Expectations in free agency were limited for the Detroit Lions for the simple fact they didn’t have a lot of salary cap space to work with. Clearly that didn’t scare GM Martin Mayhew who managed to land running back Reggie Bush, safety Glover Quin and defensive end Israel Idonije. Hopes are high that the team can recover from their embarrassing 4-12 finish last season after reaching the playoffs in 2011. Depending on how they start could they become active at the NFL trade deadline to secure some extra help?
Experts thought the Detroit Lions front office hit a home run when they took Mikel Leshoure in the second round of the 2011. His production at Illinois and running style appeared to be exactly what the team needed to take advantage of Calvin Johnson and the air attack. Instead his tenure with the team has been inconsistent at best, while also marred by arrests for drug possession. He did score 9 touchdowns but only averaged 3.7 yards per carry and also fumbled three times. With Reggie Bush in the fold and reliable backup Joique Bell behind him, keeping Leshoure seems less and less important to the plans of the team. What makes him such a great trade option is his age. He’s only 23. Given his talent and lack of mileage on his body another team might love to offer him a second chance at a fair price.
The starting tight end job belongs to Brandon Pettigrew but fans so easily forget that his backup Tony Scheffler was just as productive in 2012. He posted 42 catches for 504 yards and averaged 12 yards per catch. Still at age 30 his place in the offense seems foggy at best. With Pettigrew starting and Reggie Bush figuring to see plenty of action, the chances for Scheffler are sure to go down. On the other hand, the market for productive tight ends is reaching a peak. Ask the New England Patriots. Detroit may find a surprising number of takers if they put Scheffler on the block at some point during the first half of the season.
The Glover Quin signing made the fate of Amari Spievey questionable. Having missed 11 games in 2012 and narrowly avoiding conviction on assault charges, the 2010 draft pick has likely reached an end with the Lions. The trick is he’s better than people think. He had five interceptions in two seasons as a safety before last year and doubled his tackle total from 33 to 65 between his rookie and sophomore years. He is young (25), tough and instinctual. Teams covet that in safeties. At present he is a safety valve depending on the health of current starter Louis Delmas. However, if the defensive captain can stay on the field then the need for Spievey disappears. That should open up a market for him from other teams given how demanding the safety spot can be during a season.
The Detroit Lions don’t have to search hard for NFL trade option but they are certain to have some prior to the deadline in Week 8.