Analyst Explains if Lions Are in Buy or Sell Mode

Bob Quinn

Getty Bob Quinn speaks at a press conference.

The Detroit Lions made a trade that was confusing to some, dealing safety Quandre Diggs and a seventh round pick to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for a fifth round pick. The move to some represented Detroit punting on the 2019 season, despite the fact they’re still in contention.

That, however, is apparently not the case. In spite of the trade, which floored Detroit’s locker room, the Lions are apparently still in buy mode, and could even use the pick that they acquired for Diggs as ammunition for another deal which has yet to be consummated.

This is according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, who explained the nuances of the Diggs trade in depth in a piece. Part of that explanation involved confirming that the team is not simply giving up on the season by trading Diggs.

According to Birkett, the Lions haven’t given up yet, and could be thinking of being buyers ahead of the October 29th deadline. Here’s what he wrote:

“Though the Lions traded Diggs for a future asset — the Lions also gave up a 2021 seventh-round pick in the deal, a sign of how little interest there was in him as they shopped him around the league — I’ve been told quite clearly they are not in sell mode.

It’s more likely, in fact, that the Lions are buyers at next week’s trade deadline, and the draft pick they received for Diggs could be used as capital in a deal.”

It seems Diggs was a spare part due to the emergence of Tracy Walker and Will Harris, and the Lions are just as comfortable with this duo as they were with the veteran.

Top Needs

If the Lions do indeed go for it and continue to add assets, their biggest needs currently lie along the defensive line and at running back. Detroit can’t pressure the passer, so an addition could be made to a needy defensive front that has been hampered by health and consistency issues thus far in 2019. Some names on the market the Lions could call on include Vic Beasley and Ryan Kerrigan.

At running back, the Lions will be without Kerryon Johnson for some time on the IR, so there’s a need at that spot as well. Detroit’s been mentioned as a fit for the expensive Melvin Gordon, but other names could also interest them on the market.

Either way, there are still spots the Lions could look to pursue additions to in the days ahead.

There’s Money Left

Entering Tuesday, Detroit had nearly $18.9 million under the cap left to spend, which ranked as one of the top 11 totals in the NFL according to a handy graphic from CBS SportsLine. Now that they made the Diggs move, that number balloons to around $20.5 million, a total which keeps them safely within the top 10. In other words, while the Lions might not have the most money going right now, they certainly have plenty of space to take on a contract or two, especially if the player was going to help the team in a couple of their biggest areas of need.

In terms of the NFC North, the Lions have the most amount to spend in the division of all the teams. That should help Bob Quinn, who has shown a willingness to make moves at the deadline before, especially last year. The Lions added Damon Harrison to the mix, and a similar move this year could be on tap with this salary cap number to Detroit’s credit.

Are the Lions a contender without Diggs that needs to make an addition and not sell? If they view the trio of Walker and Harris as up and coming and elite, the answer could still be yes, meaning they have freed up plenty of cash with which to maneuver for the next few years with one swift move.

With this news, it seems as if the team is still intent on going for it even in spite of making a bigger deal to dump one of their most notable players.

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