The Detroit Lions could be looking for an upgrade at running back, and have been linked to the biggest name currently on the market in Melvin Gordon.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Lions and the Buffalo Bills are two teams kicking around the idea of dealing for Gordon before the trade deadline in terms of intelligence around the league.
One of the biggest spots of need on the team comes at running back, where the Lions watched Kerryon Johnson hit the IR yet again with another knee injury last week. Now that Johnson is gone for a while, the Lions will have to respond given their roster is dotted with inconsistent bit parts. Ty Johnson is a rookie and has never shouldered a major backfield load, while J.D. McKissic is more of a pass-catching back rather than a north and south runner.
While Matt Patricia has maintained the Lions could roll with a committee approach, it’s not wise to entrust Detroit’s backfield to a rookie and a player who is more accustomed to catching the rock than running with it. Instead, the Lions likely need to look outside the organization for a move in order to boost a depleted ground game.
During the game against the New York Giants, Detroit’s run game was a non-factor, leading some to the notion that it’s time for a dramatic move at the spot. Indeed, the Lions could be buyers.
What Gordon Would Bring
There have been few runners as productive early in their young career as Gordon. With the Chargers, he has put up 3,709 yards and scored 28 touchdowns in a career that’s spanned from 2015 until now. More than that, Gordon has been a tough, physical runner and the type of bruiser back that the Lions have lacked.
Perhaps the only issue with Gordon is what kind of contract would he command in his next location. If the Lions were bold enough to deal for him, it obviously wouldn’t be a concern to them, though, and they would likely think that they could work something out in the days and months ahead.
If the Lions were to trade for Gordon, it would be because they weren’t sure Johnson could be durable enough to shoulder a major load at running back in the wake of back to back knee injuries in 2018 and 2019. Injuries are a reality of the game, though, and Gordon has had his share of struggles there too. Safe to say it would be the biggest, boldest move the team could make in the aftermath of the Johnson injury.
The cost might be steep, but the payoff might be handsome as well for a team which cannot afford to lose a key running back so quickly in the season. Gordon has already been called a potential fit for Detroit.
If the Lions and Bills don’t look at Gordon, there are other names on the market. Rashaad Penny is also said to be available, and the Lions could be a team to look at for that trade.
Regardless, the Lions could be buyers ahead of the deadline, and reports say they are motivated to buy at running back specifically, which corroborates the story that the team is looking around at big names on the market.
The biggest issue? The potential cost for Detroit. The price for Gordon was said to be high, but as Fowler points out, if the price comes down, it could be an easier trade to make.