The Detroit Lions are set to enter the 2021 NFL regular season with some serious questions about their wide receiver corps. That after parting ways with nearly every starting receiver they had on the roster last season.
The Lions are in the midst of a rebuild after hiring Brad Holmes as the team’s new general manager and Dan Campbell as the Pride’s new head coach this offseason. The pair made sweeping changes to front office personnel, the coaching staff, and along the roster. This biggest change being under center with the trading away of quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for passer Jared Goff and a slew of high draft picks.
But the one positional group to experience the most change was undoubtedly the wide receiver corps. The new regime in Detroit seemed all too happy to part ways with names like Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., Danny Amendola, and Jamal Agnew and replace them with several free-agent veterans on one year deals.
And that fact doesn’t bode well for Goff and his first season in Detroit. The team is essentially holding tryouts this summer to attempt to cobble together what is likely to be the worst wide receiver corps in the league.
While there is some optimism that players like Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman, and rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown can surprise fans with their abilities once the season starts, it’s clear the Lions could use more talent to add to this group. And now, there’s an opportunity to do just that.
According to a recent report by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, wide receiver James Washington has requested a trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers. And Detroit could be the perfect landing spot for the former second-rounder.
The 25-year old Washington is reportedly not satisfied with his playing time from last year and this preseason. The Steelers just faced off against the Dallas Cowboys in the annual Hall of Fame game to kick off the preseason. Washington was targeted twice in the exhibition and came away with no catches.
Last season, Washington was fifth in targets behind fellow receivers Diontae Johnson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool, and former Lions tight end Eric Ebron. He recorded 30 catches on 56 targets for 392 yards and five touchdowns as a seven-game starter on a 12-4 Steelers team.
Washington played in 44% of Pittsburgh’s offensive snaps in 2020. But he had played 64% of those snaps the season before.
Coming out of Oklahoma State in 2018, the 5-foot-11, 213-pound Washington was viewed as a vertical talent with a history of making chunk plays using a combination of speed and tracking abilities. He also has the skills to line up both in the slot and along the outside.
James Washington clearly wants to compete for a starting role. And playing for the Detroit Lions would likely be his best opportunity to earn one. Entering the final year of his rookie deal, Washington would only bring with him a non-guaranteed $1.09 million salary if traded according to Spotrac. If Detroit could land a potential starter for their receiver corps for a low-day-three draft selection, the Lions would be crazy not to seriously consider it.