The NFL’s trade deadline hasn’t always been such an event.
In fact, after the Dallas Cowboys fleeced the Minnesota Vikings at 1989’s trade deadline, the self-imposed cut off for transactions between teams was a rather unremarkable date on the league’s calendar. From 1990 to 2012, only 32 trades were made at the deadline.
And maybe for good reason: if you would have played witness to eight draft picks—including three consecutive seasons of both first and second-round picks—switching hands in exchange for a running back, you might have become quite the reluctant general manager yourself after parsing the fallout of such a disaster.
As recently as 2011, the trade deadline used to be Week 6 of the season, which didn’t give teams much of a chance to determine if they were contenders or pretenders. Beginning with the 2012 season, the league and the NFL Player’s Association (NFLPA) agreed to move the deadline back to Week 8, almost halfway through the season. Since then, the trades have been more prevalent and involving more prolific talent.
Leading up to this deadline, names like Jalen Ramsey, Mohamed Sanu, and Leonard Williams have moved from one team to another with both Ramsey and Sanu potentially playing significant roles in their respective team’s quest for a championship.
Which brings us to today’s Question of the Day:
What do the Lions need to do at the trade deadline?
Even after a victory over the New York Giants on Sunday, I’m not convinced this Lions team is ready to contend with some of the best the league has to offer. And with that in mind, I don’t want to see the Lions become buyers at the deadline.
No, Melvin Gordon, it’s not you, it’s me. It’s me realizing correlation does not imply causation—and looking at these pretty revealing numbers when it comes to how this offensive line just isn’t blocking for the run:
Taylor Decker was Detroit's highest graded run blocker on the OL Sunday at 56.8. Ragnow was the only other lineman graded higher than a 50 on the ground by PFF.— Benjamin Raven (@BenjaminSRaven) October 28, 2019
So that means no Rashaad Penny, no Devonta Freeman, no to any running back who will cost the Lions more draft capital than they can afford to spend when the real problem needs to be addressed through the draft. Budgeting themselves at the deadline could go a long ways towards the Lions improving their depth at positions they so desperately need to improve like linebacker, and the top-end talent along their offensive line.
Speaking of needs, the Lions have plenty of them, so it’s hard to justify them being buyers when you consider context. They’re 3-3-1 and looking up at the likes of the Vikings, Seahawks, Rams, and Panthers ahead of them in the race for a wild card spot. Would a cornerback like Patrick Peterson push them over the top? What about his veteran teammate in Arizona, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs? If the Lions were able to nab two of their top needs, would you find them so better positioned for the remaining nine games than the teams ahead of them in the standings?
But what about all this noise about Darius Slay being made available ahead of today’s deadline? With a team like Philadelphia convinced all that stands between them and the playoffs is an elite cornerback, they could be willing to pay the hefty price tag the Lions are reportedly not backing down from demanding in exchange for one of the league’s premier defenders. As Kyle Yost put out there for everyone yesterday: if the price is right, how could you say no to moving on from Slay?
And well, I learned a very valuable lesson three hours after I tweeted this out:
idc either way, just do something https://t.co/QoIkWiJX0C— the ghost of Ryan Mathews (@Ryan_POD) October 22, 2019
Not saying this was the reason Detroit traded away Quandre Diggs—I didn’t want that to happen, let the record show—but I am definitely not a fan of standing pat. Still channeling big “idc either way, just do something” energy. They don’t have to be sellers, but I don’t want them to be buyers either, ya know?