Proposed Trade Ships Lions Longtime CB Starter

Dan Campbell

Getty A proposed trade sent head coach Dan Campbell and the Detroit Lions veteran cornerback Levi Wallace.

The most popular summer rumors have the Detroit Lions acquiring depth or even an impactful starter either at wide receiver or along their defensive line. Some NFL analysts, including Pro Football Focus’ Trevor Sikkema, have identified those positions as areas of need for Detroit.

Pro Football Network’s Dallas Robinson didn’t ignore those position groups when discussing possible trades for the Lions. But he also proposed Detroit trading a Day 3 pick in a future NFL draft for veteran cornerback Levi Wallace.

“This offseason, the Lions attempted to address their secondary by signing corners Cam Sutton (three years, $33 million) and Emmanuel Moseley (one year, $6 million), but they allowed some of their depth to leave when they traded Okudah to the Falcons,” Robinson wrote. “Somewhat surprisingly, Detroit didn’t select a single cornerback in the 2023 NFL Draft.

“Moseley is still recovering from a torn ACL, and injury issues have cost him significant time over the course of his career. He was sidelined by a knee problem and a high-ankle sprain in 2021, while a concussion and a hamstring strain kept him off the field in 2020. If Moseley gets hurt again, the Lions would rely on Jerry Jacobs or Will Harris at outside corner.

“Wallace isn’t a world-beater, but he was a 45-game starter for the Bills from 2019-21 before joining the Steelers last offseason. He consistently plays above his traits and gets in the way of incoming throws, breaking up 23 passes over the past two seasons.”

In his first season with the Pittsburgh Steelers last year, Wallace played 15 games, starting nine of them. He recorded 48 combined tackles with 13 pass defenses. Wallace also had a career-high 4 interceptions.

Steelers Potentially Trading Levi Wallace?

Robinson argued that Wallace could be a trade target for the Lions because Pittsburgh may not see Wallace in their 2023 plans. The Steelers signed former All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson and drafted Joey Porter Jr. this offseason.

Therefore, Wallace could be expendable. The Steelers could shop him on the trade market rather than sit him on the bench and lose him to free agency next March.

Wallace would be a rental player for Detroit, but Robinson referred to his potential addition as “offering the Lions much-needed depth” at cornerback.

Robinson didn’t get any more specific about what the Lions should offer for Wallace other than mentioning his worth as Day 3 pick. Even if that’s a fourth-rounder, which it probably wouldn’t be, that’s not a bad price to pay for a cornerback with 61 career starts.

How Wallace Fits With the Lions

Wallace began his career as an undrafted free agent with the Buffalo Bills in 2018. He didn’t make his NFL debut until Week 10 that season, but Wallace started the final seven contests and then became a regular in the Bills lineup in 2019.

From 2019-21, Wallace started every game he played in for Buffalo — 45 games. He twice started each contest of a season in 2019 and 2021.

Wallace signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the Steelers last offseason.

In five NFL seasons, Wallace has recorded 10 interceptions and 43 pass defenses. He’s also registered 267 combined tackles, including 7 for loss and 2 quarterback hits.

As Robinson noted, newly signed Cameron Sutton (a former Steelers cornerback) and Emmanuel Moseley are expected to start at cornerback for the Lions in 2023. But Moseley is recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in Week 5 last year.

The Lions have cornerbacks Will Harris and Jerry Jacobs as well. They each started at least eight games for Detroit last season.

Harris and Jacobs should be comfortable in a starting role, but with those cornerbacks playing about two-thirds of Detroit’s defensive snaps in 2022, the Lions finished 30th in passing yards allowed.

Wallace would give the Lions depth but also another starting option if Moseley isn’t ready to begin the season.

In addition to Wallace, Robinson also proposed wide receiver Corey Davis and defensive tackle Zach Sieler as possible trade targets for the Lions.

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