In order to avoid paying Shaun Rogers a $1 million roster bonus, the Detroit Lions had to trade him before 12:01 a.m. Saturday morning. Around 4:00 p.m. Friday, news broke that Rogers had been traded to Cincinnati for a third-round and a fifth-round draft pick. The trade was first reported by ESPN, but the Lions confirmed the deal shortly after. Also, Bengals.com reported that the trade had been made, according to an NFL source.
A few hours after news of the trade first came out, things got crazy. Rogers no longer was going to Cincinnati as that deal fell apart, leaving the Lions in a precarious position. For a short time period it appeared as though the Lions were going to get stuck with Rogers beyond the 12:01 a.m. deadline, which would have forced them to pay the defensive tackle $1 million. Had that happened, there's a good chance Rogers is still on the Lions right now. Luckily, though, all parties got what they wanted as the Lions found another trading partner from the state of Ohio.
Soon after the Cincinnati deal was pronounced dead, Detroit worked out an agreement with the Cleveland Browns that actually is better than the one they had with the Bengals. Rather than just get two draft picks, the Lions will get a third-round pick and cornerback Leigh Bodden from Cleveland. I was very angry at the fact that the Lions weren't going to get any players in the initial deal with the Bengals as I felt draft picks weren't enough for Rogers. It's not that I feel he's necessarily worth more than just picks, but I didn't see the value in a deal like that for the Lions.
By trading with Cleveland, Detroit will still get an extra third-rounder. And instead of a fifth-rounder, the Lions get CB Leigh Bodden, who likely will be a starter for Detroit this year. Bodden started all 16 games last season for the Browns and is a young player that seems to fit the mold of a Rod Marinelli type of guy. Acquiring Bodden helps fill the need at cornerback and allows the Lions to focus on some other positions with needs. The Lions still would like to add one more corner, but I would guess now it's not as big of a priority as it was yesterday.
As you can clearly see, the Lions definitely will benefit more from the deal they got with the Browns compared to the one they had with the Bengals. As I already said, the Lions still get a third-round pick, but instead of a fifth-rounder, they get a starting cornerback. Sounds good to me. My guess is the player selected with the fifth-round pick would have just been cut anyways considering the Lions never draft well on the second day of the draft, so getting a starter instead is awesome.
Even though Rogers is now a Brown and the Lions got what they wanted, there still are a lot of questions about why the initial deal with Cincinnati fell apart. Here is one take on what happened from a Cincinnati newspaper:
Theories as to why ranged from the league stepping in because the trade violated a salary-cap rule to one that the trade never was reported to the NFL office, leaving the Lions free to negotiate a deal with another team. Another potential explanation was faulty language in the trade that forced the NFL to void it.
We likely fill never find out exactly what happened, but something sounds fishy about this. I'm not going to waste time sorting through conspiracy theories, but I think the Lions caught a huge break in this whole situation. Rather than complete the trade with the Bengals, they were able to deal Rogers to Cleveland and get more for him from the Browns. Again, we never will likely find out how the Cincinnati trade did fall apart, but in the end it doesn't matter to me as the Lions got a better deal with Cleveland anyways.Update [2008-3-1 19:34:19 by Sean Yuille]: The Lions have confirmed the trade.