Recent news further confirms Lions have already won the T.J. Hockenson trade

It was a little puzzling when the Lions traded T.J. Hockenson last season, but a report on Wednesday further confirms why and that they won the trade.

For a time, it felt like a no-brainer and a formality. After picking up his fifth-year option, the Detroit Lions would absolutely sign tight end T.J. Hockenson to a contract extension. But as the summer of 2022 went, there was no deal.

Then, sitting at 1-6 (even if that had no real impact on trading him), the Lions sent Hockenson to the division rival Minnesota Vikings in a deadline deal. They wound up with another top-60 pick in this year's draft via the deal, but it was still striking to see the Lions get notably worse talent-wise at tight end.

The tight end market certainly climbed last offseason, with the deals David Njoku and Dawson Knox got in particular. Hockenson could have made a case, and still can make a case, he deserves to be better-paid than both of those guys.

Hockenson's absence from big chunks of meaningful work during Vikings' training camp has been blamed on an ear infection, not his contract situation. Then, with a report from ESPN's Kevin Seifert he sat out Wednesday's practice with a lower back issue, The Athletic's Dianna Russini has this to add.

The Lions have absolutely, and fairly quickly, won the T.J. Hockenson trade

It's safe to assume Hockenson's camp presented the same "historic contract extension for a tight end" template to the Lions a year or so ago. No wonder a deal never got done, and never appeared to be close. Rather than keep beating their head against that negotiating wall all season, the Lions sent him elsewhere and his contract situation became Minnesota's problem.

The Lions used one of their second-round picks in April to replace Hockenson, taking Sam LaPorta. Then they traded up from the second-round pick they got from the Vikings in the Hockenson trade to take defensive back Brian Branch. Meanwhile the Vikings acquired a problem they probably didn't fully see coming, as Hockenson pretty clearly stages a "hold-in" as he seeks an overly lucrative new contract.

Fully evaluating the "winner" and "loser" from an NFL trade with players and draft picks in it would usually take longer. Like after said draft picks become players, then said players have played some meaningful games. But the Hockenson deal can already be called as a win for the Lions.

Next. 5 former Detroit Lions who should be on your radar in 2023 fantasy football drafts. 5 former Detroit Lions who should be on your radar in 2023 fantasy football drafts. dark