With the 2021 NFL trade deadline coming, will the Detroit Lions make a move

Detroit Lions principal owner Sheila Ford Hamp, recently said about her franchise’s current rebuild, “Everyone knew this was going to be a hard year. A rebuild, no one wanted to say that exactly, but we all kind of knew it was going to be and I think, as I say, the good news is that our young guys are getting a lot of experience, probably a lot more than they would have normally, So, I think at the end of this year, we’ll really know what we have. I think we’re building our foundation, and as you know, we have a slew of draft picks coming up the next few years. So, I see nothing but positive going forward. I think we’ll have a chance to really, really improve ourselves, and I feel like we’ve got the right leaders to get us there.”

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 24: D’Andre Swift #32 of the Detroit Lions rushes for a touchdown during the first half in the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

For the 0-7 Detroit Lions who’s record hides the fact that rookies have played very well and improved week to week, the trade deadline can speed up the painstaking rebuild.

Lions General Manager, Brad Holmes who knows the Los Angeles Rams very well, could swing a massive trade is he chooses to do so. The Rams are in the market for a running back. Not that the Lions want to deal one, but one player could net a huge return.

D’Andre Swift, who is one of the NFL’s versatile running backs could net the Detroit Lions a return they simply could not turn down. Rams general manager Les Snead, has never shied away from dealing draft picks to gain talent.

The Lions who currently holds two first round draft picks in next springs draft could add more. Dealing a player like Swift, the Rams could cough up draft picks that include:

2022 second round draft pick

2023 second round draft pick

2023 third round draft pick

GLENDALE, AZ – DECEMBER 09: A Detroit Lions Helmet sits on the field before the NFL football game between the Detroit Lions and the Arizona Cardinals on December 9, 2018 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

That is not an overvalue of D’Andre Swift. As I stated he is very talented and would fit seamlessly into the Rams offense. I am not saying this will happen. But in a rebuild nothing is or should be off the table. Including one of the better young players in the league.

Will Brad Holmes swing a massive deal like this? We will find out next week.

 

Detroit Lions: Jared Goff and General Manager, Brad Holmes are not tied together

As far as the NFL goes there is a rule of thumb. That rule of thumb is that quarterbacks are tied to general managers. Meaning, when drafted or signed as a free agent or even traded for, the general manger (GM) and his job security is directly tied to the quarterback that is brought in. When Detroit Lions general manger Brad Holmes traded longtime starting quarterback (QB) Matthew Stafford and received draft picks and Los Angeles Rams starting quarterback Jared Goff many believed Holmes and Goff were tied together. I do not view that as the case here is why.

ALLEN PARK, MICHIGAN – JULY 28: General Manager Brad Holmes of the Detroit Lions looks on during the Detroit Lions Training Camp on July 28, 2021 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

No matter if Brad Holmes is true to his word (no reason to think otherwise) and he and the Detroit Lions were happy to get Jared Goff in the blockbuster trade or if Goff was a salary dump by the Rams, it does not change the fact Goff is now the starting QB in Detroit.

Due to his contract Goff will need to be on the Lions roster at least two years before the team can move on if that is what they choose. That said, I do not believe Brad Holmes job is in any trouble as long as Goff is the Lions quarterback win or loss.

The Lions are in a rebuild. A rebuild that in the early stages is off to a solid start. Holmes has focused, both his first draft as Lions GM and free agency on building the offensive and defensive lines. Which in my opinion is the right way to build a team.

It is also my opinion that Jared Goff will at the very least serve as the rebuild QB. This can work in the Lions favor. If Jared Goff can recapture his Pro Bowl form he could be a longer-term solution for the Lions who then would not need to use a high draft pick for a quarterback. If Goff’s play continues to decline, the Lions are only on the hook for two years before they can move him.

ALLEN PARK, MICHIGAN – MAY 27: Principal Owner and Chairman Sheila Ford Hamp and General Manager Brad Holmes watch the afternoon practice session on May 27, 2021 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

This is one case I feel where GM and quarterback are not tied at the hip. It is a rare exception dues to the rebuild that is taking place.

Day two of the 2021 NFL Draft showed the Detroit Lions new front office gets it

The Detroit Lions media and fan base are getting an up close look at just what made Lions General Manager Brad Holmes so valuable to the Los Angeles Rams. Holmes helped build the Rams into an NFC contender through a very good eye for talent and understanding how he wanted the Rams to look. The Detroit Lions are in a full rebuild and Holmes and the rest of the Lions front office have wasted no time in adding some key pieces for the teams future.

As of right now the Detroit Lions have a top five draft, this only after day 2 of the NFL Draft. When was the last time that happened you asked? 1988. Unless you live under a shoe you already know the Detroit Lions drafted offensive tackle Penei Sewell in the first round. A generational talent.

SEATTLE, WA – NOVEMBER 29: Washington Huskies defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike (95) walks up to the line of scrimmage before a play in the 112th Apple Cup between the Washington Huskies and the Washington State Cougars on Friday, November 29, 2019 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, WA. (Photo by Christopher Mast/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Day two saw Brad Holmes and the rest of the Lions front office adding even more teeth (pun and no pun intended) to the rebuilding Lions roster. With the second round draft pick Brad Holmes and the Lions selected defensive linemen  Levi Onwuzurike from the Washington Huskies. In the third round another defensive lineman from N. C. State Alim McNeill also in the third round cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu out of the University of Syracuse.

No skilled players draft in the first 3 rounds by the Lions. I am speechless. In a good way. Meaning that Brad Holmes and Co. are building the Detroit roster the proper way. Lions fans on social media for the most part are happy with the draft thus far. Some are not.

TALLAHASSEE, FL – OCTOBER 26: Safety Ifeatu Melifonwu #23 of the Syracuse Orange during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium on Bobby Bowden Field on October 26, 2019 in Tallahassee, Florida. The Seminoles defeated the Orange 35 to 17. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

To the fans that are not happy with the Lions draft through round 3, I say this. In a rebuild it is far more important to build the nucleus of the roster than it is to add skill players. Games are one and lost in the trenches. If the offensive line is doing their job then it will generate success. If the defensive line is doing their job it will give the linebackers and secondary a chance to shine thus generating more success.

The Detroit Lions will not win many games in 2021. That is alright. Brad Homes is setting the organization to win in a year or two from now. With a draft like this fans should be excited for the future.

Why Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith makes sense for the Detroit Lions

Gone from the Detroit Lions roster is pretty much all the wide receivers from the past few seasons. In with the new. Some players signed during free agency will add much needed speed, but by and large the Detroit Lions need to remake the receiver group from the draft. The Lions currently hold the #7 overall draft pick. A player who in my opinion would go a long way in retooling the downfield attack is former Alabama Crimson Tide receiver DeVonta Smith.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 05: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY through Tuesday, January 12, 2021. Approval by the Heisman Trust will be needed for any usage thereafter or any Commercial usage requests at any point.) Wide receiver DeVonta Smith of the Alabama Crimson Tide poses with the Heisman Memorial Trophy on January 05, 2021 in New York, New York. (Photo by Kent Gidley/Heisman Trophy Trust via Getty Images)

Heisman Trophy Winner DeVonta Smith is not the biggest wide receiver in the 2021 NFL Draft. But that is just fine. He may be among the fastest and also Smith contains some intangibles that may prove to be too much for the Detroit Lions to pass up.

During the COVID shortened college football season, Smith put up some eye popping numbers. Smith’s numbers and talent has made him a top 10 prospect, with 117 receptions for 1,856 yards and a total of 24 touchdowns in 13 games  and lead the country in 20+ yard targets in becoming the first wide receiver since Michigan Wolverines, Desmond Howard (1991) in winning the Heisman Trophy.

Standing 6 foot 1 inch, DeVonta Smith is not over imposing. Once the ball is snapped however Smith shows elite skill. Not only did Smith win the Heisman but he was also named the MVP of the Alabama offense.

For a team looking to build a roster and team into a playoff contending franchise, Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes should give drafting DeVonta Smith serious consideration.

Smith can be a game breaking player and give real life to the Detroit Lions passing attack. Sure the Lions have holes aplenty all over the current roster. One draft will not and can not fix that. But for a franchise looking to build a team with speed. DeVonta Smith would be a next to perfect fit.

By restructuring quarterback Jared Goff’s contract the Detroit Lions free up $15 million

The Detroit Lions were (and still are for the most part) tight against the salary cap. On Wednesday morning it was announced the team has restructured the contract of presumed starting quarterback Jared Goff. There was some cap relief to the tune of $15. It does however also mean the Lions are tied to Goff longer.

Detroit Lions General Manager, Brad Homes, has stated many times that Jared Goff was THE reason the Lions traded former quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams.

DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 16: Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams warms up prior to the start of the game against the Detroit Lions on October 16, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Rams 31-28. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Holmes has had a solid relationship with Goff ever since he spearheaded the Rams drafting him. While it is true the Lions received two-first round draft picks as well as a third round pick, Holmes says Goff was the reason for the trade.

With a base salary of $25.65 million, the Lions converted $20 million of the contract into a signing bonus. So Goff gets all that money up front. While he was going to be the presumed Lions starter this season Jared Goff is now likely to be the Lions starting quarterback for at minimum two seasons and possibly more.

NEW YORK – APRIL 26: A general view shows the stage during the during the 2008 NFL Draft on April 26, 2008 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Sure Brad Holmes has said that all draft options were on the table at #7 including a quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft. Now the Lions have even more options. If a quarterback they like is not there they can either draft another position of need or move back and acquire more picks.

The restructured contract allows the Lions to sign their draft class as well as sign any free agent during the season in case of injury. It could be just as Holmes has said, he views Goff as the starting quarterback moving forward.

The real proof will come during the draft. When the Lions draft their first round draft pick all will be revealed.

 

By re-signing Romeo Okwara it is the start of a long overdue rebuild for the Detroit Lions

Some teams tweak their rosters to stave off rebuilding while trying most times in vain for one more trip to the playoffs. Some teams rip the band aid off and get right down to rebuilding. That is where the Detroit Lions are. A down to the studs rebuild. When Lions general manager Brad Holmes re-signed defensive end Romeo Okwara and not wide receiver Kenny Golladay, Holmes effectively moved the Lions into rebuild mode.

Here in my opinion is what Brad Holmes may have been thinking. While it would have been nice to have both Okwara and Golladay back due to salary cap issues that was not in the cards for the Lions.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) runs the ball under the pressure of Detroit Lions defensive end Romeo Okwara (95) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Michigan USA, on Sunday, October 28, 2018. (Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Lions defense has needed edge rushers for a while. Romeo Okwara and his 10 quarterback sacks last season fits that bill. Again in my opinion because he can get to the quarterback Holmes put a premium on bringing Okwara back.

NFL pass rushers who are able to sack quarterbacks are not cheap. As Okwara’s 3 year $13 per year contract extension shows. One other factor I believe was critical in Holmes decision is that the Detroit Lions defense was so bad last few seasons that he simply could not afford to let the best player on the defense walk as a free agent and get nothing in return for him.

Make no mistake about it, by re-signing Okwara the Lions defense is not going to suddenly spring to life. It does mean that when his rotation comes up and he is on the field, he gives the Lions a proven weapon. This team is rebuilding and needs any edge it can get.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – NOVEMBER 15: Romeo Okwara #95 of the Detroit Lions plays against the Washington Football Team at Ford Field on November 15, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The easy step to take was re-signing Romeo Okwara. The more difficult part comes by Brad Holmes and the Detroit Lions scouting department putting the right talent around him.

This was the right call for Brad Holmes to make. Kenny Golladay is a very good player and can help any offense in the NFL. But a good, talented young edge rusher does not come along everyday.

With roster holes and needs all over, look at who the Detroit Lions could target in the 2021 NFL Draft

Following a 5-11 season that saw the dismissal of general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia the Detroit Lions are starting over. New Lions GM Brad Holmes and the Lions scouting department are currently hard at work evaluating talent and coming up for a draft day “big board.” The Lions have holes all over the roster and are set to embark on a lengthy rebuild. So who could the franchise target with the #7 pick in the first round? Let’s take a look.

The 2021 NFL Draft is set, Thursday, April 29- May 1. It has been a while since the Detroit Lions have won a playoff game, 1991 to be exact. Brad Holmes is now being charged with changing the narrative that the Detroit Lions can not be a winning franchise.

It is safe to say the Detroit Lions will not be a winning team for at least two seasons and more likely three. That is alright. It is more important that Holmes and company get the draft picks right in order to build a core of players to build around.

In my opinion the Detroit Lions have three position groups that stand out as needing the most attention. In no certain order. Keep in mind that all of the Lions issues and needs will not be fixed in one draft.

  1. Wide Receiver:  Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, and Danny Amendola are all going to be gone and need to be replaced.  2020 fifth-rounder Quintez Cephus
    NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – DECEMBER 20: Quintez Cephus #87 of the Detroit Lionsplays against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on December 20, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

    is a player who has proven he can be part of the Lions receiving future. Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle are all wide receivers who could and should be there when Detroit picks at #7. Any one of the three would be a big welcome.

2. Linebacker: I will try to be nice here, but the facts are that the linebackers were (and as of right now still are) a hot mess of bad. The Lions linebackers are void of athleticism and energy. There appears to be only one linebacker worthy of a top 10 pick and that player is  Penn State’s Micah Parsons. Parsons is by far the most versatile linebacker in this class. Parsons would instantly be the Lions top linebacker if selected.

 

3. Quarterback: Yes, Jared Goff will be the Detroit Lions starting quarterback this season and perhaps next season. Brad Holmes said he likes the quarterbacks in this years draft. One of Trey Lance, Justin Fields and  Zach Wilson, could be there at #7. If Holmes goes quarterback it is because he and the scouting department agree on a player enough to make them the franchise QB.

There you have it. These are the positions and some players who I believe the Detroit Lions are looking into. We will know for sure next month when the 2021 NFL Draft rolls out.

The Detroit Lions are being set up for future success

New Detroit Lions General Manager, Brad Holmes has wasted little time in taking an axe to former GM Bob Quinn’s roster. To date Holmes has cut eight players from the Quinn era and traded the franchise quarterback (Matthew Stafford) to the Los Angeles Rams for two-first round draft picks and a third round draft pick as well as Rams starting quarterback Jared Goff. In doing so Holmes is setting the Lions up for future success.

As with any new front office and coaching staff, Brad Holmes is no different. Holmes is looking to put his fingerprints on the Lions roster. A roster filed with slow, aging over paid players. Holmes made it clear he prefers young fast versatile players.

GLENDALE, ARIZONA – SEPTEMBER 27: Running back D’Andre Swift #32 of the Detroit Lions warms up before the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on September 27, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. The Lions defeated the Cardinals 26-23. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

By freeing up the Detroit roster of players that do not and will not fit what the Lions are trying to do, Holmes is setting the Lions up to fail. Yes, I said fail. The team is void of enough impact players to win. That is a good thing. This is a total rebuild.

When any team in any sport rebuilds, high draft picks are critical to future success. By pairing down rosters general managers increase the probability they will net high draft picks, Brad Holmes has done that.  Holmes has made it nearly impossible for the Lions to be anywhere but a top three pick in next years NFL draft. Coupled with the Los Angeles Rams first round draft pick in 2022 and 2023.

The popular phrase used by fans and media when a general manager strips a roster of talent is “tanking.” It may sound crude, but the is in essence exactly what is taking place.

Brad Holmes has said he does not like the term rebuild, but he prefers retooling or reshaping. Call it what you will. A new Detroit Lions team and roster will emerge when the dust settles.

While the Detroit Lions are set to be bad (really bad) for the next two years. If Brad Holmes does his job, the Detroit Lions are going to be a good solid team. Like the one Holmes played a key role in with the Rams.

 

Little hints have been dropped about the Detroit Lions offseason plans

With new Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes brings a new direction for the organization. Also now in the mix is former Detroit Lions player and Lions legend Chris Spielman who is sitting in with Brad Holmes and Shelia For Hamp and others on draft and free agent plans. So here is a look at what Lions will probably do to improve the team.

The Detroit Lions have never been a franchise that has made big splashes in free agency. That trend looks like it will continue. In fact Lions fans should expect that the team will not sign any big name free agents. Look for Holmes to fill roster moves like Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila as well as Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman. Sign cheap players on a short 1-2 year deals.

01 May 2015: FormerDetroit Lion Chris Spielman during round 2 of the 2015. The NFL Draft is being held at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, IL (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

What should be noted is that Chris Spielman and Brad Holmes and new Lions Head coach Dan Campbell all share similar philosophies. That it is better to build a team through the draft. Once a core group of players has been established then add to the core via free agency.

The Detroit Lions are in my opinion on the right track with the build your team through the draft thought process. So it is more of a, draft, develop process that leads to a younger team that is hopefully more athletic than the current roster able to grow together. There will be lumps along the way to be sure.

The fact that the Detroit Lions actually have an offseason plan is refreshing, on many levels. In years past it felt like they were throwing darts at a dartboard hoping to hit the board. They rarely did.

This is not an overnight fix. It took the Detroit Lions years to put a slow team filled with holes on the field. It will take time to reshape the roster. I have total confidence in Brad Holmes who helped to put a Super Bowl team on the field in Los Angeles with the Rams to build the Lions roster in much the same way.

SAN DIEGO, CA – DECEMBER 20: Head coach Dan Campbell of the Miami Dolphins stands on the field before playing the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 20, 2015 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

It is a good sign that owner Ford Hamp , Chris Spielman, Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes are all on the same page. It will do nothing but help the Lions moving forward.

Despite the verbiage from Detroit Lions GM Brad Holmes there is a total rebuild coming

“Please don’t get mad at me if I don’t use the word ‘rebuild,’ if I just continue to pivot toward retool.” Newly crowned Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes recently said. Holmes also said he was going to take time and review the entire Lions roster. Reading between the lines, a full bloated rebuild is about to take place.

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 29: Detroit Lions Vice Chair Sheila Ford Hamp watches the pregame warms ups prior to the start of the game against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on December 29, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

During the interview process, Brad Holmes offered very blunt and very honest assessments of the Detroit Lions roster to both Owner Sheila Ford Hamp and team President and CEO Ron Wood. Holmes then offered a bold plan for what he would do if he were offered the GM job. Which he was.

Yet the Detroit Lions are in a badly needed full rebuild. No matter if he is saying it publicly or behind closed doors, Holmes is a smart man who by all accounts is a very good talent evaluator. Given his crash course on the Lions roster he has to know this is not a retool, reshuffling or any other fluffy fan friendly connotation.

This needs to be a total teardown. All the way to the studs rebuild. Yet, Holmes did say there are building blocks on the defense. A defense that finished last in most categories mind you. Which is his correct. The problem is those players/ building blocks are few.

Holmes said the plan is to put the most competitive team possible out  on the field in 2021. Did you catch that? Competitive. He wants the Lions to be battling better. He did not say he expects or promise a quick turn around or the Lions to win more games. Just to be more competitive.

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 26: A general exterior view of Ford Field prior to the start of the Quick Lane Bowl between the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the North Carolina Tar Heels at Ford Field on December 26, 2014 in Detroit Michigan. Rutgers defeated North Carolina 40-21. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/Getty Images)

The Detroit Lions have the fourth most losses in the NFL since 2018, Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia (both fired during the season) left the roster with a lack of both talent and depth leaving for little choice other than a rebuild.

Holmes did also say he prefers to build through the draft so at this moment it does not sound like he will spend much in free agency. So no matter if it is worded rebuild, retool or reshuffle, major changes are coming to the Detroit Lions.