2012 NFL Rumors: Lions Looking to Trade For Running Back?
Detroit Lions General Manager Martin Mayhew may still be active in the trade market before the NFL regular season kicks off. According to CBS Insider Jason La Canfora, Mayhew is making some calls around the league looking for a ball carrier.
The Lions have had a fair share of issues with their backfield this offseason. Jahvid Best was placed on the PUP list due to multiple concussions, keeping him out of action for at least the first six weeks of the season. Mikel Leshoure, who missed all of the 2011 season, is recovering from a hamstring injury and will be suspended the first two games of the season due to offseason arrests.
Keep in mind that the Detroit Lions are heavily invested in these two runners. Best was selected as a first-rounder in the 2010 NFL Draft, while Leshoure was taken in the second round in 2011. The injury prone Kevin Smith who is slated to be their Week 1 starter, is also battling an ankle injury and will be held out of action in Thursday’s preseason finale.
The Lions backfield problems are obvious, and it looks now like they are going to take an aggressive approach at fixing it. But who should the Lions make a deal for? Let’s check out five suitable running backs the Lions might want to pursue.
1. Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Obvious. MJD and the Jaguars are clearly having issues with their negotiations, and earlier this week he even suggested a trade. In this case, the Lions can not only fix their problem, but add the reigning rushing champion in the process. The Lions would have to send a hefty package over to Jacksonville, but it is probably a price worth paying. Jones-Drew can turn the Lions into possible Super Bowl favorites. MJD might also want to play for a present contender, so this seems like an ideal trade for the Lions.
2. Ben Tate (Houston Texans)
Ben Tate is arguably the best backup running back in the NFL. Last year, alongside Arian Foster, Tate ran for 942 yards on 175 carries averaging more than five yards per carry. He also added four touchdown scores. Not bad for a backup. Tate is only 24 years old and shows a lot of promise in this league. The Texans might be interested in a nose tackle, and the Lions have one to offer in Sammie Hill.
3. Jonathan Stewart (Carolina Panthers)
Jonathan Stewart is another back who averages over five yards per carry in a crowded backfield. The Panthers offense lead by Cam Newton might not need multiple running backs anymore. The acquisition of Mike Tolbert adds another back that can carry the load. Stewart is only 25 years old and can come start right away. The Panthers should be somewhat interested in Lawrence Jackson from the Lions, who can be a step up from Greg Hardy at defensive end.
4. C.J. Spiller (Buffalo Bills)
This might be the best idea for the Detroit Lions. Spiller is a speedy back who can catch passes out of the backfield. Spiller ran 107 times for 561 yards and four touchdowns last season. He also added 39 receptions for 269 yards and two scores. Spiller is a mirror image of Jahvid Best, and I think he can work well with Mikel Leshoure when he gets back. What can the Bills look for in giving up Spiller? Possibly Corey Hilliard, an offensive tackle who can play on both sides of the line.
5. LeGarrette Blount (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
This is my least favorite, but still a somewhat valuable option for the Lions. Blount ran the ball 184 times for 781 yards and five scores last season after following his 1,000+ yard rookie campaign. Doug Martin completely outperformed Blount in the preseason, thus stripping him of his starting role. There have also been rumblings that the Bucs aren’t too happy with Blount, and it could make sense to move him. I don’t see the price being too high, and the Lions could add a runner who can carry the load.