3 trades to make the Detroit Lions championship contenders in 2023

The Detroit Lions are the standing favorites to win the NFC North, but here are three trades that could make them legitimate title contenders this year.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams, Detroit Lions
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Trade Proposal No. 1

Lions get: WR Cooper Kupp
Rams get: 2024 first-round pick, 2024 third-round pick, 2025 third-round pick

Borrowing this directly from Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report, who recentlyhad the Lions trading for Kupp on a list of "firework NFL trade ideas" in some honor of the July 4 holiday.

"The Detroit Lions could make their case for inclusion by acquiring one of the remaining superstars from the Rams team that won Super Bowl LVI.

The Lions were one of the better offenses in the league behind a good offensive line, a resurgent season from Jared Goff and Amon-Ra St. Brown carrying the receiving corps. Pairing him with Kupp would make the receiving corps downright nasty.""

Alex Ballentine, Bleacher Report

The Rams are in an odd place, closer to a rebuild than contention as they deal with the repurcussions of being all-in to win a Super Bowl. Not that they should have any regrets about it, and they certainly don't.

Kupp is coming off an injury-shortened 2022, but he's only one year removed from a Triple Crown season in 2021 (145 receptions for 1,945 yards and 16 touchdowns). He's also one of few assets on the roster who could help the Rams recoup some serious draft capital.

Of course Kupp also has some history with Lions' quarterback Jared Goff, from four seasons (2017-2020) together when Goff was the Rams' quarterback. In each of the last two of those seasons, Kupp topped 90 catches.

There would be some natural concern of Kupp's skill set/usage overlapping with Amon-Ra St. Brown's. But, per Player Profiler, Kupp lined up in the slot just 43.4 percent of the time last year. Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson showed himself as an excellent play caller last year, and he could certainly find a way to use Kupp and St. Brown effectively together.

Kupp is under contract through 2026, as he crosses into his 30s. But it's only absolutely untenable to move on from him the next two years, with his 2024 salary and roster bonus already fully guaranteed. Cap space is possible to be cleared in 2025 (albeit with a $17.26 million dead money hit), and in 2026 parting ways is far easier.

Two locked in guaranteed years of Kupp, when he should still be very good, should be easy for the Lions to palate in a broad sense. It would come down to making a bold trade and parting with some draft capital, to be all-in for that window.

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