Given the injury concerns plaguing the Detroit Lions' wide receiving core and the inability of any bubble player to truly distinguish themselves this summer, the team finds themselves needy at a very important roster spot before the season.
As a result, Mike O'Hara of Detroitlions.com dropped an interesting nugget yesterday, saying the team was perhaps looking around on the market for depth at the receiver position.
"With the two mandatory cut-down dates coming in the next six days, this is a prime period for deal making. By 4 p.m. Tuesday, rosters must be cut to a maximum of 75 players. By 6 p.m. Saturday, they must be at the regular season limit of 53 players. Instead of cutting a player and getting nothing in return, teams with a surplus at a position will try to make a trade either to strengthen another position or to add a future draft pick."
With this in mind, the Lions could have plenty of opportunities to add a player via trade in the next week. But, a quick glance around the league reveals little about potentially available players. There seems to be fewer disgruntled receivers than normal this year, and with regular season optimism high, teams might not be inclined to sell quality assets. What move might the team realistically make in the meantime? It might have to be a free agency stopgap first until October's trade deadline provides a clearer picture of rebuilding teams. Here's five moves that could happen prior to opening kickoff in September.
1. Brandon Lloyd, Free Agent. Lloyd did not flourish as expected in New England last season, collecting only four touchdowns, and was released in March. The tepid interest in the free agent on this season's open market suggests his best years could be behind him, but the Lions could give Lloyd one final shot at redemption. Given his experience last season, Lloyd could be worth the first shot if Detroit cannot strike the right trade.
2. Donte Stallworth, Free Agent. Recently cut by the Washington Redskins, Stallworth is another player who fits in the veteran mold. Able to stretch the field deep, Stallworth could provide Johnson with an ideal complement if he's healthy. Like Lloyd, it would be a low risk, high reward type move.
3 Devery Henderson, Free Agent. Another veteran casualty of Redskins camp, Henderson enjoyed great success with a pass-happy offense in New Orleans and could find the same role in Detroit. Is he capable of being a number one? No, but he did play a nice second and third fiddle to Marques Colston for years with the Saints and has plenty of playoff experience. As late August desperation additions go, this might not be a bad one.
4. Braylon Edwards, Free Agent. The youngest available veteran listed at age 30, Edwards could have a Michigan homecoming if Detroit were desperate enough. Released by the New York Jets today, Edwards is trying to catch on somewhere, and the Lions could prove to be an interesting landing spot. There's no doubting his talent and experience as a receiver that can stretch the field, but could Edwards keep his head together in his home city? If so, with more size, he'd be an interesting option to pair with Johnson.
5. Jacoby Ford, Oakland Raiders. The Raiders are heading for what looks like a disastrous season. Might they raise the white flag on the year prematurely? Ford, a four-year veteran, is a quality young player, and would certainly fit the reported mold of a starter that Detroit's looking for. The problem? He'd likely command a mighty haul of draft picks now, and the Lions might not be willing to offer such assets early in the season. Still, a bold move like this could put Detroit over the top before the season begins, and is likely the type of move the Lions could explore eventually to add a credible second option.
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