Particularly in comparison to another team, the Detroit Lions clearly did it right to start their rebuild in 2021 rather than waiting.
A little over a year ago now, the Detroit Lions were in a tough spot. With a new general manager and head coach, theey also had a veteran quarterback in Matthew Stafford who it was revealed asked for a trade as he didn’t want to go through a rebuild.
The Lions let their long-time starting quarterback pick his destination, sending Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff, two first-round picks (2022 and 2023) and a 2021 third-round pick that became cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu.
In hindsight, timing worked in the Lions’ favor. They got quite a bit for Stafford, while as an example (albeit in a different situation in regard to contract and the salary cap) the Atlanta Falcons only got a third-round pick from the Indianapolis Colts for Matt Ryan a few weeks ago.
The Falcons also had a new head coach and general manager in 2021. But they tried to stay competitive and, aside from cap implications, that meant keeping Ryan. They still could have taken a quarterback of the future in the top-10 of the 2021 draft, but they instead went with tight end Kyle Pitts in that effort to be competitive and add pieces around Ryan. They went 7-10 last season, and they have the eight overall pick in next week’s draft.
Comparison to Falcons shows the Detroit Lions did it right to start rebuild
“They’ve got all those picks and are going to go with young players right now.”
Detroit started over while Atlanta won seven and created this mirage of being competitive, but now they’re tearing in back down. Detroit could have won seven games last season with Stafford, but what’s the point? And then they would have had to make a decision this year, do they push, do they trade him or do they give him an extension when they are still far away from contending?”
For once, the Lions can be looked at as a team that accepted its reality and didn’t wait to do something to change course.