The New York Jets haven’t seen what they were hoping for in right tackle Wayne Hunter and demoted him as a result. Austin Howard steps in his place, basically by default, and so the Jets are left with a big need at tackle.
The New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta reports that the Jets have engaged other teams in trade talks in hopes of acquiring a tackle.
Could the Detroit Lions be one of those teams?
I discussed the Lions’ depth at tackle in a piece for the Detroit Freep Press at Freep.com last month. Even at that time it was obvious that an NFL roster-worthy tackle wouldn’t be starting the regular season on the Lions’ 53-man roster. That leaves open the possibility of a trade to a desperate party like the Jets.
Jeff Backus and Riley Reiff aren’t going anywhere. Gosder Cherilus appears to have steadied his game to the point where he has held off Riley Reiff for the starting job at right tackle so he should be safe from a trade as well. Injuries likely remove any trade value Jonathan Scott may have had.
Fox is finally healthy and the reports out of camp have been positive. Hilliard has been a steady player capable of stepping in admirably during his Lions career.
It remains to be seen if there really is a match to be made here but it looks like a possibility based on the situations of each team. Turning a would be roster cut into something useful would be another pure-Mayhew move. Even acquiring a late round pick would be a coup for the Lions.
There is no urgency from the Lions side as they have some time before needing to make the deep cuts necessary to get down to their final roster. Rosters get cut down to 80 next Tuesday and down to the final 53 on August 31. This Jets situation is another wrinkle to watch unfold as the final roster takes shape.