The Detroit Lions organization was ecstatic when they were able to land Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, as he was seen as the perfect complement to free agent signing David Montgomery.
But with the top two options at running apparently set, that left a huge question mark surrounding the status of last year’s co-starter D’Andre Swift. Would the Lions prefer to keep three potential starting running backs on the roster for the sake of depth or would Swift end up on the trade block?
On Friday, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that the Lions have been “receiving trade calls on running back D’Andre Swift, whose representatives have been in contact with the team about potentially moving to a new team.”
This news should not be overly surprising, considering the events that transpired on Thursday night. Not only did the Lions draft Gibbs, but when Lions’ general manager Brad Holmes was asked about Swift’s status moving forward, his answer raised some obvious red flags.
“I mean D’Andre is still on our roster,” Holmes said. “He’s still a part of our team, he’s still under contract with us. He’s a dynamic football player. So, it hasn’t really changed the math there yet, but it is early. So it didn’t really change we just kind of put Jahmyr in his own separate box and just got really excited about the player, didn’t really have any bearing of D’Andre.”
Not exactly a vote of confidence that he will remain in Detroit very long.
But Holmes is correct, Swift is a dynamic football player when he is healthy and the Lions believed he had a chance to be one of the best running back in the NFL. The biggest problem has been that he is often banged up and seemingly slow to work through injuries, often taking longer than the anticipated time to return from injuries.
For a staff that preaches a culture of players who loves football, coaches have seemed visibly frustrated with Swift’s timeline when it comes to recovering from injuries. Even ahead of last season, we saw then-running backs coach Duce Staley publically challenge Swift to fight through injuries instead of letting them limit him.
Like with Jeff Okudah and T.J. Hockenson, it wouldn’t be surprising to see this new regime trade away a talented player who may not be part of the team's long-term vision for the organization.