The Detroit Lions, historically, haven’t precisely been identified for fielding the best rosters of their lengthy existence, and so they haven’t precisely been heralded for his or her shrewd entrance places of work, both (see: Matt Millen).
In reality, the Lions — one in every of soccer’s longest-running franchises — usually are not energetic merchants, in any respect, regardless of who’s in cost. Basically, the Lions group has been one of many least energetic franchises on the commerce market over the a long time.
And no matter they’ve been doing, it hasn’t labored. Since successful the 1957 NFL Championship, they’ve performed in exactly zero Tremendous Bowls, and solely certified for the postseason 12 occasions — with six of these berths coming within the 1990s with Barry Sanders.
The 2020 season has not gotten off to a great begin, both. The staff sits at 1-2, with a coach on the new seat and looking out up at two 3-Zero squads within the AFC North. We’ll see if they appear to improve on the commerce deadline, although their historical past would deem it unlikely.
That mentioned, the Lions have, arguably, come out on the successful aspect of some offers over time, akin to the next 5:
5) 2015: Lions purchase Haloti Ngata from Ravens for a fourth and fifth-round decide.
Ngata wasn’t the identical participant in Detroit as he was in Baltimore, the place he turned the league’s preeminent nostril deal with underneath Rex Ryan. Nonetheless, he fended off just a few accidents to turn out to be an impression participant for the Lions staff that certified for the 2016 postseason — and playoff berths can’t be undervalued in Lions lore.
That fourth-round decide did turn out to be Zadarius Smith, top-of-the-line outdoors linebackers in soccer, now with the Inexperienced Bay Packers. (The fifth spherical decide was utilized by the Arizona Cardinals to pick out Shaquille Riddick.) However, if you happen to instructed the Lions they’d get a strong contributor to a playoff staff for a fourth and fifth rounder, they’d most likely try this deal over once more.
4) 2017: Lions purchase the no. 96 and 124 decide within the draft from Patriots for the no. 85 decide.
This under-the-radar draft day transfer allowed the Patriots to maneuver up 11 spots and choose offensive lineman Antonio Garcia at no. 85. Garcia, sadly, struggled with blood clot points as a rookie and was launched in 2018.
The Lions, although, had been capable of snag broad receiver Kenny Golladay at no. 96, who has turn out to be — this season’s accidents however — the franchise’ first true no. 1 receiver since Calvin Johnson retired. Golladay has posted consecutive 1,000+ yard seasons, together with a career-high 1,190 yards and 11 TDs in 2019.
Plus, Detroit used the no. 124 decide on linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, who has blossomed right into a particular groups star and growing contributor on Matt Patricia’s protection.
3) 2008: Lions purchase a primary, third, and sixth-round decide from Cowboys WR Roy Williams and a seventh spherical decide.
Jerry Jones was… jonesing for a star wideout to place throughout from Terrell Owens, and the Lions took benefit of the proprietor’s thirst.
Whereas Detroit didn’t nail the draft picks, this commerce is taken into account amongst the worst in Cowboys historical past, and the Lions squeezed a large return package deal for the veteran wideout,
Williams had 4.5 productive seasons in Detroit, however the staff was seeking to rebuild and stockpile draft picks. Jones surrendered three draft picks for the Texas-native, together with a first-rounder in 2008.
Detroit chosen tight finish Brandon Pettigrew with the decide (2oth general) and used the opposite two picks to take Derrick Williams (82nd general) and Aaron Brown (192nd general). The latter two had short-lived careers, however Pettigrew was extra impactful in Detroit than Williams was with the Cowboys.
Williams seemed immediately washed in Dallas and by no means discovered a groove with the Cowboys. He had simply 19 receptions in 10 video games in 2008, then recorded two middling seasons underneath 600 yards earlier than being launched in 2010.
Pettigrew was no celebrity, however he did garner over 100 targets in three straight seasons (2010-2012), and averaged almost 700 yards and Four TDs per season throughout that stretch.
Both approach, by way of worth, Detroit pulled a large haul from Jones, who later known as the deal his most regrettable transfer.
2) 1960: Lions purchase CB Dick “Evening Prepare” Lane from the St. Louis Cardinals for DL Gerry Perry.
“Evening Prepare” is among the best gamers in NFL historical past, and the Lions had been lucky sufficient to make use of him for his previous couple of nice years. On Aug. 22, 1960, Detroit traded defensive lineman (and place kicker) Perry for Lane, who was previous his prime however nonetheless loads of recreation left.
In Detroit’s first win of the 1960 season, Evening Prepare picked off a cross from Baltimore Colts QB Johnny Unitas and returned it 80 yards for a landing — his first of 11 interceptions in his first two campaigns with the Lions. In 66 video games over six seasons in Detroit (1960-1965), Lane had 21 picks, obtained All-NFL honors 4 occasions (1960-1963) and made three Professional Bowls (1960-1962).
Legendary Lions linebacker Joe Schmidt known as the commerce for Lane “one of many best trades that can ever be made in any sport.” As evidenced by it rating at no. 2 on this record — and this record is official Lions canon — I’ll need to disagree with Schmidt’s evaluation. Nonetheless, it was undeniably a shrewd acquisition from Detroit’s finish.
1) 1950: Lions purchase Bobby Layne from the New York Bulldogs/Yanks for WR Bob Mann
The Lions had good luck with gamers named Lan(y)e within the 1950s and 60s.
In 1950, after bouncing round just a few groups and producing one strong season with the Bulldogs in 1949 (renamed the Yanks in 1950), Layne was traded to the Lions for Mann and the money concerns. Mann was a star pass-catcher who had led the league in receiving in 1949 and have become the primary Lions gamers to eclipse 1,000 yards in a single season, however a contract holdout induced the Lions to ship him to New York.
In 5 seasons in Detroit, Layne and his highschool teammate Doak Walker led the Lions to back-to-back NFL Championships in 1952 and 1953, and a 3rd title in 1957. Layne additionally led the staff to the 1954 championship recreation.
In eight seasons in Detroit, Layne was chosen to 4 Professional Bowls and was named All-Professional twice, racked up 15,710 passing yards and 118 passing TDs.
Layne’s legacy lives on to at the present time, although not in a approach that Lions followers have fun. Upon being traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1958, Layne — in line with the parable — declared that the Lions would go with no title for 50 years, placing the “The Curse of Bobby Layne” into impact.