Should the Detroit Lions trade Jarrad Davis this year?

Jarrad Davis, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Jarrad Davis, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Despite being called a cornerstone by the Detroit Lions, should Jarrad Davis be traded?

Of all the first-round selections made by the Detroit Lions under the watchful eye of general manager Bob Quinn, linebacker Jarrad Davis has likely been the most disappointing. But will Quinn try to rectify that misstep by trading away the former first-rounder sometime this season?

The 21st overall selection of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Florida, Davis was supposed to be the centerpiece of the defensive resurgence in the Motor City. Yet, upon entering his fourth season in Detroit, the Lions opted not to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract, making him a free agent next March.

It didn’t help that the 24-year old is coming off his worst season with the Lions. Limited to just 11 games due to an ankle injury, Davis recorded 63 total tackles last season along with 2.0 sacks, three forced fumbles, and four tackles for loss. Pro Football Focus gave Davis an overall grade of 40.4 for his play last season, the lowest of his three-year career.

Despite the poor performance and the team’s refusal to pick up his contract in 2021, Lions’ head coach Matt Patricia still heaped praise on Davis this offseason. According to The Detroit News, Patricia called the young linebacker a cornerstone of what the team is trying to do and part of their big-picture plans.

Yet, the Lions recently brought in a flurry of linebacker talent including free agents Jamie Collins, Reggie Ragland, and Elijah Lee. Throw in a roster which already includes 2019 second-rounder Jahlani Tavai, Christian Jones, Jason Cabinda, Anthony Pittman, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, and Christian Sam; and suddenly the linebacker room is overflowing. Davis could easily be the odd-man-out this summer despite the cornerstone talk.

So if Quinn is willing to move on from Davis, where might he look to find some compensation? Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report believes the Lions could find a willing trade partner in the New York Giants.

"“If the Lions don’t view Davis as a long-term building block, it would make sense to deal him now. The New York Giants, who ranked 20th in rushing yards allowed and 28th in rushing touchdowns allowed, could be interested … it’s worth floating Davis to the same team that paid a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick for Leonard Williams less than a year ago.”"

Back in 2018, the Lions traded with the Giants to acquire defensive tackle Damon Harrison. The presence of Snacks that year was key to their defensive turnaround. Unfortunately, Harrison struggled with injuries last season and the team parted ways with him in February.

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A potential trade target for the Detroit Lions on the New York Giants’ roster could be pass rusher Markus Golden, who is being forced to sign his unrestricted free agent tender this week. The 29-year old Golden racked up 10.0 sacks for the G-Men last season and will play on another one-year deal for just $4.12 million.