As free agency is coming to a close and we await the NFL Draft, still over two weeks away, the first wave of offseason boredom is in full effect. With that boredom comes the overreaction to any sort of tidbit that can be perceived as news. So when the words "trading block" float to the top of your twitter timeline, ears of 32 different fanbases perk up.
So when Peter King of MMQB innocently dropped a "niblet" that the San Francisco 49ers may have right tackle Anthony Davis on trading block, Detroit Lions fans connected the easily recognizable dots. Trade + offensive tackle = Super Bowl!
But Davis to Detroit doesn't make a lot of sense for a lot of reasons, none more serious than Davis' retirement after the 2014 season. In the middle of a turbulent offseason for the 49ers, Davis shockingly announced he would be stepping away from the NFL "to take a year or so away from the NFL" and recoup his mind and body. While Davis will apparently apply for reinstatement for the 2016 season, he has yet to do so, and you have to wonder about his commitment beyond 2016. If Davis is willing to step away from the game once -- in the prime of his career, no less -- don't you have to worry he'll do it again? Football will only become harder on his body as he grows older.
But let's say that Davis is fully committed to the NFL and just needed to step away for a year. We all need vacations from work once in a while. It's not unthinkable to say that Davis is fully recharged and ready to devote himself back to the game he presumably loves.
Even so, Davis comes with some other red flags, including the dreaded "character issues" tag, Davis is unapologetically open and brash about his time in the NFL. He has publicly thrown offensive coordinators under the bus, he has criticized play-calling on Twitter and he makes a habit out of standing up against coaches. Some view this brutal honesty as a win against the overly-PC society and take it as a breath of fresh air, while others see it as a distraction and mutiny waiting to happen. With Jim Caldwell being a walk-the-line type of coach, Davis seems like the exact type of player to raise a stink and create controversy where it is not welcome.
Personality aside, Davis may not even be that big of an upgrade at the position. Before suffering a myriad of injuries in 2014 that led to his temporary retirement, the former first-round pick started every single game at right tackle since being drafted in 2010. Though Davis had a big hand in creating a dominant running game in San Francisco, he was a liability as a pass protector. In 2014 Pro Football Focus ranked Davis as the 39th tackle out of 84, giving Davis a -4.2 pass protection grade. While Detroit definitely needs a bump in run blocking (Davis graded out with a +5.2 run blocking grade in 2014 and a second-best +18.4 grade in 2012), the Lions' bread and butter will remain their passing attack. Even Michael Ola has done a better job in pass protection. Last season Ola graded -0.3 and -2.4 in pass and run blocking respectively.
Then there's the cost. Trading for Davis probably won't cost the Lions too much draft collateral. Considering the Broncos just unloaded Ryan Clady for essentially a fifth-round pick, the Lions could probably acquire Davis for one or two third-day draft picks. But with Davis, you also get a pretty hefty contract. As soon as Davis gets reinstated, he reverts back to his contract with the 49ers, which still has four years remaining on it, with increasing cap hits between $5 and $6.75 million annually. The good part of the contract is most of Davis' dead money is almost already off the books, so the Lions could back out after one year and only incur a $1.5 million "dead money" cap hit.
But overall, Davis just presents too many risks to invest costly picks and cap space in. You cannot rely on his commitment to the game and he is just not a personality or scheme fit in Detroit. The Lions may seem desperate to fix their offensive line, but Davis is not the answer.