3 potential options for the Detroit Lions to replace Sam LaPorta

Assuming Sam LaPorta misses the Wild Card Round, at least, here are some options the Detroit Lions could turn to to replace him.
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1. Zach Ertz

Right after LaPorta's injury, on the easy assumption the Lions' stud rookie will miss at least the first playoff game, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero dropped this.

At 33 years old, Ertz is not the player he was at his peak. But he had a fairly productive start this season with the Arizona Cardinals, with six catches in three of the first four games. He was an easy trade candidate for a team that didn't expect to win a lot of games, but he suffered a quad injury and after he was recovered the Cardinals granted his request to be let go in late-November.

About a month ago, Pelissero reported Ertz had had "serious conversations" with six teams. That set of teams, however obviously, were contenders as Ertz eyes getting another Super Bowl ring. There has been nothing about Ertz since, though Pelissero added at that time the three-time Pro Bowler would remain patient to find the right fit.

The Lions, as a contender with a need for a capable veteran tight end and a position coach he's familiar with (Heiden), might be that right fit Ertz has been waiting for. As for getting him, or anyone else from the outside, ramped up quickly, here's some insight into Ben Johnson's offense from Justin Rogers of the Detroit News.

"And here's the nice thing about Johnson's offensive scheme; for as complex as it is, on the whole, it's condensed weekly to approximately 20 formations, with a handful of play designs stemming off each. That makes it easier for a veteran to pick it up midstream."

Ertz is easily the best tight end available, and that has held true for months in one fashion or another (as a trade candidate or when he was waived by Arizona). If LaPorta will miss the Wild Card game, and perhaps more, the Lions wouldn't be doing their full due diligence without at least checking in on Ertz.


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