Lions Deal D'Andre Swift to Eagles
NFL Offseason - The Lions are dealing running back D'Andre Swift to Philadelphia for a 2025 fourth-round pick and a swap of seventh-round picks in this year's draft. This trade was inevitable once the Lions drafted Jahmyr Gibbs in the first round. Swift never seemed to match the current Lions coaching staff and couldn't stay healthy. He now gives the Eagles a pair of injury-prone backs along with Rashaad Penny, but they make a good thunder and lightning combo. If they can stay healthy.
32 comments, Last at 08 May 2023, 5:28pm
#2 by Joey-Harringto… // Apr 29, 2023 - 4:44pm
The Venn diagram convergence of the times when Swift is A)not injured, and B)hitting the correct holes and cutback lanes, is very exciting, but also fleeting.
Overall, like the trade for the Eagles. Barely gave up anything, and it’s not like they’re going to depend on Swift to be RB1.
For the Lions? Well, I guess it’s better than just cutting him. You could see the coaching staff becoming visible frustrated with him as the season went along. (And no, that still doesn’t make spending pick 12 on a running back okay!)
#3 by guest from Europe // Apr 29, 2023 - 4:58pm
Who is making these decisions for Lions? How long has this person been in charge?
Are Lions' fans happy with the drafted players? Did they waste draft picks?
The NFC North is available for the taking, Lions should be the favourites...
#4 by Joey-Harringto… // Apr 29, 2023 - 6:23pm
“Who is making these decisions for Lions? How long has this person been in charge?”
Brad Holmes has been Lions GM in 2021. Up until this draft, I would have said he’s been doing a stellar job. Took a roster from the Matt Patricia era that was both bad and old, and rebuilt it from the ground up after two years. His first two drafts were excellent: got 7 very good core starters (maybe 8 if Jameson Williams can learn to not gamble on team soil). The roster is now both good and young (top 10 in DVOA, 2nd youngest in snap-weighted age IIRC). He was appropriately spendthrift in free agency while the roster was being rebuilt in 2021 and 2022, then made some smart buy-low signings in 2023 FA to completely revamp the secondary.
“Are Lions' fans happy with the drafted players? Did they waste draft picks?“
Getting Brian Branch where they did was great, but the rest of the draft…no, of course I’m not happy! I mean, the players themselves were good prospects, but the positional value! Two firsts on an RB and LB, a TE with a high 2nd, trading up in the 3rd for a run-stuffing NT. This draft caused me to seriously downgrade my opinion of Holmes. I mean, the 2021 and 2022 drafts still happened, so he still has some equity, but another draft like this will erase all of it.
”The NFC North is available for the taking, Lions should be the favourites…”
They are the favorites. They’ve still got good, young players who can further improve. Curses and superstitions aside, they should be playoff contenders next year. The disappointment from this weekend is that they had a ton of draft capital and could have used it to reach the stratosphere of PHI-DAL-SF in the NFC. Instead, they acted like they were already there and made a bunch of luxury picks. Rather then DET, it looks like SEA will be making that leap (unless Geno Smith turns into a pumpkin).
Why did this happen? Why did they throw positional value and draft slot value totally out the window? I suspect it’s because Brad Holmes is now overestimating his (and his scouting staff’s) ability to identify good players. They probably think Gibbs and Campbell will almost certainly become the next Marshall Faulk and Luke Keuchly, and thus worthy of their draft slots. He wouldn’t be the first GM to fall into that trap, and won’t be the last.
Regarding Swift specifically, I think the Eagles are being over-praised for the trade, but it’s still a good trade for them (see my post above).
#5 by LionInAZ // Apr 29, 2023 - 10:04pm
Lots of people overestimate their ability to identify good players. Sportswriters and fans in particular.
The results depend on coaching and play scheming as on player evaluations. There's a risk in every draft pick. Jahvid Best was a great asset when he wasn't targeted by opponents to induce concussions. Titus Young was working out pretty well until he whacked out. Who knows how Mikel Leshoure would have done if his Achilles tendon hadn't been blown out by Cliff Avril, his own teammate.
I'm just happy they didn't spend a 1st on Jalen Carter, who might still face prison time.
#23 by LionInAZ // Apr 30, 2023 - 9:27pm
If street racing that leads to multiple deaths is a misdemeanor in Georgia, there's a problem.
More likely he got a typical friendly plea deal for being a star on the NCAA champion team. After a thorough investigation, of course.
#31 by aaronmccurrie // May 06, 2023 - 3:46am
Late to the party, but Jalen Carter's plea deal not only resulted in no jail time but it specifically precluded additional charges from being filed. From my perspective that seemed like an odd thing for an attorney to announce (as his did) but given his particulars it makes sense.
#7 by guest from Europe // Apr 30, 2023 - 1:57am
Two firsts on an RB and LB, a TE with a high 2nd, trading up in the 3rd for a run-stuffing NT.
This is why i asked. As Raiderjoe writes, maybe the GM was drunk and didn't know what to do with too many draft picks.
From the Stafford-trade the Lions got J. Williams (suspended), J. Paschal and a RB and a dissapointing CB. And Goff, of course. Trading down was good, we'll see what these players will become.
NFC North is now 3 young teams + veteran Vikings and their luck. Which team reaches the playoffs in the next 2 years, may depend on drafting and coaching these young players. (DVOA says it should be the Lions.)
#20 by Joey-Harringto… // Apr 30, 2023 - 3:42pm
"As Raiderjoe writes, maybe the GM was drunk and didn't know what to do with too many draft picks."
I wrote a comment on the draft night thread questioning whether Brad Holmes was on drugs, but it would have been more clever to channel RJ and ask, "Is Loins' GM drunk?"
#9 by Spanosian Magn… // Apr 30, 2023 - 10:38am
That, and/or they think they're set everywhere else. I'm... skeptical... but if they did correctly prioritize other positions from the outset (in 2021), then went down the list checking them off, they might be at LB, NT, RB now. The optimistic view might be that they could see some knock-on effects from shoring up "less important" positions, e.g., if improved run defense makes using the ground game to slow their edge rushers less viable.
I also kind of get the impression that they locked in on Bijan Robinson early in the offseason, and then panicked when the Falcons picked him.
#19 by Joey-Harringto… // Apr 30, 2023 - 3:37pm
"That, and/or they think they're set everywhere else."
This is the explanation that fits the best. Makes more sense than then them suddenly turning into idiots or using mind-altering substances on draft night. I can see how they feel they're set at the premium positions. At edge, they have Hutchinson and surprise late round pick James Houston (8 sacks and 16 pressures on less than 100 snaps). At WR, they have St. Brown and Williams, and some solid WR3-4s. Both tackle spots are set. At CB, they just signed Cam Sutton and Emmanuel Mosely. At QB, it's easy to see that they think Goff's 2022 season is the real Goff, and not an outlier after 3 straight mediocre seasons.
But like you, I don't completely share their optimism. Williams has yet to prove he'll be productive and reliable. And what if Mosely gets hurt again? They'll probably wish they took Gonzalez at 12 and just let Swift finish out his contract. It also would have been nice to rotate in Smith-Najigba while Williams serves his suspension, and just let Anzalone and Rodriguez hold down off ball-LB. I even wouldn't have minded a tackle on day 1 or early day 2, because eventually they may let Taylor Decker walk (he's above average to solid, but not excellent) and move Sewell over to LT. We can have long discussion about Goff (we already have!), so taking a flyer on Hooker makes some sense.
#24 by David // May 01, 2023 - 3:12am
He was appropriately spendthrift in free agency
I think you mean that he was appropriately thrifty in free agency - that is, he didn't spend much. A spendthrift is one who spends a lot (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spendthrift)
#29 by Meaningful gam… // May 02, 2023 - 12:27pm
I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said. I'd like to add another thing that bothers me: In 3 years, Holmes has spent a first, 2 seconds, and 2 thirds on the front 4. Yes, that group needed a complete rebuild when he took over, but that's a lot of draft capital in 3 years. And is it now good? Well, it's definitely good enough if the back 7 were the strength of the D. But that's not the case, in part because the secondary has had a second and two thirds spent on it over 3 years despite the cupboard being even more bare there.
So in summary, the "buts" in "yes, but" are starting to appear: Drafting with little regard to positional value, spending a ton of capital on an area where previous results have been mixed. I'm still pro-Holmes, but after 2 years of not seeing any negatives, I'm starting to see the small foundational cracks that probably won't mean anything, but are worth keeping an eye on.
Don't get me wrong: The last time the Lions were this well run, my Dad was the same age that my son is now. I'm just saying I can now envision a mechanism (besides injury luck) where things start to fall apart.
#10 by ImNewAroundThe… // Apr 30, 2023 - 11:02am
I...don't really like it that much for either team.
Yeah Detroit made a mistake drafting Gibbs so high but now they don't have a decent RB3 (UDFA Greg Bell off IR, I guess). I mean if they were going to cut him, at least they got something but I don't think that would have been the correct course of action. Can you really have that much faith in 2nd year Bell off a hamstring injury?
For Philly, drop 30 spots back so you can give up a 4th for 1 year of a guy that regime never seemed to like? IDK if Swifts different enough from the trio of Penny/Gainwell/Scott to warrant such a trade.
#17 by Joey-Harringto… // Apr 30, 2023 - 3:20pm
Craig Reynolds will probably be RB3. He's a JAG as a runner/receiver, but a good special teams player.
I don't like the trade in a vacuum, but in the context of taking Gibbs and the fact they were probably going to cut Swift, I guess it's better than getting nothing for him. If it were me, I would have just left Swift finish out his rookie contract and let him walk.
#22 by ImNewAroundThe… // Apr 30, 2023 - 4:42pm
Yeah trusting a guy that's been on 4 different teams seems not great. Because
I mean if they were going to cut him, at least they got something but I don't think that would have been the correct course of action.
Swift has knowledge of the offense. Montgomery and Gibbs don't but they hope they get it quick. Sounds like I would agree with your plan of one more year and then walk. I mean he IS better than Craig Reynolds but not that much more expensive.
#13 by whocares4 // Apr 30, 2023 - 3:00pm
As someone who felt that Sanders was always leaving tons of yards on the field and never provided the explosive/home run threat ability he was supposed to have OR any value whatsoever in the passing game... I really like this.
Gainwell, Penny, Scott, Swift is great depth and looks like the kind of "a bunch of guys in the '350-700 yard season' range" that the Eagles seem to always be going for. I'm happy to see Sanders go (who also had a knack for fumbling at the absolute worst times) and thrilled they got a handful of high upside replacements for virtually zero cost.
Would it shock anyone if one of Penny/Swift struggled through injuries, the other one had 700 yards & Gainwell pushed 400 with Scott chipping in another 250-300? Throw in 500 yards and 7 TDs from Hurts. That's a reasonable expectation.
Upside version is: all avoid injury, Penny plays the role of workhorse back & pushes 1,000 yards, Swift is the change-up who gives them 400 yards recieving (and has a half dozen highlight reel runs), Gainwell does mo-up duty for another 300 yards & Scott comes in to give the Giants nightmares for 2 games. All with Hurts going for another 650+ yards & 10-12TDs.
They're just in a way better position than last year and for no money! (Plus, I'm excited to see backs like Swift & Penny, who have shown immense potential on iffy offenses, get the chance to run behind the best o-line in football.)
#21 by Joey-Harringto… // Apr 30, 2023 - 3:45pm
"Plus, I'm excited to see backs like Swift & Penny, who have shown immense potential on iffy offenses, get the chance to run behind the best o-line in football."
I wouldn't call the 5th ranked offense by DVOA, "iffy". And while the Lions line wasn't as good as the Eagles, they were definitely not slouches.
Swift at his best and healthy was electric. If you didn't watch football, and only his YouTube highlight reels, you'd think he was a top 5 skill player in the league. Unfortunately he has twice as many plays were he runs right into the back of his pulling guard, or cuts outside too early to turn a 15 yard gain into in 4 yard gain.
I still like the trade for the Eagles. A classic buy-low that might hit the jackpot (like you said, Swift won't have to carry the RB room).
#26 by whocares4 // May 01, 2023 - 4:15pm
Swift has been in the league 3 years and 2022 wasn't decisively his best year. Detroit was ranked 29th in 2021 (Swift's most productive year in conventional stats) and 16th in 2020 (his rookie year where he had a DVOA more or less equal to his 2022 season) I would say that all adds up to "iffy" offenses and showing potential in them.
Also, the player you're describing who doesn't follow blocks and leaves yards on the field sounds exactly like Miles Sanders... only Sanders has none of those highlight reel plays you mention. And again, Swift is a receiving threat - I'm not sure that non-Eagles fans understand that Sanders had a -40.4% DVOA in the passing game (on only 26 passes) and looked even worse. Swift's DVOA was basically 0% at a much higher volume (71 passes) so there's a huge amount of value in swapping them out.
What the Eagles have not had in the Sanders (and why I'm excited for Swift) is a real homerun/highlight reel threat who can break a defense with an unexpected big play. Throw in the recieving and Swift adds a truly meaningful dimension to an offense that was already fantastic.
To me, Swift looks like the player we all wanted Sanders to be (after it became clear abundantly clear he wasn't Shady 2.0) and at a fraction of the cost. I don't care how it affects the Lions (it certainly seems like the least of their bad moves) but it's perfect for the Eagles. Just perfect.
#27 by whocares4 // May 01, 2023 - 4:25pm
Last comment on the "iffy" thing and comparing the o-lines - Detroit was 14th in rushing DVOA (just the slightest hair negative) and Philadelphia was 1st by a decisive margin (nearly 5% higher DVOA than the #2 team). I'm sorry, but that is going from "iffy" to the best. There's a good chance he's going to be running behind a much better run-blocking unit than he ever has in his career. (Barring injury and the replacement for their worst o-lineman not being a bust.)
I'm not sure Detroit's o-line were slouches but there's really no comparison in run-blocking quality. Taking it back just one year to 2021, Detriot was 26th in rushing DVOA and Philadelphia 3rd. Let Detroit finish in the Top 10 in rushing DVOA once (they have not in recent memory) before really having this argument.
#28 by Joey-Harringto… // May 01, 2023 - 6:25pm
Thats....not how rushing DVOA works (having a running quarterback also skews rushing DVOA results). Adjusted line yards is probably a better measure.
If you prefer PFF, Philly is 1st, Detroit is 8th.
Again, I agree Philly's line was/is better, and there's a high probability Swift will see a bump in production, but the gulf is not as wide as you're suggesting.
#32 by whocares4 // May 08, 2023 - 5:28pm
Adjusted line yards in one of the DVOA stats in which I have almost zero faith & doesn't seem at all to measure what it is supposed to.
I agree on your other points which is why I'm not arguing "but look how much better Sanders' DVOA was than Swift's in terms of DVOA!" And again, I'm not only talking about 2022, I'm talking about his entire career (during most of which Detroit was iffy and he showed promise.) But I'm not forgetting about the rusing QB and I'm literally saying the opposite about "individual DVOA divorced from the team. That's why I say that I would be *shocked* if Philly's o-line plays the way it did the last few years & Swift's DVOA/production doesn't rise. But I would *also* be shocked if he had a DVOA higher than Sanders' from 2022.
Anyway, 1st vs. 8th when first is *decisively first* is a wide gulf. You're talking about the difference between KC's pass offense and Seattle's for example. I don't think anyone in the world would balk at saying "oh this WR leaving Seattle now gets to play in the KC offense, he's showed promise in that lesser offense & it's exciting to see what he'll do. He is moving to a pass offense that is a decisive step up." I know Detroit showed some promise after years of being truly terrible but let's not go nuts about their level of quality, especially in the run game (which again, was 14th in the league with almost exactly 0.0% DVOA)
And the aspect of their offense that was actually well above average (unlike their rushing offense) was their passing game... which again, this is part of why I'm excited for Swift: he contributed meaningfully to a pretty good passing offense!