If the Detroit Lions are looking for an addition to their interior defensive line, Ed Oliver is a potential nice fit on the trade market.
Defensive tackle stood as need for the Detroit Lions going into the offseason, and they haven’t allocated significant resources to it. Third-round pick Brodric Martin profiles as a nose tackle, and recent signing Christian Covington is experienced depth more than a difference maker.
The idea of the Lions making a big move to trade for New York Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams has been out there. But the cost, in terms of trade cost and to pay Williams the top of defensive tackle market contract he wants, will be high. And that works under an assumption the Jets will give up on the idea of getting him signed long-term.
Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Ed Oliver, like Williams also entering a contract year, caused a little stir earlier this offseason with social media posts hinting his time with the team was done. Nothing has happened yet, on the trade or new contract fronts.
NFL trade rumors: Ed Oliver looks like potential nice fit for the Detroit Lions
Oliver lingers as someone who could be traded between now and Week 1. The Bills could possibly use an extra $10.75 million cleared by moving him to add another weapon for Josh Allen. They won’t and shouldn’t give him away, but interest should be there from other teams.
Among post-draft trade candidates, Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports has Oliver on his list. And the Lions among the logical landing spots for him.
Oliver does not have all the kind of splashy numbers like Williams had in 2022. But he does have 19 tackles for loss, 28 quarterback hits and 34 quarterback pressures over the last two seasons.
Oliver has been a better pass rusher than run defender over the course of his career, having posted Pro Football Focus pass rush grades of 74.7 (2020) and 73.7 (2021). But in 2022, his PFF pass rush grade dropped to a career-low 62.9, while his run defense grade was a career-best 68.7.
While Williams will command a contract pushing to or past $25 million per year, Spotrac has Oliver’s market value at $10.4 million a year on a projected four-year, $41.8 million deal. He also won’t turn 26 until deep into the 2023 season (Dec. 12).
The draft capital cost to acquire Oliver won’t be the same as it would be to get Williams. Let’s say a Day 2 draft pick and a Day 3 draft pick gets it done. Then the cost of a contract extension may come in around half as much per year.
Oliver is not the same caliber a player as Williams. But he’s plenty good, and he’d give the Lions a much-needed interior pass rush presence. If Brad Holmes is looking at who’s out there to possibly add at defensive tackle and could be a difference maker, Oliver is a worthy pivot from Williams to consider.