NFL trade deadline is Tuesday. What can Detroit Lions sell and where might they buy?

Detroit Free Press

The NFL trade deadline is less than a week away, but Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell said he is “not even thinking about” what changes could be in store for his roster.

“That’s not on my mind,” Campbell said Wednesday. “I’m about what we have on this roster right now and how we get the most out of it.”

As the only winless team in the NFL, the Lions (0-7) are obvious sellers at next Tuesday’s deadline, though NFL Network reported last week they are among the teams who have asked around about help at receiver.

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The Lions lost No. 1 receiver Tyrell Williams to a brain injury in Week 1 and have been without his backup, Quintez Cephus, since early October.

They have no big-time playmakers in their receiving corps, and only two receivers of note (Cephus and rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown) under contract beyond 2021.

With virtually no chance of making the playoffs this season, Lions general manager Brad Holmes will take a forward-thinking approach with any deal.

He could be in the market for young players with multiple years left on their contracts who could be had for minimal draft compensation, and he could look to deal veterans who do not fit into the Lions’ long-term plans.

The Lions have been active at the trade deadline in recent years, trading for Damon Harrison and trading away Golden Tate in 2018, sending Quandre Diggs to the Seattle Seahawks in 2019, and acquiring Everson Griffen last year.

Holmes, in his first season as Lions GM, made two trades early this offseason and a third in September. He traded Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff and three draft picks, added Michael Brockers in a separate deal with the Rams for a 2023 draft choice, and, finally, sent fifth- and seventh-round picks to the Denver Broncos for receiver Trinity Benson.

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Goff has struggled with few weapons in his receiving corps. Brockers has started every game this season at defensive line. And Benson has six catches for 55 yards but was inactive the past two weeks.

The Lions could have appealing trade chips on their defensive line: Nick Williams is on an expiring contract, Trey Flowers has two years left on a deal that likely will need to be reworked for him to stay in Detroit and Da’Shawn Hand is on his way back from injured reserve.

They are high on rookie defensive linemen Alim McNeill and Levi Onwuzurike, and also have Brockers, John Penisini and Jason Cornell in their playing group.

“If I’m being honest, I’m not even thinking about (the trade deadline),” Campbell sad. “Brad’s always like, he’s always thinking and looking. ‘What can we do? How can we upgrade? Is this a smart move? Is it not?’ And if it’s something he feels like is value, he’ll bring it to me and we talk about it.”

With the playoffs an extreme long shot, the Lions’ main focus this season has been building a foundation for the future.

Campbell said he likes the growth of his rookie defensive linemen and other young players like offensive tackle Penei Sewell, linebacker Derrick Barnes and running back D’Andre Swift, and the Lions have spent the past few months hoarding draft picks.

They are expected to have at least eight picks in next spring’s draft, including the Rams’ first-round choice, acquired in the Stafford trade, and three compensatory draft picks. They traded their 2022 fourth-round pick to move up and draft Barnes in 2021.

Despite a long-term need at quarterback, the Lions are not believed to be among the teams currently in the market for Houston Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Watson, 26 and a three-time Pro Bowler, has been available via trade since the summer, but teams have balked at the Texans’ high asking price — reportedly three first-round picks plus additional compensation — with Watson facing 22 civil lawsuits and 10 criminal complaints for sexual misconduct and assault.

Watson has denied the claims through his attorney.

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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