Jeff Okudah could certainly be on the trade block, but can the Detroit Lions actually find a team to take him?
With a decision on his fifth-year option for 2024 coming on May 1, the Detroit Lions have made it pretty clear how they feel about Jeff Okudah. He has been pushed down the pecking order by the signings of Cameron Sutton, Emmanuel Moseley and C.J. Gardner-Johnson, and the Lions could also draft a cornerback early later this month.
If the Lions pick up that option, which feels unlikely, they’ll be on the hook to pay Okudah $11.5 million in 2024. He carries a $10.67 million cap hit for this year as it is, with a backup role lined up for him.
Okudah was finally mostly healthy last season, his third in the league, and he played well when he was right. But he suffered a concussion, then battled an illness before another injury cost him the season finale. And no matter what anyone says, he was benched at one point.
Okudah still, in theory, has untapped potential at 24 years old. But that ship appears set to sail him out of Detroit, and whatever potential he has will be realized elsewhere–if it’s ever realized.
NFL trade rumors: Could the Detroit Lions find a team to take Jeff Okudah?
If another team thinks they can unlock Okudah and was willing to trade for him, Lions general manager Brad Holmes would surely waist no time to get that deal done. A Day 3 draft pick? Sure. And a bag of deflated footballs? Sure, with sarcasm inherent, done.
Mike Fisher of Rams Digest offers a tie that has bound past deals.
"One rumor has the Detroit Lions – famously a Rams trade partner when Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff switched cities – showing a willingness to move on from cornerback Jeff Okudah.Los Angeles is revamping its secondary, mostly for financial reasons, having traded cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Miami Dolphins while also losing safeties Nick Scott and Taylor Rapp in free agency."
Clutch Points has speculated about the Rams sending a third-round pick and multiple Day 3 picks to the Lions for Okudah. Fisher leaned into Okudah’s potential as a case for the Rams to make that kind of deal.
"Okudah’s upside is still in play – more likely to succeed in the NFL than a coming third-round player – and his team would have contractual control with two seasons remaining on his rookie deal. It’s a way to “remodel” without giving up … a way to “remodel” upward."
If a third-round pick were offered for Okudah, the Lions would presumably make that move in a heartbeat. A third-round pick and more? Holmes couldn’t initiate that trade call to the league office fast enough.
If the Lions do take a cornerback in the first couple rounds of the draft, that will seal the decision not to pick up Okudah’s fifth-year option.
There’s not much that could take Okudah’s trade value lower. But during the draft after they take a cornerback would be a low-leverage point for the Lions, at the very least. So if they’re inclined to shop him the time looks to be between now and April 27, even if the return won’t be earth-shattering under any circumstance.