Lions head coach Dan Campbell plainly explains why Jeff Okudah was traded
The move was ultimately not a surprise, but Lions head coach Dan Campbell very plainly and directly explained why Jeff Okudah was traded.
The writing was put on the wall with what the Detroit Lions did in free agency to bolster their secondary. Having a looming decision on an $11.5 million fifth-year option for next year had to be a factor. So when cornerback Jeff Okudah was traded to the Atlanta Falcons this week, it was no surprise.
Lions head coach Dan Campbell was on “The Rich Eisen Show” on Thursday. Okudah was an easy topic to surface, and Campbell had the expected, plain and direct explanation for the move.
"We knew we wanted to upgrade the secondary and we’ve been pleased with the upgrades that we’ve made, man,” “Bringing in Sutton and Moseley, and then getting C.J. Johnson from Philadelphia, we feel like we really beefed up that area. And we still got Jerry Jacobs, we got Will Harris back. So we’ve got a group and we just felt pretty good with the additions we made.”"
Dan Campbell gives the easy and obvious explanation for Jeff Okudah trade
Sometimes moves are a win for all involved when it’s time to move on. Okudah was going to count for over $10 million against the cap for the Lions this year, and he was lined up to be a backup. The opportunity to really gets his career on an upward track was not coming in Detroit anymore.
Sometimes there is not more than meets the eye when a player is traded. Campbell confirmed it when he continued to talk to Eisen about Okudah.
"And, we really felt like at this time, this is probably the best thing for us and for Jeff, man,” Campbell continued. “A new change of scenery and get him a fresh start. We felt really good about our guys. Look, man, I appreciate Jeff. Jeff was a pro. He came to work, he busted his ass. Man, he worked at it. He was coming off an injury last year, and we just felt like, you know what, this is the right thing to do right now.”"
The Lions took nearly a $5.5 million dead money hit to trade Okudah, with nearly $5.2 million in cap space cleared, and Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus reported they also paid $1.5 million of Okudah’s 2023 salary. But the finances were a background consideration here, and Campbell confirmed what was easy to realize. Okudah was not a part of the plan in Detroit, and it was best for both sides to move on sooner instead of later.