If there’s a single Detroit Lions player that has generated trade discussion among the media, it’s running back Ameer Abdullah. Ever since the Lions went out and plucked LeGarrette Blount from free agency, and then aggressively moved up to select Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson in the second round, Abdullah has looked like one of the more expendable resources on the team.
Abdullah is entering the final year of his rookie deal and would only cost the Lions just over $1.3 million cap space if he makes the team. However, with Blount and Johnson already taking reps ahead of Abdullah, and Theo Riddick a near lock to make the team as a guy who will earn third-down looks, Abdullah’s 2018 role appears to be delegated to injury insurance and possible special teams contributor.
So it makes sense for the Lions to entertain offers to trade Abdullah if any come in. Danny Kelly of The Ringer came up with nine hypothetical trades that NFL teams should make, and Kelly found himself a suitor for Abdullah.
“Houston is in need of some depth at the position as recent reports indicate that the early part of second-year back D’Onta Foreman’s season may be in doubt as he comes back from an Achilles tendon tear,” Kelly wrote. “Abdullah is a dynamic athlete with plenty of burst in space, and could be a perfect fit in O’Brien’s motion-heavy, hybrid-spread scheme.”
This trade makes sense on several different levels. First, as Kelly mentions, the Texans’ starting back D’Onta Foreman is coming off a serious Achilles tear and may not be ready to go to start the season. Lamar Miller ran for 888 yards last year, but averaged just 3.7 yards per carry. Abdullah could theoretically be the Texans’ starter or No. 2 back until Foreman is ready to go, and then provide valuable depth once Foreman is healthy.
Also, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien has a working relationship with Lions general manager Bob Quinn, as they worked alongside each other in New England for five years. Though the two haven’t come together on a deal yet, it stands to reason that the two would be comfortable working together on a trade.
However, the Texans would have to make this worth the Lions’ while. Detroit would free up $1 million cap space by moving Abdullah, but that alone isn’t really worth getting rid of a player that is somewhat capable to come in and replace an injured player and also was second in the league in kick return average just three years ago.
Kelly predicts it would take a “mid-to-late round pick” to swing a deal. Considering the Eagles got a fourth-round pick for Jay Ajayi midseason in 2017, if the Lions could manage to pull off similar terms, that would easily be worth it. However, that seems a little unlikely given that Abdullah’s value is probably at its lowest right now. A sixth-round pick is probably more likely, and makes the decision much tougher for Quinn. It’s something he’d have to seriously consider, though, since Abdullah is almost certainly done in Detroit after 2018, regardless of what Detroit decide to do with him this season.
Anything short of a sixth-rounder isn’t really worth it, but if the Texans come calling, Quinn will have a tough decision to make.
Would you trade Ameer Abdullah for a 6th-round pick?
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