Lions Reportedly Tried to Add Big Name Running Back in Trade

Getty Devonta Freeman of the Atlanta Falcons

The Detroit Lions didn’t make a deadline move Tuesday afternoon, but it apparently wasn’t for lack of trying on multiple fronts.

Not only did the Lions try to land cornerback Chris Harris from the Denver Broncos, they apparently had their sights set on running back Devonta Freeman of the Atlanta Falcons. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Freeman was a target of the Lions the past week as well, but the Falcons merely decided to hang on to their running back when all was said and done.

That decision was in spite of the team being one of the worst in the NFL and already making the move to deal Mohamed Sanu earlier last week. Whatever the reasoning on Atlanta’s end, the Lions missed on yet another target which would have helped them in both the short and long term.

Devonta Freeman’s Fit With Lions

No question that Freeman would have fit the Lions as a guy who would have been useful not just in 2019, but in 2020 as well. While his numbers have slipped this season considering just 333 rushing yards, Freeman has been a dynamic weapon before as evidence of his 30 career touchdowns.

Freeman’s contract, which runs through 2023 but does have an out in 2020, could have been a plus for Detroit as well. While he is owed between $6 and $8 million on it in base salary the rest of the way, the Lions could have used him as a solid complement to Kerryon Johnson. Freeman has been good at catching the ball as well, which would have been an asset to the Lions and their offense this season, which is off to a hot start.

Near Miss for Lions at Trade Deadline

From Detroit’s perspective, Freeman was another near-miss in addition to Harris. 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 to 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.

Apparently, it wasn’t for lack of trying that the Lions wanted to upgrade this struggling ground game. In the end, they simply found nobody that was willing to move players in order for it to happen this year.

READ NEXT: Analyst Explains Lions 2019 Playoff Path

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