4. Darius Slayton, New York Giants
Rumors in the hours before the Nov. 2 trade deadline suggested the Giants were willing to move Slayton, and there was a case for the Lions to consider making the move. This offseason, there’s a better opportunity to circle back.
Spurred by Daniel Jones’ struggles and then there somehow being a major drop-off to Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm after Jones was injured, Slayton had just 26 catches and two touchdowns in 13 games this season. A better representation of his ability came in his first two NFL seasons, when he had at least 740 yards and averaged at least 15 yards per catch.
Slayton has one year left on his contract, at a pretty cheap rate ($2.54 million base salary) due to being a fifth-round pick in 2019. As the Lions look for a deep threat and potential value, Slayton looks like a viable trade target.
3. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
If the Lions want to go big-game hunting on the trade market, Thomas fits that bill. His 2020 season was impacted by an ankle injury, and after (however controversially) waiting to have surgery until June he wound up missing the entire 2021 season.
The Saints are in salary cap purgatory, to put it mildly (projected close to $76 million in the red right now, via Over The Cap). Thomas has a $24.7 million cap hit for 2022, with three total years left on his contract at a similar level. A restructure upon a trade could soften the cap hit for the Saints and an acquiring team, as would a post-June 1 deal.
I wouldn’t consider Thomas an incredibly likely trade trade target for the Lions. But a couple members of the coaching staff came from the New Orleans coaching staff, and the league’s single-season record holder for catches (149 in 2019) is an option to make a deal for.