D’Andre Swift’s future in Detroit is definitely up in the air, but could the Detroit Lions seriously entertain trading him this offseason?
There is no denying how good D’Andre Swift is, or can be. He averaged a career-best 5.5 yards per carry during the 2022 season, along with 48 receptions (8.1 yards per catch) and eight total touchdowns.
But Swift also missed three games due to ankle and shoulder issues, and even when he was back in uniform his usage was often limited. Jamaal Williams had a great season, but Swift offers an element Williams doesn’t. And there were glimpses of Swift at peak performance that made it easy to want/expect more.
Ultimately it was a very disappointing season for Swift, and he was ready to leave it behind when it ended. He’s now heading into the final year of his rookie contract (remember he was a second-round pick in 2020) with a lot to prove. First on the list of things to prove is being able to stay on the field.
NFL Rumors: Could the Lions look to trade D’Andre Swift this offseason?
Colton Pouncy of The Athletic (subscription required) recently pointed to running back as a sneaky need for the Lions. He also called Swift’s future as a Lion into question.
It’s fairly obvious the Lions will make little or no effort to sign Swift to a contract extension this offseason. Williams is a free agent, and he’s more likely to be back than not–even if his leaving should not be ruled out. Looking beyond next season, or even beyond 2024 if Williams’ is re-signed, what will the Lions’ running back depth chart look like?
Rather than let him play out the final year of his contract, the Lions could entertain trade offers for Swift this offseason. Fan sentiment in reaction to Pouncy’s angle suggest there may be teams with interest, for what that’s worth.
Unless he avoids injuries, plays every game and has the best year of his career, losing Swift for nothing as a free agent in 2024 won’t be the worst thing for the Lions. At this point a late-Day 2 or early-Day 3 draft pick would the most likely return in a trade, and a compensatory pick for losing him as a free agent (if they got one) would be in that area too.
So do the Lions shop Swift this offseason, and get a Day 2 or Day 3 pick? Or do they take a chance on getting a compensatory pick if he leaves as a free agent in 2024? Or, do they see if he plays well enough next season to prove worthy of sticking around?
Though Pouncy didn’t necessarily go all the way there, and the Lions’ front office may not quite be there right now, there’s definitely merit to the idea of trading Swift this offseason. Then he can be someone else’s durability headache.