Detroit Lions go all-in for veteran edge rusher in PFF trade proposal

The Detroit Lions will surely add an edge rusher (or two) this offseason, and Pro Football Focus has proposed an all-in trade.
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams v
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams v / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

Led by Aidan Hutchinson, the Detroit Lions led the NFL with a 28.2 pressure rate this past season. But that did not translate to a lot of sacks, with their 41 sacks landing in the bottom half of the league. Hutchinson had 11.5, and defensive tackle Alim McNeill had five. But there was a steep drop-off after that, highlighted by no other edge rusher besides Hutchinson having more than two sacks.

The addition of CFL star Mathieu Betts will help bridge that pass rush gap if he sticks, but free agents Charles Harris, Romeo Okwara and Julian Okwara are all but sure to be gone. So another addition or two is surely coming, via free agency, a trade or the draft. Or maybe some combination of those avenues.

The big question is how "all-in" general manager Brad Holmes will be to add anyone this offseason. The easy thing to say is he won't give up lofty draft capital to trade for someone, or pay someone a lot of money in free agency. But it's also fair to assume Holmes is savvy enough to not just dismiss the possibility of a move without digging into it.

Lions go all-in for a veteran edge rusher in Pro Football Focus trade proposal

Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus has offered up a list of "4 NFL trades that could shake up the 2024 offseason." The third one on the list involves the Lions.


  • Trade compensation: 2025 fourth-round pick
  • Contract acquired: One year, $23.25 million (non-guaranteed)

Spielberger did not say the Lions should absolutely acquire Mack, as he outlined the situation from both sides.

"This will be a tough needle to thread, much like DeAndre Hopkins last offseason, with the Arizona Cardinals ultimately having to just release the veteran wideout despite other teams having clear interest in his services. That interest comes at a price in this league, however, and Mack’s 2024 salary is exorbitant for a 33-year-old edge defender, even one coming off as strong a season as Mack’s 2023 campaign."

"The challenge for Los Angeles will be convincing teams they are trading for the 2023 version of Mack and not what is more likely a player whose median expectation should fall somewhere between his past two seasons."

"....Detroit and general manager Brad Holmes have done remarkably well to add young talent through the draft and came quite close to a Super Bowl appearance in 2023, and while they don’t want to get too aggressive with a bunch of key in-house extensions on the horizon, picking their spot in adding a savvy veteran difference-maker like Mack could push them over the edge."

Mack's "down year" based on deeper metrics in 2022 was eight sacks, after he had missed 10 games with a foot injury the previous season (the only time he has missed significant time in his career). That said, he had gone four straight seasons without getting double-digit sacks before this past season. He just wasn't as dominant as he had been before.

The primary things with Mack are his age (33 on Feb. 22), what he's making in the final year of his contract and the likelihood of some type of contract extension upon acquiring him. As Spielberger noted, somewhere between his last two seasons should be where statistical expectations are set for Mack next season.

With their rough cap situation right now, the Chargers might be desperate enough to take less than what it seems they could get for Mack, if only based on his name, or they could be forced to cut him if a trade doesn't materialize.

A 2025 fourth-round pick, based on Spielberger's proposal, would not be an exorbitant price to add a proven edge rusher of Mack's ilk. It's everything else that turns trading for him toward unlikely for the Lions.

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