The NFL trade deadline is next Tuesday, and with trades being more commonplace than ever in today’s NFL, this year’s deadline day can be more exciting than ever. Detroit already made one big move, sending safety Quandre Diggs to the Seattle Seahawks for a swap of Day 3 picks, but they still have time to make a few more in the coming week if they choose.
Here are a few names that could be on the move this week, and whether or not Detroit should—or could—make a move for them:
Chandler Jones (DE - Arizona Cardinals)
Chandler Jones has been the most popular name among Lions fans around the trade deadline and for good reason. The star defensive end has quietly been a force on a terrible Cardinals team, and even earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance against the New York Giants last Sunday. He also has experience playing under Matt Patricia, as the Lions head coach was the edge rusher’s defensive coordinator between 2012 to 2015 in New England.
Detroit is in desperate need for a better pass rush, and Jones could be the fix. The pass rusher has been a consistent force in the league, and can definitely generate pressure on his own. For a team like the Lions that does not blitz much and expects its rushers to have to win individual matchups, he would be perfect.
Unfortunately, he is also expensive. The defensive end will be due over $40 million over the next two seasons if he comes to Detroit. While they could always get out of paying him that by cutting him next offseason, one has to imagine a trade for Jones could cost serious draft capital, and the Lions would not want to give up a lot for a rental. Keeping him until the end of his contract in 2021 is not feasible either, though, as the team already has a lot tied up to the position with fellow defensive end Trey Flowers set to make $90 million over the next five years.
Jones would be a welcome addition to the Lions defense, but they just can not afford him at the moment.
Robby Anderson (WR - New York Jets)
The New York Jets speedster might be available for trade, as the team’s playoff hopes are all but dead, and he is in a contract year. If Detroit still hopes that they can compete in 2019, then the addition of Anderson would be perfect for the offense.
Detroit currently lacks speed at receiver, with Marvin Hall being the only true burner in the receiving corps. Upgrading to Anderson can help take the top off of defenses, and not only give Matthew Stafford another target, but also free things up for Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay underneath.
New York would not have much leverage in trade negotiations, so a team who trades for Anderson would probably not give more than a Day 3 draft pick. The receiver is also due on $3 million in 2019 (half of which the Jets have paid), and will be a free agent next offseason. That means that he would be cheap in both draft capital and salary.
The Lions already have a good amount of talent at receiver, though. If the front office feels that the 2019 season is dead, then trading away draft capital for a one-year rental in what is essentially a luxury position at the moment may not be the best move.
Nelson Agholor (WR - Philadelphia Eagles)
Last offseason I wrote about why Agholor could be a trade target for Detroit. While the reasoning and evaluation of Agholor from then still hold true, the situation has changed a bit.
Danny Amendola has been better than expected as the team’s slot receiver, and Agholor’s level of play has fallen off a cliff in 2019. While a change of scenery could help the young receiver—there have been many reports about the relationship between the Eagles receivers and quarterback Carson Wentz fracturing over the past few months—Detroit may no longer need his services. He carries a large price tag as well, as he is in the final year of his rookie contract.
It would probably only take a late-round pick to land the receiver, but there are better options on the market at the moment.
Kenyan Drake (RB - Miami Dolphins)
When the Lions placed running back Kerryon Johnson on injured reserve, calls for the addition of Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake began to echo among the fan base. Miami’s running back is a great athlete who can be a boost in both the passing and run game. He also in an exceptional pass blocker.
Miami is in the midst of a
tank rebuild and are seemingly willing to offload any talent they have for future assets. Drake is in a contract year and is not likely to stick around this offseason. This gives the Lions an opportunity to send a Day 3 pick for the back and have him fill Johnson’s role in the short term. They have the freedom to move on from Drake if they feel he and Johnson cannot coexist next season, but they could also extend him and create one of the league’s better running back duos.
This is probably the most realistic option for Detroit if they want to add someone for cheap this deadline, and Drake happens to be a personal favorite player of mine as well.
effort play of the year by kenyan drake— spooky bird name (@MansurShaheen) October 11, 2018
puts a rushing lb on his butt, leaks out on to his route, catches a short pass and beats everyone to convert a 3rd and 16 pic.twitter.com/V6UvwY2esS
we stan kenyan drake on this account pic.twitter.com/oLfOvOiv72— spooky bird name (@MansurShaheen) June 6, 2018
Vic Beasley (DE - Atlanta Falcons)
Vic Beasley looked like he was going to be one of the NFL’s greatest edge rushers in 2016. He led the NFL in sacks and was named an All Pro. It looked like the Falcons had landed themselves a star that would join the ranks of Khalil Mack, Von Miller and J.J. Watt one day.
Three years later, Beasley is not anywhere near that level. He has a hard time even making himself noticed on the field.
Through seven games this season, Beasley has only notched 1.5 sacks. The numbers never tell the whole story, but they do a good job of doing it here. He has not done much this season and has been a part of an awful Falcons defense.
Atlanta is hoping to move on from the defensive end, and he is hoping to find his form somewhere else. While a late-round pick should be the only cost to land Beasley, he also comes with a big price tag this year. A team that trades for him would owe Beasley around $6 million this year, which is an overpay for that level of production. Signing him to an immediate extension to lessen the blow in year one (he is currently in a contract year) could just end up handicapping the team with a bad player long term.
Detroit could really use some pass rushing help and the prospect of adding a former All Pro seems intriguing, but Beasley is probably not the answer.
Patrick Peterson (CB - Arizona Cardinals)
This week, one year ago, Cardinals corner Patrick Peterson requested a trade from the team. I even wrote about why that would be a good move for the Lions. The corner stayed put in the desert, though, and now we have come all the way around to another trade deadline and his name is the subject of trade rumors once again.
Peterson is no longer the elite, shut-down corner that he once was. He still is a great player, though. He would instantly be the second best player in Detroit’s secondary (maybe third if you really love Justin Coleman), and would be a boost in the defensive backfield. With Rashaan Melvin playing above expectations so far this season, it is hard to imagine where the corner would fit in, though. Detroit would have to pass on Peterson this time around.
Other names to watch:
Melvin Gordon (RB - Los Angeles Chargers)
Detroit could fill their need at running back by going after the Chargers Melvin Gordon. The running back has been sub-par since returning from a holdout a few weeks ago, but has shown flashes of being star at the position in previous years. The Lions could potentially buy low and bet that he can find his footing in a new environment. If he does not work out, then he only costs $4 million in 2019 and then Detroit could just move on from him this offseason as he is in a contract year. If they can get a low enough price for him, Gordon could be a worthwhile risk.
A.J. Green (WR - Cincinnati Bengals)
The Bengals long-time star receiver may be available as the team heads towards a long-term rebuild. While he would be another nice weapon for Stafford, he is too similar to the receivers on the roster and his salary and draft capital cost will be too large.
O.J. Howard (TE - Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
The tight end has seemingly fallen out of favor in Tampa Bay, with only 13 receptions through six games this season. This should have been a year that saw an increased role for the young tight end, but he has had trouble carving out a role for himself. While Detroit could definitely benefit from a player with Howard’s potential, it is hard to imagine them getting him for cheap enough to make the acquisition worthwhile.
Colt McCoy (QB - Washington)
Washington has two playable quarterbacks in Colt McCoy and current starter Case Keenum, with rookie first rounder Dwayne Haskins waiting behind them. There is a chance they may want to cash in this wealth an quarterback for a late draft pick, and Detroit could feasibly send over a late pick to D.C. and solidify their backup quarterback role.