The Detroit Lions have enjoyed one of the NFL’s best offenses during the 2022 season, and a major reason why has been running back D’Andre Swift.
When he’s been able to play, Swift has been lightning for the Lions and one of the team’s major difference makers. He has looked like one of the best players in the league at his position.
The problem is, though, that Swift has not been able to stick due to injury. The pressure that’s on him moving forward is immense, and something that has been pointed out by ESPN.
Writer Bill Barnwell took a look at players with the most to gain and lose contractually the rest of this year, and Swift was high on the list for the team thanks to all he brings to the mix. He even earned a comparison to Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffery.
“His dynamic ability as a runner and receiver draws fair comparisons to Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey. The difference? Both of those guys stayed healthy during their first three seasons in the league. McCaffrey didn’t miss a single game, while Kamara was sidelined for just three. Each player earned a massive extension from their teams before Year 4,” he wrote.
As Barnwell said, Swift does have the potential that both of those guys have shown in the league. The one thing he doesn’t share at this point is the duo’s ability to stay healthy and productive on the field.
“Swift has the upside of producing like either of those star players for a Detroit team in desperate need of playmakers. He just has to stay on the field,” he said.
Such is the dangerous balance for the Lions. It’s long seemed that with his ability to catch passes and run that he could be like Kamara. Health has stopped that impact cold thus far.
Perhaps as Swift continues to get healthy, he can move things in the right direction for the Lions and earn a new deal. Obviously, as this analysis shows, there could be a lot on the line for Swift moving forward the rest of the year.
Swift Having Hot and Cold Season for Lions
So far this year, it’s been a mixed bag for Swift, and once again, that has been due mostly to key injuries that the running back has sustained on the field of play.
Swift ended up starting the year with a bang, going for 144 yards and a touchdown in the season opener. In Week 2, Swift would make a splash again, hauling in two passes for 31 yards and a touchdown in a Detroit win. After that, though, things went south.
Swift was dealing with an ankle injury as well as a shoulder injury, and his impact has been blunted in recent weeks as a result. After the hot start, Swift has collected just 47 rushing yards and 82 receiving yards with one touchdown.
Obviously, Swift is an important player for the Lions. When he’s been in the game, the team has looked even more dangerous on offense. The major problem is, he hasn’t been able to stay on the field consistently enough for the team whatsoever.
Lions Have Major Decision With Swift Looming
With this in mind, Swift is going to be a player to watch for the Lions moving forward due to his contract status. In just two more years, he will be an unrestricted free agent and a choice will have to be made.
By 2024, will Swift show himself as a more durable playmaker for the Lions? If so, the team could elect to go in with him and lock him up to a long-term extension. At this point, though, there is no way the Lions should be jumping the gun on that call.
As Barnwell was keen to point out in the piece, the volatile nature of Swift’s career in terms of health could give the team pause in the meantime. The best course of action for Swift now, though, is to step up and prove to the Lions why he deserves to stay for the long haul.