Matt Patricia explains how Detroit Lions make deals at NFL trade deadline

Detroit Free Press

Carlos Monarrez
| Detroit Free Press

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The NFL’s trade deadline is less than two weeks away and it’s hard to say whether the Detroit Lions will be buyers or sellers.

They are 2-3, but have won two of their past three games and could easily be 3-2 if rookie running back D’Andre Swift had held on to Matthew Stafford’s perfect pass in the final seconds of the season-opening loss to the Chicago Bears.

The Lions have two games before the Nov. 3 deadline, and the results of those games might go a long way in determining whether the Lions would rather acquire talent or draft picks.

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Lions coach Matt Patricia on Wednesday offered a limited explanation of the strategy behind deadline trades, although he made it clear he preferred to focus on the Atlanta Falcons this week.

“I would say typically just sharing conversation with it, usually teams right around the trade deadline will start to make phone calls, they’ll start to inquire, they’ll start to ask,” he said in a conference call with reporters. “I think at that point, it depends on what individual teams are looking for from that accord, and what they might be interested in and what that whole picture looks like from both sides.

“That’s usually where it starts. Right now, for me, it’s really just Atlanta. That’s kind of just where I’m at.”

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In Patricia’s previous two seasons, the Lions have been buyers and sellers at the deadline.

On Oct. 25, 2018, general manager Bob Quinn swung a trade with the New York Giants to acquire nose tackle Damon Harrison in exchange for a fifth-round pick.

On Oct. 30, 2018, Quinn shipped Golden Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles for a third-round pick.

On Oct. 22, 2019, Quinn acquired a fifth-round draft pick from the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for safety Quandre Diggs and a 2021 seventh-round draft pick.

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Balancing immediate needs with stocking the war chest with future draft capital is always a difficult balance. But it’s all part of the calculus that goes into the personnel decisions Patricia and Quinn have to make each deadline.

“I think those are always difficult thought processes and conversations,” Patricia said. “Certainly Bob and his staff do a great job with that stuff and weighing out the balances with all that and communicating that all across the board. For us, it’s just focusing on what’s in front of us right now really.”

Contact Carlos Monarrez at and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.

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