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Discussion: Should the Lions be buyers, sellers, or neutral at the trade deadline?

The Lions are in unprecedented territory as the trade deadline approaches.

Detroit Lions Training Camp Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

On Tuesday, our beloved Chris Perfett made the case that the Lions should be prepared to buy at the trade deadline. This is the first time under the Holmes & Campbell regime that the Lions have a legitimate case to be buyers—in years past, the season looked almost lost at this point.

Instead, the Lions find themselves in the driver’s seat of the NFC North and tied with the Packers for easiest remaining strength of schedule for the year. That begs the question of whether they want to pour more resources into a championship push this year (I can’t believe I’m saying that).

Question of the day: Should the Lions be buyers, sellers, or neutral at the trade deadline?

My answer: I would say neutral, possibly with a slight lean towards buy under some very favorable circumstances.

I don’t think I need to explain to you why a 4-1 team isn’t considering selling at the deadline. However, it can be tempting to smash the buy button and go all in. Chris made some tempting suggestions in his piece, most notably the idea of acquiring Patrick Surtain II, a young cornerstone player like who would anchor the defense for years to come.

Unfortunately, I just don’t think that’s the wisest way to spend resources given where the Lions are right now. If this were two to three years down the road, I’d be a lot more inclined to. However, hard buying at the trade deadline is for when you have a very clear and narrow championship window—think Tom Brady with the Bucs, Aaron Rodgers (if he were healthy) with the Jets, or when the Rams went all in with Matthew Stafford for a Super Bowl run.

The Lions just aren’t there. They have several young cornerstone players locked up for years to come. Aidan Hutchinson, Brian Branch, Sam LaPorta, Kerby Joseph, and more aren’t going anywhere, and guys like Penei Sewell and Amon-Ra St. Brown have earned their upcoming payday.

You also know what they bring to the table, while any player coming from the outside runs the risk of not panning out. Sure, a player like Surtain is absolutely stellar, but nothing is guaranteed in this league. Just look at how recently the Los Angeles Chargers paid J.C. Jackson and how that turned out.

I do agree with Chris that a depth player for a day three pick is worthwhile, especially when you consider the Lions’ recent injuries in the secondary. However, even then I’m apprehensive about short-sighted moves, but maybe I’m still soured by Martin Mayhew’s 2012 acquisition of Mike Thomas and how that turned out.

The cost for a star player like Patrick Surtain is often justified, but the tradeoff of having multiple high draft picks in future years is too steep for me, especially given Brad Holmes’ track record in the draft so far. The Lions have made a point to build this team sustainably, and I trust them to continue doing so. Buying with anything more than a day three pick at the deadline would be a deviation from Holmes’ philosophy in my opinion. Then again, we’ve never been in this situation before.

Do you think the Lions should be buyers, sellers, or neutral at the trade deadline? Vote below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.


Should the Lions be buyers, sellers, or neutral at the trade deadline?

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