Analyst Makes Bold Statement About Lions’ Trade of T.J. Hockenson

T.J. Hockenson

T.J. Hockenson during a 2022 game vs. Detroit.

Just over a month ago, the Detroit Lions announced themselves as sellers, spinning T.J. Hockenson off at the NFL trade deadline.

The move was controversial to many, and supposed to mean that the Lions had conceded the 2022 season as over. It could have signaled that the franchise was looking more toward the 2023 offseason than the present. Stunningly, however, things have turned for the team.

Detroit is 5-1 since the trade of Hockenson, and their fortunes have shifted. The Lions are 6-7 through Week 14, and have clawed back into the NFC playoff picture. Offensively, the team is still executing in the red zone, and have not stopped putting up points.

As Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus pointed out, even though it’s a smaller sample size, the Lions haven’t exactly missed Hockenson on the offensive side of the ball given they are scoring around eight more points a game without him.

“I know it’s a small sample size but definitely noteworthy that the Lions haven’t felt the loss of T.J. Hockenson whatsoever. Averaging almost 8 more points per game without him,” Renner tweeted.

This isn’t to say Hockenson was a bad thing for the Detroit offense, but it’s more than possible that his departure has allowed the team to feature their other weapons at wide receiver more within the offense.

Since the deal, wideouts DJ Chark and Josh Reynolds have come alive with three touchdowns, and proven how important they are to the offense. Amon-Ra St. Brown has taken even more steps toward stardom for the team with 554 yards and three scores. All the while, the team hasn’t had to worry about how much run their tight end is getting.

Now, as this proves, the Hockenson deal is looking like a double-win for Detroit. Not only do they get a second-round pick in 2023 and a third-round pick in 2024, their offense hasn’t exactly slowed down considerably.

Hockenson Trade Working for Minnesota

In the short-term, the Vikings have benefitted from having Hockenson on the team. He’s been a solid target for Kirk Cousins and the offense, and has put up solid numbers since joining.

As a whole, Hockenson has 302 yards, one touchdown and one fumble with Minnesota since making the leap. That might not sound that impressive, but as ESPN’s Kevin Seifert pointed out, Hockenson has also been helping Minnesota move the chains on his catches,

“The draft picks the Vikings accumulated haven’t paid many immediate dividends due to injury. But the third trade, for Lions TE T.J. Hockenson, has been a home run at least in the short term. Tied for No. 1 among tight ends with 30 catches, 14 for first downs, since the deal,” Seifert tweeted.

While the Vikings have been able to use Hockenson, the major advantage for Detroit in the deal was their ability to gain a second-round pick in exchange for a player it became clear that they were not going to re-sign this offseason.

Hockenson is 0-1 against Detroit after losing in Week 14’s return to Ford Field, something he said was special given all his memories in Detroit.

“To be back in the stadium brought back a lot of emotions, but it’s tough to come out of here with a loss,” Hockenson explained on December 11.

Lions Still Scoring Historically

So far this season, the Detroit offense has moved the ball at will and managed to cash in plenty of opportunities on the field.

Offensively, the team is getting the job done in a big way moving the ball down the field and putting up points. The team is making some history in terms of 30 point games this year which points to how they still have the best offense in the league even without their weapon at tight end.

The Lions’ PR account recently revealed that Detroit already has seven games with 30 points or more, tied for the most ever. With another, they would set a new franchise record.

“The Lions have produced their 7th game of the season with 30+ points, tied for the most 30-point games they’ve ever had in a season. They’ve logged 30+ points in 4 of their last 5 games,” the account tweeted.

Minus Hockenson, Detroit tight ends James Mitchell, Brock Wright and Shane Zylstra have combined for 110 yards and three touchdowns. While it might not seem like much, it has been just enough to keep the Lions’ offense humming as the team fires up their other weapons.

The Lions remain hot even after trading one of their top young players. That’s notable as the season hits crunch time.

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