3 Summer Trades the Detroit Lions Should Consider

The Detroit Lions are NFC contenders but still need help. Here are three trades they could make this summer to improve, including a deal for WR Corey Davis.

Since taking over as the Detroit Lions general manager in 2021, Brad Holmes hasn’t been afraid to make trades involving veteran players. Over the past two years, Holmes has acquired quarterback Jared Goff, defensive tackle Michael Brockers, and kicker Riley Patterson while dealing away tight end T.J. Hockenson, running back D’Andre Swift, and cornerback Jeff Okudah.

The Lions have remade their roster and are betting favorites to win the NFC North. But despite their recent machinations, Detroit still has a few holes they could address through trades.

3 Trades the Detroit Lions Should Make This Summer

Acquire WR Corey Davis From the New York Jets

Corey Davis is entering the final season of his contract with the Jets, and after missing 12 games over the past two seasons, he’s far from assured of remaining on New York’s roster. Head coach Robert Saleh said otherwise in May, but Davis’ roster spot is tenuous after the Jets added Allen Lazard, Mecole Hardman, and Randall Cobb to their depth chart earlier this offseason.

Davis is set to earn $10.5 million in 2023, but none of his salary is guaranteed. ESPN’s Rich Cimini said earlier this week that a pay cut is “coming for sure” for Davis, who could be required to accept a lower salary or be released.

Instead, the Lions could offer to take Davis off the Jets’ hands. The price tag would be very inexpensive — a pick swap, with Detroit sending a 2024 sixth to New York in exchange for Davis and a 2024 seventh could probably get the job done. Davis would agree to a reduced salary, likely in the $5 million range, as a precursor to the trade being completed.

While the Lions have Pro Bowler Amon-Ra St. Brown in the slot, they’ll be without Jameson Williams for six games following his gambling ban. Marvin Jones Jr. and Josh Reynolds are the next receivers up on the depth chart, and Detroit will have to rely on one of those veterans in three-WR sets even when Williams returns from suspension.

Davis may never again manage the 65-984-5 line he posted with the Titans in 2021, but the Lions wouldn’t need him to be a WR1. With his size and power, Davis is one of the best blocking wide receivers in the league — while that’s not a trait that typically gets you paid in the NFL, it would likely endear Davis to Dan Campbell.

Acquire DT Zach Sieler From the Miami Dolphins

The Lions were dreadful against the run in 2022. Detroit allowed the second-most yards per attempt on the ground (5.2) and finished in the bottom seven in rushing DVOA, rushing success rate, and rush EPA. The interior of the Lions’ defensive line couldn’t hold up against opposing rushing attacks, while their defensive tackles combined for just 3.5 sacks.

While Detroit has used three Day 2 picks on DTs over the last three years, they could still use more help. Alim McNeill contributed with a near 70% playtime rate in 2022, but 2021 second-rounder Levi Onwuzurike underwent season-ending back surgery last October and is still rehabbing his injury.

Meanwhile, the Lions probably overdrafted Brodric Martin at pick No. 96 this year, as he was ranked 260th on Pro Football Network’s Industry Consensus Board.

If Detroit wants to add another defensive tackle to the mix, they should look to Miami, where the Dolphins’ Zach Sieler could be on the block. Earlier this week, the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson wrote “it’s no secret” that Sieler is seeking a new contract as he enters the final season of the three-year, $8.575 million extension he signed in 2020.

Sieler is worth much more than that after three productive seasons in Miami, but the Dolphins might not have the cap space to afford him. They’re already projected to be $30+ million over the cap in 2024. With an extension looming for former first-rounder Christian Wilkins, Miami may not want to invest any more into its interior defensive line.

The Lions have two third-round picks in 2024 as a result of last year’s Hockenson trade. They could offer the Dolphins the lower of those two selections for Sieler and agree to a pre-trade contract extension before officially acquiring him.

Levi Wallace (29) deflects a pass against Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Drake London (5) during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Acquire CB Levi Wallace From the Pittsburgh Steelers

While the Lions were poor against the run last year, they were just as disappointing against the pass. In 2022, Detroit’s defense ranked 23rd in pass DVOA, 27th in dropback success rate, 30th in dropback EPA, and 31st in net yards per pass attempt.

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. 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.

Levi Wallace may no longer be in the Steelers’ plans after they signed Patrick Peterson and drafted fellow cornerback Joey Porter Jr. at the top of the second round.

Given that Wallace is scheduled to hit free agency next offseason, Pittsburgh could aim to get something in return for him now rather than lose him next year for nothing.

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. Wallace could offer the Lions much-needed depth, and Pittsburgh might be willing to part ways for a Day 3 pick.

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