Wide receiver trades that Detroit Lions should make now

Detroit Lions wide receiver Kalif Raymond (11) (Syndication: Detroit Free Press)
Detroit Lions wide receiver Kalif Raymond (11) (Syndication: Detroit Free Press) /
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Julio Jones, Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Julio Jones (2) (Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports) /

Detroit Lions’ criteria for making a trade

The Detroit Lions are sitting on $16.95 million dollars of cap space currently, according to Spotrac, a pro sports transaction website. That is the ninth-most in the NFL for the time being and would allow for the general manager, Brad Holmes, to make a move if he thought it could help the team for the future and present. The best way to make a move for next year would be to target young receivers who are on a contract year and would otherwise be free agents next offseason.

Trading for one of them could provide a low-cost option in 2021 and give the Lions’ rights to negotiate with the player ahead of 2022, when they should have somewhere between $25 million to as much as $58 million if they cut Trey Flowers, Jamie Collins, and Halapoulivaati Vaitai after June 1, 2022.

Detroit Lions trade examples

The other important considerations are the cost to obtain a player who will be a free agent before next year, and what kind of deal, i.e., how much money, the player wants going forward. Generally speaking, the younger the player, the higher the cost in compensation will be to the team giving up the player; deeper teams may not require as much compensation if they did not intend to offer an extension to the receiver.

This offseason saw superstar Julio Jones go from Atlanta to Tennessee for second and fourth-round selections (in the 2022 and 2023 drafts, respectively), with the Titans getting a 2023 sixth-round pick back. Jones is slated to make $15.3 million in salary this season but struggled to stay healthy in 2020, missing seven games, and hasn’t been in double-digit touchdowns since 2012, his only year to hit 10 touchdowns.

Some deals that mirror what the Detroit Lions should look for are the Anthony Miller trade where the former Bear’s receiver was moved for a fifth-round pick, and the Bears gave up an additional seventh to the Houston Texans to get some value out of the former second-rounder.

Brandin Cooks was traded to Houston before the 2020 draft for a second-round pick that went to the Los Angeles Rams, who also gave up a fourth-round pick in return. Cooks has had five 1,000-yard seasons since being drafted in 2014.

While some fans will balk at the idea of parting with draft capital, the Lions are in possession of eleven picks in the 2022 draft, including two No. 1’s, extra 3rd, 5th, and 6th comp picks (provisionally) and two 7th’s from New England and Cleveland, according to the Tankathon website, a draft and transaction website.

In 2023, they have an extra 1st from the Matthew Stafford trade, to spend, too, while only giving up a conditional pick, a 7th (we aren’t sure the terms), to the Rams for defensive end Michael Brockers.

That means the Detroit Lions can both spend some money and we know that they have some picks to utilize in trade if they find a player they like to have as a starter moving forward.