If it can be done, the Detroit Lions absolutely should send a veteran defensive lineman to a contending team.
Brockers is the only Lion who is over 30 years old. And based on what he did on the field last year (one sack in 16 games), his name is bigger than his game now. Being a veteran leader is fine, but it rings hollow if you don’t get it done on the field.
In a certain light, though Levi Onwuzurike (back/hip) seems to be pretty badly injured right now, Brockers is holding down a spot and blocking younger players from playing time. Still, the notion of trading or surprisingly cutting him never seems all that far away.
Detroit Lions rumors: Michael Brockers should be sent to contending team if possible
Brockers isn’t the type to ask for a trade or to ask to be released, and he does seem to have belief the Lions can win a lot of games in 2022. But deep down, entering his 11th season, he has to want a better chance to win at a high level this year.
Alex Kay of Bleacher Report has offered up one trade each NFL team should propose before the season starts. I’ve certainly blow the cover, but for the Lions it’s a deal involving Brockers.
The Detroit Lions brought Michael Brockers in from the Los Angeles Rams last offseason for the low cost of a 2023 seventh-round pick. After only one season with the club, Brockers could be on his way out.
While Brockers is one of the few veteran leaders on Detroit’s roster, the team is oozing with young and upcoming talent in the defensive trenches. He is on the wrong side of 30, coming off a disappointing showing—Brockers earned a concerning 40.6 PFF grade last year—and isn’t likely to be around when the Lions finally turn a corner and becomes a contender.
A return to the Rams could be a great fit and a sensible move for all parties. The Lions would free up cap space and open playing time up for 2021 second-rounder Levi Onwuzurike, while Los Angeles gets a player who is intimately familiar with its system and could immediately assist in a title defense.
Brockers would fit in nicely to a rotation with the likes of Aaron Donald and Greg Gaines, depth the Rams need to sustain another long season and playoff run.
The Rams wouldn’t have to part with much of a draft pick to get Brockers back, and they do have a void in their interior line rotation after losing Sebastian Joseph-Day in free agency.
Later in the list, Kay has the Washington Commanders proposing to trade defensive tackle Daron Payne to the Lions. That’s not a completely new idea, and the first hypothetical deal even included Brockers heading to Washington. In a direct deal or a pair of deals that would bring Payne in and offload Brockers, the Lions would get younger and better along their defensive line.
Elswhere on this trades list, Kay has the Steelers proposing to send quarterback Mason Rudolph to the Lions.
Even with a few injuries they’re dealing with, the Lions actually have some defensive line depth to deal from if they want to. Moving Brockers to where he’d fit better, if it can be done, is a no-brainer.