perhaps they would be dealt in exchange for a player instead of a pick. The Lions could use help in the secondary, and the Jets are pretty deep at defensive back, so it seems like a pretty good fit in terms of needs and positions of strength matching up. What do you think?