Martin Mayhew has been treating the NFL like it one big old fashioned swap meet since he took over as general manager. Thus far according to John Niyo he has made 10 trades (actually, 11 now with Shaun Hill). Here are each of his trades, and some thoughts on each:
• Acquired CB Chris Houston and 2010 fifth-round pick for 2010 fifth- and sixth-round picks.
As Killer reported today, the trade for Houston is just a 6th round pick, and a conditional 7th rounder next season. This makes the trade even better. Houston is at worst better than last year’s starters, with much more potential. Any time a GM can get a defensive starter for a 6th round pick that is applaudable.
• Acquired QB Shaun Hill from the 49ers for a 2011 7th rounder
This was the Kevin O’Connell pick — talk about turning a paperclip into a fortune! Or at least a fortune cookie… still, to get a solid backup QB for the price of a waiver wire pickup is nothing short of amazing.
• Acquired DT Corey Williams and 2010 seventh-round pick from Cleveland for 2010 fifth-round pick (from Denver).
Getting a relatively young defensive line starter for a mid-5th is exciting. While a lot of this is predicated on Williams returning to his productive Green Bay days in returning to a 4-3 defense, the likelihood of that is high enough to warrant giving up a 5th for player who just doesn’t fit in the Browns’ 3-4 scheme.
• Acquired S Ko Simpson from Buffalo for 2010 seventh-round pick.
Simpson has stuck around, and Mayhew ended up getting a 7th back this year in another trade. Since he is penciled in as battling to start next to Delmas right now, I’d have to say this has worked out pretty well for the Lions thus far. (He is a restricted FA tendered at ROFR and 4th round compensation)
• Acquired 2011 seventh-round pick from N.Y. Jets for QB Kevin O’Connell.
This was parlayed into backup QB Shaun Hill. Considering O’Connell was a waiver wire pick-up that was with the Lions all of 3 days, this is simply mind boggling. I’d rather have Hill than David Carr, whom the 49ers signed to be their backup to Alex Smith.
• Acquired DT Orion Martin from Rams for WR Ronald Curry.
This was a wash as Martin was cut, and neither player did much of anything. Mayhew was able to parlay a value FA signing into a possible rotational guy at DT. While it didn’t work out, the Lions did not sacrifice anything of value.
• Acquired WR Dennis Northcutt from Jacksonville for S Gerald Alexander.
No matter what they say, in hindsight I’m certain the Lions would have preferred to have Alexander on the roster as opposed to Northcutt. While Alexander was solid if not spectacular in rotation in Jacksonville, Northcutt really didn’t contribute to fixing the WR corps in 2009. Coupled with the rash of injuries at Safety, this is one I think Mayhew wished he had back.
• Acquired 2009 third-, fourth- and seventh-round picks from N.Y. Jets for 2009 third-round pick. (Lions used Jets’ picks to select LB DeAndre Levy, DT Sammie Hill and OT Lydon Murtha; Jets used Lions’ pick to select RB Shonn Greene.)
Murtha was cherry-picked off the practice squad by Miami. While I’d love to have Shonn Greene in the backfield, would any of you really want to give up both Levy AND Hill for him? I wouldn’t either. Two starters for the price of one.
• Acquired 2009 seventh-round pick and 2010 fifth-round pick from Denver for 2009 sixth-round pick. (Lions used seventh-round pick to select LB Zack Follett; Broncos used sixth-round pick to select QBTom Brandstater.)
As I mentioned above, this is the trade that keeps on giving. Part of me wants Mayhew to just keep trading these picks forward just to see how much he can squeeze out of what originated as the top pick in round 6 in 2009. Thus far, the Lions have netted a starting DT (Williams), a solid special teamer and backup LB (Follett) and still have one more pick to use (2010 7th from Cleveland).
• Acquired LB Julian Peterson from Seattle for DT Cory Redding and 2009 fifth-round pick.
Peterson may not still be a “pro-bowl” linebacker, but he is far from awful. He played very solid at the SLB position for Detroit last year. In the uncapped year, the salary to keep him for what he is contributing doesn’t matter as much. Redding did nothing in Seattle after moving back to end.
• Acquired CB Anthony Henry from Dallas for QB Jon Kitna.
Henry played well at times, but really this was a little something for a little something. Kitna was done in Detroit anyway, so to get anything for him — even a one year guy in Henry — was a coup considering the Lions’ needs coming off 0-16.
• Acquired 2009 first-, third-, and sixth-round picks from Dallas for WR Roy Williams and 2009 seventh-round pick. (Lions used Cowboys’ three picks to select TE Brandon Pettigrew, WR Derrick Williams and RB Aaron Brown; Cowboys traded Lions’ seventh-round pick to Falcons, who selected DT Vance Walker.)
Brandon Pettigrew had 30 catches for 346 yards and 2 TD’s as a rookie. He was finally getting into a rhythm with Stafford when he got injured. Brown added in 131 rushing yards to go with 9 receptions for 84 yards and a TD. As he learns the pro game a bit better, I see Brown adding more to the passing game this year. Williams was a bit of a disappointment, especially on the return side where I thought he would make an immediate impact. The book isn’t closed on him yet. Still, the Roy Williams got a monster contract to be Dallas’ #1 WR and ended up with just 596 yards and 7 TD’s on 30 catches. He was still plagued by the drops and inconsistent routes that drove QB’s nuts in Detroit. All things being equal, I’m happy with the value (a 1st and 3rd, 6th) that Mayhew got for Roy even if the jury is still out on the picks themselves.
There you have it — 11 trades to date. You can see how earlier swaps allow Mayhew to make even more swaps later. It’s beginning to look like you could give Mayhew a paperclip and he would turn it into a house. Or maybe build an NFL franchise from scratch… Here’s hoping the swap meet keeps on going!