The 2013 NFL trade deadline will pass Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. and like most years, it will likely end without much fanfare. In a world dominated by fantasy football, Playstation and Xbox, fans always think it's easier to make a trade than actual football general managers do.
Obviously, the cash strapped and somewhat needy Detroit Lions are a team likely on the fringe of talks, and their management is facing an interesting situation this year. After injuries to Nate Burleson and Ryan Broyles have left the team a bit thin at wide receiver, should the Lions try to make a deal to sure up the position, or will Martin Mayhew feel comfortable standing pat with the improving Kris Durham, intriguing Kevin Ogletree and surprising Joseph Fauria? Moreover, does Mayhew trust Burleson to stay healthy the rest of the season and remain a difference make after coming back?
Beyond a vacuum, a perfect big ticket deal, while certainly interesting, doesn't exist. Josh Gordon will cost too much, Hakeem Nicks probably isn't leaving New York and while the thought of Larry Fitzgerald lining up with Calvin Johnson is downright tantalizing, that's not going to happen. A more underrated receiver like Emmanuel Sanders of the Pittsburgh Steelers, though, could probably be had for a more acceptable return if Mayhew so chooses
Entering the deadline, the Lions have around $2.7 million dollars in salary cap space. Sanders is making $2.5 million himself and if he were traded, his new team would only have to commit $1.25 million, meaning he'd fit in comfortably under the cap, moreso than a player like Nicks or Fitzgerald. Whereas Gordon and others would likely cost higher draft picks and assets, Sanders might only cost a middle round draft pick or two. For a player who's proven to have some game breaking potential, that's not half bad.
In fact, a player like Sanders and not Gordon could quietly end up being the perfect complement to Johnson in Detroit's offense. With 5'11'' size and decent speed, Sanders could stretch the field deep and underneath, finally getting to showcase the talent he's merely flashed in Pittsburgh being hidden behind Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace in recent years. In Detroit, it's certain that none of Durham, Ogletree or the recently elevated Jeremy Ross have the consistent game like Sanders does, though each have shown flashes at separate times.
It's highly unlikely that the Lions, with other options on the roster, decide to make a move on Tuesday. If they do, though, Sanders could be the best fit monetarily and otherwise. Even if the Lions don't make a move on Sanders tomorrow, keep an eye on him five months from now when free agency opens.
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