For the Detroit Lions, it was very possible Tuesday's trade deadline day would be active for general manager Brad Holmes but not yield much of anything. About an hour before the 4 p.m. ET deadline, Holmes preempted head coach Dan Campbell's press conference to announce he had acquired wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones from the Cleveland Browns for a 2025 sixth-round pick.
The Lions were left a bit thin at wide receiver by Marvin Jones' departure to handle a personal matter last week. Campbell noted being "one injury away" from a dire situation at outside receiver, which drove the effort to add someone before the trade deadline.
Peoples-Jones was drafted by the Browns in the sixth round of the 2020 draft out of the University of Michigan. He is, for how much it actually matters in terms of what he brings to the table as a talent (it doesn't), a Detroit native.
Peoples-Jones had the best season of his career in 2022, with 61 receptions for 839 yards and three touchdowns. He played 83 percent of the offensive snaps for the Browns so far this season, but he was strangely uninvolved (eight catches for 97 yards, on 18 targets). The Browns' revolving door at quarterback, as Deshaun Watson deals with a shoulder issue, did not help.
Detroit Lions trade grade: WR Donovan Peoples-Jones acquired from the Browns
Peoples-Jones has good size (6-foot-2, 204 pounds), speed and contested catch ability. The Lions are sure to have noticed how willing a blocker he is, and he can play inside or outside. His acquisition is not necessarily a negative referendum on Jameson Williams, or Josh Reynolds, but the Lions wanted another option and they found a fit.
Peoples Jones is in the last year of his contract, which had advanced him as a trade candidate with how little the Browns were involving him in their offense. He's 24 years old, and if he could have picked a change of scenery in a trade a return home to Detroit might have been it.
Time will tell if Peoples-Jones makes any impact for the Lions' offense over the second half of the season. But a sixth-round pick is a fine cost to find out about him, and the upside potential is definitely there.
In terms of a grade for the Peoples-Jones deal, I'm going narrowly above-average for the Lions. Anything better right now felt like a reach.