As dumb as it sounds, the Lions, who stand at 1-7 after getting blown out against the Kansas City Chiefs, 45-10, in week eight in London, are expected to be buyers at the deadline.
No one would believe it to be true, if it wasn’t for the franchise’s general manager and former Matt Millen right-hand man Martin Mayhew coming out and saying so a day before Halloween. Spooky, eh?
In what can only be described as stomach-turning for the Detroit football faithful, deciding to look for help at the trade deadline this week is yet another illogical, Lions-esque decision by this wayward franchise.
Mayhew’s misled confidence in his squad has proven the higher-ups still do not know how to run the team — a more than valid enough reason to completely revamp the front office.
Trade Megatron to build for the future
The Detroit Lions should trade Calvin Johnson before the Nov. 3rd trade deadline.
While #81 is certainly the greatest wide receiver in franchise history and one of the most gifted athletes to ever play that position, at 30 he’ll soon be heading into the decline years of his career. The Lions aren’t going to win while he’s a force and since he’s still a feared receiver who regularly draws double coverage, they should deal him while he can draw value. He’ll be a free agent after the season and there’s little doubt Johnson will look elsewhere for a big payday. Given the dysfunction of this franchise, who can blame him?
If there’s an NFL franchise willing to give up a first-round pick or a combination of a second and third/fourth rounder for Johnson, then Mayhew and Co. should do it.
In fact, if I was owner Martha Ford and found out that Mayhew passed up on a good offer for “Megatron,” I would instantaneously hand both Mayhew and his partner in crime, Lewand, their walking papers.
By the way, no matter how well the Lions play the rest of the season — even if by some miracle they were able to win the rest of their games and finish the season 9-7, neither Lewand or Mayhew should be welcomed back by Ford.
It’s simply a result of the lack of success they’ve garnered in their respective tenures. Since Lewand and Mayhew’s first full seasons in their current roles with Detroit (2009), the organization has amassed a record of 41-63 in 104 games.
Any logical, competent owner would make sure that both Millen disciples receive their pink slips at season’s end based solely on their inability to regularly field a competitive team.
If Ford proves to do the right thing, then that means Millen’s former understudies have one final chance to do the organization a solid.
This “solid” could and should come in the form of dealing the 30-year-old Johnson for a package of early round draft picks before the end of the trade deadline.
Johnson would thrive in a new system
The Lions and the team he went to would not be the only ones benefiting if they traded Johnson.
That’s because Johnson, the Georgia Tech product and former first rounder, would also receive a boost to his career from the change of scenery.
Sadly, if Johnson was traded to any of the NFL’s 31 other franchises he would have a better chance to win in the immediate future.
And the opportunity to play at a high level or even a moderately high level only lasts for so long in the NFL.
In already his ninth season, Johnson may only have one season remaining of being in his prime or one more season of being willing to deal with the mental and physical toll of football on a weekly basis, especially for a consistently losing franchise in the Lions.
Remember, all-time Lions running back great and 2004 NFL Hall of Fame inductee Barry Sanders decided he was no longer fit to deal with the mental and physical grind of football after playing 10 full seasons in the “Not For Long” league. Barry walked away from the Lions rather than suffer a decline in his skills while toiling for a miserable team.
The greatest running back in football history won one playoff game in his time with the league’s most dismal franchise, which equates to the same amount of playoff victories as the franchise since 1957.
Johnson, a probable Hall of Famer himself, has won zero playoff games in two postseason appearances.
Do the Lions want to see its all-time leader in reception yards go down the same path of postseason misfortune?
The answer is an obvious “no,” so give him a chance to win somewhere else while upgrading the team for the future by dealing him at the deadline.
In doing so, Lewand and Mayhew can kill two birds with one stone, and end their respective tenures with the franchise as less of losers.