There aren’t many teams in the NFL that have as much positive momentum heading toward the 2023 season as the Detroit Lions. While they lost a tiebreaker to the Seattle Seahawks that cost them a spot in the playoffs, optimism is very high around the organization.
Detroit finished the 2022 campaign by winning eight of their last 10 games. There were glaring holes on the roster heading into the offseason but Brad Holmes and the front office did a wonderful job of patching some of those up.
The secondary, which was among the worst in the NFL last season, has been revamped. After ranking 30th in passing yards allowed, the Lions signed Cam Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley for cornerback depth and C.J. Gardner-Johnson at safety. Linebacker Jack Campbell was also selected with their second first-round pick to shore up the second level.
While those additions will certainly help, there is still work to do on that side of the ball. Adding some more pass-rushing threats to the roster would be a big help. Last season Detroit ranked 18th in the league with 39 sacks. Improving the pass rush would also help take some pressure off of the secondary.
Finding pass-rushing help isn’t easy as every team is always on the hunt for some. But, one intriguing option that could pique the interest of the Lions is Chase Young of the Washington Commanders.
Detroit was named one of the potential landing spots for Young by Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports. While the Commanders have said they aren’t shopping Young, he could be available at the right price after the team declined the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. After winning the Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 2020, Young’s career has been derailed by a devastating knee injury suffered in 2021.
What could a trade between the Lions and Commanders look like? Detroit could offer their 2024 second-round pick, a 2024 third-round pick via the Minnesota Vikings and a 2025 fourth-round pick via the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for Young.
Washington could hold out for a first-round pick, but no one is offering that until Young can prove he is healthy and back in form. Landing three picks, all on Day 2 over the next two drafts, could make up for it. The Commanders would also save $5,323,219 by trading Young after June 1st.
Detroit would be getting a potentially dominant pass rusher to bookend Aidan Hutchinson, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and James Houston. Houston was a revelation for the Lions last season, racking up 8.0 sacks in seven games while Hutchinson had 9.5 in 17.
Detroit lacked juice in the pass-rushing game beyond those two and Young would help turn that around. Even if he can’t regain the dominance he showed as a rookie, as Young has only 1.5 sacks in 12 games since, he remains a stout run defender. That is something the Lions could definitely benefit from adding while hoping the pass-rushing ability comes back as well.