The Detroit Lions are apparently hunting for wideouts this year on the trade deadline market, and if that is the case, there figures to be plenty of players that could be on the move that make sense as future additions.
This past offseason, the Lions didn’t take the plunge and add a top flight wideout to their roster. The team is paying for that decision now, as this group has stalled this season to the tune of the 25th overall passing offense in the league. Injuries have hurt, but the Lions are getting mostly inconsistent results out of a young group of pass catchers.
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If the Lions are going to make a trade for a pass catcher, the move cannot be a pure rental for the team. With that in mind, there are still several players that could fit the bill for an evolving roster both now and in the years ahead. Here’s a look at who the Lions should be targeting when all is said and done.
Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears
It might seem unlikely that the Bears would want to deal Robinson not only within the conference but within their own division as well. Even though that is the case, it wouldn’t hurt the Lions to make the call on the Detroit native and see what it might take to convince the Bears to bring him back home. Robinson has been elite when he has been on the field to the tune of 6,233 yards and 40 touchdowns.
Perhaps the biggest reason for the Lions to target Robinson? He has played well against his hometown team through the years and routinely burned them, such as in 2018 when he had this stellar performance:
Robinson would give the Lions a chance at a consistent big-play threat to open up their offense down the field. While it might hurt to cough up a middle-round pick to the Bears and potentially even a third-round selection, it could be to the overall benefit of the team’s offense now and in the future if they were able to do so.
Brandin Cooks, WR, Houston Texans
The potential fit with Cooks could be a very natural one considering the wide receiver knows Jared Goff from his time with the Los Angeles Rams. Cooks has bounced around the league a lot, but has still managed to rack up 7,361 career yards and 41 touchdowns. Finding a way to pick him up could be a savvy veteran buy for the Lions, considering he would be on the books for at least the next three years given his contract.
Cooks has the kind of history with Goff that could lead to great success now and in the future as the highlights from the duo in 2018 show.
In terms of an intriguing move, putting the 28 year-old Cooks into the Detroit offense could help to not only jump-start the team, but his own career as well.
James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
According to reports from ESPN’s Adam Schefter a few months ago, Washington wanted a trade and doesn’t believe the Steelers have given him the best chance at a consistent role or consistent production. The Lions should be all-eyes with this considering their need for playmaking wide receivers. Washington might quickly become the best and most accomplished wideout on the roster if the team made the move for him, considering his 1,452 career yards and 9 touchdowns. If the Lions could cough up a middle-round pick for Washington, that would be a huge win for the franchise considering their immense need at the position for established playmakers. He could give them a younger option to grow with in the future.
Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
From texting with Drew Brees to lauding former Saints linebacker and Lions team captain Alex Anzalone, Dan Campbell often likes to reference the ties he has to players he coached in New Orleans. With this in mind, there might be a natural fit for the Lions to add wideout Michael Thomas. This season, Thomas has been sidelined after having summer ankle surgery, and could still be a few weeks away from a return. Given the rocky relationship Thomas has with the franchise, could the Saints decide to move on at the deadline? If so, the Lions need to make the call. Thomas is just the type of top receiver the Lions could need for the future to help unlock their offense given his 5,950 yards and 32 scores at just 28 years of age. Thomas also remains one of the top wideouts in the league.
Trading Thomas to the Lions could help put the wideout in a situation where he is comfortable with a coach he would know. It might not be that hard for Brad Holmes and Campbell to facilitate a deal with the New Orleans front office with this in mind.
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns
Beckham might want to go to a contender if he is dealt, but he might also not have a say in the matter if the Browns get made an offer that they cannot refuse. With the Lions needing wideouts, it’s hard not to wonder if Beckham is on their radar in terms of a player who could help their offense now and in the future. At 28 years old, he has plenty of time left to make an impact and be a veteran on Lions teams of the future. Considering John Dorsey is a Lions consultant and orchestrated the original Beckham trade to Cleveland, this could be something to watch in the days ahead.
With 7,033 yards and 51 career touchdowns, Beckham would be undoubtably the best veteran buy the Lions could make from a production standpoint if they feel they can get the best football out of him moving forward.