Seeing a sense of progress for the first time in what feels like forever, the Detroit Lions have been building up their roster over the past years to try and become a competitive team again. With Dan Campbell looking like the perfect solution as head coach and the right young pieces in the right places, the Lions roster is beginning to take shape.
But there certainly are other holes that they should look to fill, even though the 2022 NFL season will likely result in them having another first-round selection in the top 10 of the next year’s NFL Draft. Which players should the Lions target to try and add to their budding core?
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Lions Trade Targets to Complete 2022 Roster
Baker Mayfield – QB
Hear me out – the Lions should go after Baker Mayfield, especially with his depressed price tag. Let me explain.
The days of pretending Jared Goff is any bit of the long-term solution at QB for Detroit are gone, and while the ‘23 draft class includes a bunch of franchise-altering QB solutions, the Lions would be smart to try and get a look at a potential long-term solution like Mayfield.
With an out in Goff’s contract after this upcoming season and Mayfield only having one year remaining on his rookie deal, the Lions could technically move on from both and clear a path for a first-round QB to come in without any veteran competition. But if the team wants to better use their draft capital, then adding Mayfield now, with the idea of bringing him back on a new contract that begins next year, could help accelerate the team’s rebuild plans.
Da’Ron Payne – DT
For the Washington Commanders, they are going to have to start to think about which of their defensive studs they want to hand out second contracts to, DT Da’Ron Payne being one of them. With Chase Young and others likely higher on that list than Payne, the Lions would be smart to inquire about Payne and his expiring deal.
Detroit has failed to find that next DT star ever since Ndamukong Suh left, and Payne could be that option, especially with how young he still is. Having shown that he is more than capable of anchoring a strong defensive front seven, Payne would get the spotlight all on himself with the Lions, instead of having to share it with Young, Montez Sweat, and others.
As is a similar case to Mayfield, this acquisition would be made with the idea that Payne would return on a big contract next season after his rookie deal runs out, something that the Lions have the cap space for.
N’Keal Harry – WR
New England Patriots
Even with the offseason signing of DJ Chark, the drafting of Jameson Williams, and the development of Amon-Ra St. Brown, the WR group for the Lions needs work, and taking a flier on a former first-round prospect in N’Keal Harry would be a smart move to make.
The New England Patriots have no room for the former Arizona State prospect and would likely take a mid-round selection to acquire him. While Matt Patricia is no longer in Detroit to continue that NE-DET funnel of players, the fact that these teams have worked together previously on deals could make this an easy one to put together.
A long-term trio of Harry, St. Brown, and Williams would give them one of the best upside groups in the entire league, and depending on the direction they take for QB, would be an enticing group of targets moving forward.