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Tuesday open thread: What should the Detroit Lions do at the trade deadline?

Buy? Sell? Stand put?

Detroit Lions v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions are in a tough position at 3-4. While they have looked like a team capable of picking up wins against the bottom-dwellers in the NFL, teams like the Saints, Packers and Colts have humbled them quickly this year. The lone outlier in all this is Detroit’s narrow victory over the 5-2 Cardinals, but given how far behind Detroit is right now, it may not matter.

That is, unless the Lions get aggressive at the trade deadline. By 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, teams must make their final trade offers for the 2020 season, and we’ve already seen the Lions make one move. The addition of Everson Griffen has suddenly become quite timely, as starting defensive end Trey Flowers was placed on injured reserve on Monday. But are the Lions done? Do they buy, in the hopes of moving from mediocre to contender? Or do they see their team as too far away from true contention and start building for the future?

Today’s Question of the Day is:

What should the Lions do at the trade deadline?

My answer: First, let’s put the Lions’ situation in context of their current general manager Bob Quinn. To put simply, Quinn has no motivation to be a seller at the deadline. Trading away a player prioritizes the future over the present, and for Quinn, the future is not guaranteed after five years of mediocre-at-best roster building. You’d love to see Bob Quinn take the team’s best interest to heart—which may mean selling at the deadline—but you have to imagine his personal interests take priority, since self preservation is high on everyone’s list.

But let’s push that aside for a second. What would actually be best for the franchise right now?

The case for being a buyer

At 3-4, the Lions are just two games out of the NFC North lead, and just about every team looks vulnerable right now. The Packers have now lost two of their last three, the Bears have lost two in a row, and the Vikings are nearly dead already at 2-5.

The Lions have already showed improvement in their run defense, and we know they have talent on the offensive side of the ball. If Matthew Stafford can get things going, and the Lions add a premier talent of defense—say Stephon Gilmore—it’s not out of the question to see the Lions making the playoffs.

That extra playoff spot this year likely means a 9-7 or 10-6 team will slip into a playoff spot. If Detroit takes care of business against Vikings (twice), Washington, Panthers and Texans, that already puts them at eight wins. That leaves it up for the Lions to win one or two games against the Packers, Bears, Titans and Buccaneers. Easy? Of course not. But certainly doable.

And who knows what happens in the playoffs after that?

The case for selling

The Lions just don’t look like a good team right now. Even if they were to make the playoffs, they seem like an obvious one-and-done team based on how they’ve played against good teams this season.

Also, no game should be considered a gimme for the Lions right now. They may have beaten the Falcons, but they had to be gifted an extra life from Todd Gurley. And now the Lions have to deal with injuries to two of their best players in Kenny Golladay and Trey Flowers.

Things look remarkably similar to the 2018 season. At 3-3, the Lions were exposed by the Seahawks as frauds, and a few days later Golden Tate was sent packing. At the time, the move felt a little hasty, as Detroit was still very much in the division race. But in retrospect, getting that third-round pick turned out to be the right choice.

After being humbled by the Colts on Sunday, it certainly feels like the Lions don’t belong anywhere near the “contenders” conversation. So maybe it is time to start accumulating some roster capital for the future.

Your turn.

Poll

What should the Lions do at the trade deadline?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Buy
    (531 votes)
  • 47%
    Sell
    (725 votes)
  • 18%
    Do nothing
    (284 votes)
1540 votes total Vote Now