Lions Targeted Top Cornerback During NFL Trade Deadline: Report

Chris Harris

Getty Chris Harris before a Broncos game.

The Detroit Lions didn’t end up making a move during the NFL trade deadline, but it apparently wasn’t for a lack of trying to land someone big.

According to Mike Klis of 9News in Denver, the Lions tried to trade for Denver Broncos’ cornerback Chris Harris, and were the only team to make an offer. The big sticking point ended up being the fact that Detroit was not willing to offer a third round pick or better for Harris. The reason Denver didn’t take the deal? They could get a third for Harris if he skips town and doesn’t re-sign with the team this offseason.

The reasoning for the Lions potentially making this deal is far more complicated. Was it in order to have someone at the ready in case they made a blockbuster Darius Slay trade? Did they like Harris in the slot or outside, both places he has experience? Did they merely want to shore up what has been a sloppy defense this season with another elite player?

Harris is 30, two years older than Slay. It will be fascinating to see if he remains with the Broncos this coming offseason.

Harris on Staying Put

Though he wasn’t on the move, Harris spoke to Klis afterward about what it means to stay in Denver and have the trade deadline finished and over with for this season.

“I’m definitely happy, Now I can just play ball and get this behind me and focus on finishing strong the rest of the year. Try and get some wins,” Harris said as Klis tweeted.

That reaction makes sense, as the deadline can be a tough and stressful time for everyone, from coaches to players to members of the scouting and front office staff. Safe to say that Harris likely isn’t the only one who feels some measure of relief after what turned out to be a quiet deadline came and went.

Near Miss Deadline

From Detroit’s perspective, Harris was another near miss. In addition to the traded Kenyan Drake, the Lions were also rumored to be eying Melvin Gordon, and potentially as the internet suggested, Le’Veon Bell and Jamal Adams at other points during the day. None of those players were moved, so it wasn’t merely the Lions missing out.

Detroit might have wanted look at an upgrade for a defensive upgrade along their line given some of their troubles there or on the back end given injuries, but it sounded like running back might be the most obvious spot the team could have decided to add to the roster. With this news, it’s clear they were very interested in beefing up the defensive backfield in some form.

Right now, the team’s biggest hole remains at running back, where they must wait for Kerryon Johnson to heal up and come off IR. Otherwise, the tandem of Ty Johnson, Paul Perkins, J.D. McKissic and Tra Carson, while willing and eager, might not be enough to get it done statistically.

This offseason, Harris is a free agent, so the Lions could theoretically get in the mix to sign him then if they wanted. There’s a long time before that plays out however. For now, they missed their chance to add him to the roster for the stretch run in 2019.

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