Detroit Lions trade rumors: A bold move to get a former first-round pick?
The Detroit Lions are at a point some calculated moves could bring a real boost now and into the future, and a new trade idea suggests they should pursue a former first-round pick.
The Detroit Lions seem to be on the right track in their build toward hopefully becoming a sustainable contender. General manager Brad Holmes has even gotten props for the way he’s leading the roster build.
The Lions will likely pursue their future quarterback in the 2023 draft, with the rest of the roster likely looking pretty much ready to go by then. But there are moves that could be made between now and then to accomplish something. That could be upgrading the talent level at certain spots, making a move to shed salary, etc.
The Lions’ defense was not great last season, but in particular the defensive line looks to be improved with another influx of young talent and growth from within. But could a significant move to add someone be on the table?
Detroit Lions rumors: A deal for a former first-round pick?
Ian Wharton of Bleacher Report has made a list of one trade offer each NFL team should make before training camp starts. A former Lion, Kenny Golladay, is featured twice as someone his current team (the New York Giants) should trade and another team (Chicago Bears) should trade for. Another former Lions’ wide receiver, Marvin Jones, is named who the Las Vegas Raiders should trade for.
But the trade the Lions should make is pretty interesting.
"Detroit Lions: Trade for Daron PayneLions get: DT Daron PayneCommanders get: DT Michael Brockers, 2023 second-round pick"
Terry McLaurin’s contract situation gets bigger headlines out of Washington, but Payne is also entering the final year of his contract with no signs the team is willing to pony up on a long-term deal. The Commanders have Chase Young, Jonathan Allen and Montez Sweat under contract for multiple years now, and they took Phidarian Mathis, another Alabama product (like Allen and Payne), in April’s draft. So Payne looks like the odd man out.
Payne, the No. 13 overall pick in the 2018 draft, has been durable, missing one game in four seasons. He has at least 54 total tackles every season thus far in his career, and he set career-highs in tackles (61) and quarterback hits (15) last year.
Payne turned 25 in May, so he could be a long-term piece for someone. Sending Brockers to Washington, as the proposal states, would be ideal for the Lions. It would obviously clear a spot for the younger and better Payne along the interior defensive line. But it would also clear $7 million in cap space (with $1.975 million in dead money, according to Over The Cap). If it meant attaching a second-round pick to Brockers for the deal to get done, that’s the cost of doing business in this scenario.
Getting a contract extension done with Payne would be natural follow up to trading for him for the Lions, to make sure he’s not a one-year rental if a second-round pick is part of the deal.
That’s where the idea of Payne to Detroit gets hairy. The Lions may not think they need him enough to give up a top 40-50 overall pick in next year’s draft in a trade, and Holmes values draft capital. Then there’s the contract matter, which might require putting him in the top-10 highest-paid defensive tackles in the league–however it’s looked at.
Still, the idea the Lions could make an aggressive move to give a disgruntled Payne a new environment is intriguing. Holmes showed he has some aggressiveness in him with the trade up to get Jameson Williams in April’s draft, so maybe he follows with something interesting before the season starts.