Lions Take ‘Big Swing’ at Projected $82 Million CB in Blockbuster Trade Proposal

Head coach Dan Campbell of the Detroit Lions told reporters at the annual league meeting in Orlando, Florida on March 26 that the team has ‘urgency’ to add another cornerback. Campbell said the Lions are exploring another free agent addition and potential draft targets. But AtoZ Sports’ Mike Payton suggested the Lions should pursue trading for 2022 All-Pro cornerback Patrick Surtain II.

Payton proposed on March 26 that the Lions should send the No. 29 overall pick from the 2024 first round and a 2025 fourth-round pick to the Denver Broncos for Surtain and the No. 147 overall pick in the 2024 draft.

Dan Campbell Patrick Surtain II

“The Broncos are in a place where they are about to embark on a rebuild and with Surtain’s deal almost up, they would have to pick up his very expensive fifth year option and then sign him to new lucrative contract after that,” Payton wrote. “They’d have to do all that while presumably trying to find a quarterback since they’re out of range from the top ones in this year’s draft.

“The Lions can come in and offer the Broncos a chance to relieve themselves from having to make a big money offer to Surtain very soon and give them more assets to use in a trade up scenario for this years draft.”

Surtain made first-team All-Pro with the Broncos during his second season in 2022. He wasn’t a member of the All-Pro team in 2023, but Surtain made his second consecutive Pro Bowl.

In 17 games, Surtain recorded 69 combined tackles, 12 pass defenses and 1 interception in 2023. He has 36 pass defenses and 7 interceptions in 50 career NFL games.

How Patrick Surtain II Could Fit With the Lions
The Lions have already made additions at cornerback this offseason. They signed Amik Robertson in free agency and traded for Carlton Davis. The Lions also re-signed Khalil Dorsey and Emmanuel Moseley.

But the Lions are still in the cornerback market because they released Cameron Sutton on March 21. Sutton became the subject of a police search, according to a release from the Hillsborough County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office, on March 20.

Sutton led the Lions defense in snaps played during 2023.

Adding Surtain, though, would more than make up for the loss of Sutton. For the Broncos, Surtain played even more snaps than Sutton did, and he made his second straight Pro Bowl. Although Sutton was Detroit’s top cornerback in 2023, he struggled with his consistency.

Pairing Surtain with Davis would give the Lions one of the top cornerback tandems in the NFL. Detroit’s pass defense, which was ranked 27th in the NFL last season, would probably improve tremendously.

With Surtain on the roster, Robertson and Dorsey would then provide terrific depth. Moseley could as well once he fully recovers from his second torn ACL.

Other Potential CB Targets for Lions
Surtain and Davis as Detroit’s starting cornerbacks looks terrific on paper. But it would come at a cost.

The Lions already gave up one of their third-round picks in the 2024 draft to acquire Davis. In Payton’s proposal, the team would then lose the No. 29 overall selection for Surtain.

Although the trade would solidify Detroit’s cornerback, it would leave the Lions with only two selections in the top 163 picks this year. They also wouldn’t have a first-rounder.

Trading for Surtain also wouldn’t solidify cornerback for the Lions beyond 2024. Davis is on an expiring contract, and as Payton mentioned, Surtain is entering the fourth year of his rookie deal.

To keep the potentially top cornerback tandem in Detroit beyond one season, the Lions would need to re-sign Davis and pick up Surtain’s fifth-year option.

To avoid giving up draft capital to land a cornerback on an expiring deal, the Lions may prefer to target a cornerback in free agency or the draft. There’s quite a few intriguing veteran options still available in free agency, including Stephon Gilmore, Steven Nelson and Adoree’ Jackson.

The Lions could also target a cornerback in the first round of the draft. He wouldn’t have as much immediate upside as Surtain, but he would be on an affordable contract through the 2027 season.

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