Analyzing Lions Recent Trade History With Patriots

Duron Harmon Kyle Van Noy

Getty Duron Harmon celebrates a big play with Kyle Van Noy.

The Detroit Lions made another trade with the New England Patriots shipping cornerback Michael Jackson eastward just prior to his release from the roster.

The most interesting thing about this trade, outside of the name involved and its obvious connection to pop culture, is the fact that it represented the 9th such instance the sides have combined to make a deal. For the most part, the Lions have come out ahead in such instances when trades are made between the sides. In most cases, the sides combine for draft day swaps for position, but plenty of other trades have been reached.

Bob Quinn trained with the Patriots and maintains close ties with the front office, so it means the communication lines seem to be constantly open. The Lions have signed plenty of former Patriots, but how have the teams fared in their deals? It’s an interesting case study.

Analyzing Previous Lions-Patriots Trades

Perhaps the most notable trades between the sides have been veteran players for draft pick swaps. The Lions dealt linebacker Kyle Van Noy to the Patriots in exchange for a 6th round pick. Van Noy helped re-energize the New England defense en-route to the Super Bowl. This offseason, the Lions were able to pluck veteran safety Duron Harmon from the team in exchange for a late round draft pick. Those deals are similar in their execution.

Interestingly, there’s the failed trade the sides nearly executed that would have been the biggest of them all. Tight end Rob Gronkowski was nearly sent to the Lions a few offseasons ago in exchange for an early draft pick. It would have been a whopper deal for the sides to execute, but it was nixed at the final hour by Gronkowski, who didn’t want to leave the Patriots. It would have been interesting to judge this potential deal in hindsight, but sadly, it never happened.

Thus far, there’s been little risk attached to the deals from either team’s perspective. Van Noy didn’t fit with the Lions, and the Patriots were trying to get younger by dealing Harmon. Separate deals involving defensive back Johnson Bademosi and linebacker Jon Bostic were largely non-impactful. Jackson didn’t have a future in Detroit considering the team’s depth chart, and it’s not likely wise to bet on him making a huge impact for the Patriots.

For the most part, the deals have been of the win-win variety, but the Lions have done a nice job to come out ahead in plenty. The Harmon deal might end up being the most impactful of the bunch moving forward if he can give Detroit’s needy secondary some solid snaps and leadership in 2020.

Bob Quinn Rated Low as NFL GM

Should Quinn find new trade partners? That’s a common complaint for Lions fans, and the boss hasn’t gotten rave reviews from everyone for his leadership of the team. Such is the case with Rotoworld and contributor Patrick Daugherty. Recently, Daughtery ranked all the general managers in the NFL and Quinn came in at No. 30 on his list, just one spot above both brand new league bosses. It’s clear that Quinn is as close to the basement as possible in the league.

Here’s what Daugherty wrote:

“Do you have strong feelings about Bob Quinn? Does anybody? Where are the impact players? Where is the plan other than cycling through people Bill Belichick allowed to walk in free agency? Why was Jim Caldwell fired after back-to-back 9-7 seasons only to be replaced by Belichick’s least impressive mini-me, Matt Patricia? Nothing has gone right for Caldwell since his Patricia galaxy brain, with Patricia proving more adept at chasing off talent (Darius Slay, Quandre Diggs) than cultivating it. Not that Quinn has been killing it. His 2017 first-round pick, Jarrad Davis, just had his fifth-year team option declined. Quinn continues to overinvest in the running game. To a comical degree — Trey Flowers, Duron Harmon, Justin Coleman, Danny Shelton, Danny Amendola and literally eight others — Quinn only seems interested in ex-Patriots on the trade and free agent markets. How about instead of co-opting someone else’s identity, you create your own? This is the Detroit Lions. It’s going to take a big thinker to turn things around. Quinn only seems capable of copying someone else’s thoughts.”

That’s a pretty scathing take down of Quinn as well as his boss Matt Patricia. It’s clear the duo haven’t been successful early in their tenure, but Daugherty seems to imply that there isn’t much hope here for Lions fans in 2020 and beyond with this duo at the helm.

There are two sides to every story, of course. The Lions have done a decent job in some ways with Quinn, finding solid players in the draft and free agency. There’s been misses of course, but no general manager is perfect. Quinn can take steps toward dispelling this frustrating ranking this season.

If he does, he might be able to use a few trades with the Patriots as the basis for why. If he doesn’t, Quinn might find his way back to the Patriots in due time.

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