I grew up on a Dairy Farm, and there was this old saying that when it comes to a cow you can have steaks or milk, but you can't have 'em both. Essentially, it meant you could milk the cow, or slaughter it for the steaks. But you couldn't do both at the same time.
With the trade deadline fast approaching, the Lions IFO (at this point I refuse to entertain the notion it will become permanent, and thus will now refer to Lions current management as IFO - Interim Front Office. I wanted it to be IFONLY but the only acronym I could come up with was too insulting. Maybe I'll use it anyways...) needs to decide how much milk they can get out of the current roster, or if they should cut it up into steak and sell off the best cuts to the highest bidder. Right now, a handful of teams are readying to make playoff noise, but still feel they are missing a piece or two. That pass rusher. That receiving threat. That run stopper. That extra guy in the secondary...
With that in mind already, I ran across this story from Jason Cole on Yahoo that I found interesting regarding players who should be traded. Mind you, not WILL be traded, but SHOULD.
Not surprisingly, 4 of the ten players were Lions. This was mainly because St. Louis, Detroit and Cincinatti were the teams that -- with coaching and/or front office changes coming, are going to be cleaning house soon anyways.
The 4 players listed were: Cory Redding, Dwayne White, Roy Williams and Brian Kelly.
I admit, I was surprised to see all 4 of those guys, and maybe not others, on the list. But seriously, lets look at them from a point of view I would consider more knowledgeable regarding Detroit that Mr. Cole.
The first thing columnists forget to look at in these trade scenarios is cap impact. Can a team afford to trade a guy right now? The SB are accelerated, and come due now. Since bad teams (like the Lions) usually are thin on cap space (like the Lions) this makes trading mid-season somewhat problematic. The other thing is market for the player, likelihood to trade, and what Detroit would get in return for the next GM to use. IE - draft picks, not players. The Lions are -- without a GM and IFONLY running the show -- in an official build-from-scratch mode. Rebuilding would imply there was something there. I'm going with building mode.
the Lions have only approximately $700,000 in cap space right now. (remember, they signed Rudi Johnson to a one year deal)
I emailed NetRat, resident cap guru, and was informed that since it is 2008, we are still in the world where cap hits occur. Essentially, the Lions would take a hit for unallocated signing bonuses and 1/4 (4 games played) of the player salary. So a trade of the aforementioned players would net the following for/against the cap:
Cory Redding: $5.1 million cap hit (not enough space)
Roy Williams: $700,000 savings (Net cap would equal 1.4 million in space)
Brian Kelly: $1.2 Million Cap Hit (not enough space unless Roy is traded first)
Dwayne White: $6.5 Million cap hit (not enough space)
First of all, Redding and White CANNOT be traded in reality. So to list them as players who should be traded is inane -- there is no reasonable way Detroit can do it. None.
As for Kelly, he could only be traded IF Williams were traded first, AND the Lions wanted to eat up their entire cap. Not likely. Less likely is a team that would be willing, at this point in the season, to give up more than a snow cone for him.
Despite the rumors of his impending trade, and the positive cap ramifications, I still don't see Roy going before the deadline. Why?
1. His value is not as high now as it will be at the end of the season. With so many new HC next year, a lot of teams are going to be churning rosters. In other words, a good time for an offensive skill player to be the flashy "centerpiece of the offense" to be a FA.
2. The Lions can franchise him, allow him to negotiate with teams on contract terms that are willing to give up what the Lions want. The Lions don't have the cap space to engineer such a trade right now, and it is not as likely to garner the type of compensation it will after the season when the draft slots are known.
3. I'd rather have the new GM/HC decide on keeping him/not AND brokering the deal. After seeing what types of deals IFONLY has managed, I'll take my chances on the negotiating skills of the Lions.
4. I don't think IFONLY is going to rock the boat right now. They are all basically putting out resumes for next season, and don't want to be known as the guys who got screwed over on that dumb trade. They have enough baggage as it is.
Of course, while I don't think the Lions will or should trade anyone right now (I don't think the value would be worth it) -- I did browse the cap listing to see who the Lions COULD trade -- cap wise. Some of the names were surprising. The Lions could trade/cut the following players under the current cap numbers:
- Jon Kitna (BIG savings)
- Drew Stanton
- Jerome Felton
- Marcus Thomas
- Rudi Johnson
- Kevin Smith
- Roy Williams
- Shaun McDonald
- Mike Furrey
- Brandon Middleton
- John Owens
- Casey Fitzsimmons
- Dominic Raiola
- Andy McCollum
- Stephen Peterman
- Manuel Ramierez
- Edwin Mulitalo
- George Foster
- Damian Cook
- Shaun Cody
- Langston Moore
- Chuck Darby
- Landon Cohen
- Andre Fluellen
- Jared Devries
- Cory Smith
- Cliff Avril
- Alex Lewis
- Paris Lenon
- Ryan Nece
- Gilbert Gardner
- Gerald Alexander
- Daniel Bullocks
- Dwight Smith
- Kalvin Pearson
- Keith Smith
- Travis Fisher
- Ramzee Robinson
- Jason Hanson
- Nick Harris
- Don Mulbach
FORTY TWO of the Lions 53 man roster -- 4/5 -- can be traded while sticking to the cap -- yet Jason Cole, a full-time sports writer, picks 3 of the 11 players who cannot be traded -- over 25%!!! to use in an article about players that SHOULD be traded!!
How absurd can you get? Is he related to Matt Millen? You could literally throw darts at the Lions Roster blindfolded and do better than that.
Of the tradeable players, who would you deal and for what? Or would you suggest - as I do - that the Lions hold pat and let the next front office decide for themselves?
Also keep in mind that the Lions would/should be going solely for draft picks, not players. Maybe the next coaching staff won't be so afraid to play them.