3 potential trade candidates for the Lions entering 2021 training camp

A Detroit Lions trade could go in many directions. Detroit made plenty of changes in the offseason on the offensive side of the ball, which included trading longtime starting quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff.

In the big picture, the Lions have plenty of question marks across their depth chart, but their offense could still use a few key players. Goff will be running a new offense in Detroit, and he could sure have a couple of more offensive weapons at his disposal.

It is not likely that the Lions would even consider going all out to acquire any highly coveted running backs or wide receivers over the coming month, especially as the team is undergoing a short-term rebuilding process.

Thus, the Lions may scour the trade market for some hidden gems, which could include these three offensive talents.

Lions trade targets:

Royce Freeman

The Detroit Lions have had a revolving door at the running back position over the past decade. From the likes of Theo Riddick to Adrian Peterson, a multitude of running backs have featured for the Lions as of late.

While the Lions will rely on a one-two punch with D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams at the running back position this upcoming season, a talent like Denver Broncos’ Royce Freeman could be a valuable addition to the team.

Freeman has had some success as a backup running back for the Broncos, but the team’s decision to select former North Carolina standout Javonte Williams in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft may suggest that they are looking for someone new to fill the role.

Thus, Freeman could possibly be out the door ahead of the upcoming season, whether as a preseason roster cut or via a trade.

The Lions would make plenty of sense as a possible trade destination for Freeman.

For one, Freeman’s versatility in being a down-for-down running back and a pass-catcher could open up the offense for Jared Goff. In situations where Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn calls for 2-2 personnel, Freeman could tag along with Swift and provide Goff with a possible short gain option in such plays.

The Lions are in desperate need of any big play talents on offense, and Freeman could be one solution to this matter.

Ray-Ray McCloud

The Detroit Lions had one notable wide receiver overhaul in the offseason. The Lions’ front office elected not to go all out to re-sign the likes of Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay. Instead, they elected for more of a conservative route and settled for one-year deals with veteran receivers Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman.

Still, the Lions should look to acquire a young, speedy receiver that could help open the field for Jared Goff.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud may not be the best player for such a role, but he does have plenty of potential to be an impact offensive talent.

McCloud is facing an uncertain future with the Steelers. He is coming off of his most productive campaign over his three-season run in Pittsburgh, which included totaling 1,086 all-purpose yards in 16 games played.

However, McCloud’s spot on the team this upcoming season is far from a guarantee, as the likes of Cody White is expected to compete for the fifth and final spot in the Steelers’ wide receiver depth chart.

If McCloud becomes available via a trade, the Lions must go and take a chance by acquiring him.

McCloud has promise as a slot receiver, from his vertical quickness in the open field to agility when on the ball.

More so, Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn could get the best out of McCloud in the same way that he exploited Austin Ekeler’s potential during his time as Los Angeles Chargers head coach.

Zay Jones

Another low-risk, high-reward potential move that the Detroit Lions could make is trading for Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Zay Jones.

Although he just recently signed a one-year contract deal in the offseason, Jones could very well depart from the team over the coming month. The Raiders are filled with depth across the board at the wide receiver position, from coveted wideout  Henry Ruggs III to veteran talent Willie Snead.

Jones may now be expendable to the Raiders, and such a trade can not be counted ahead of the upcoming season.

As with McCloud, the Lions should look to acquire Jones to bolster its depth at wide receiver.

Jones was far from a regular for the Raiders last season; he was targeted a mere 20 times over 16 games played. Still, he is just three years removed from his promising 2018 campaign while with the Buffalo Bills, where he totaled 56 receptions and 652 receiving yards.

Jones is not one offensive talent who could come into a team and revamp their passing attack right out the gate. Still, the Lions need to supply Goff with veteran receivers, and the 26-year-old wideout would fit the bill for such a role.

Overall, it will be noteworthy to see just what the Lions plan to do in regard to their depth at the wide receiver position. As it stands, Goff would need to put together a career season in order to get the best out of his current group of wideouts.

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