Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

01 Mar 2007

Bly Traded To Broncos for Bell, Foster

Michael Smith is reporting that the Lions have traded Dre' Bly to the Broncos in exchange for Tatum Bell and George Foster. This would seemingly indicate that the Lions are really concerned about Kevin Jones' injury. If Foster and Jeff Backus are the tackles, does that also mean they won't be drafting Joe Thomas?

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 01 Mar 2007

131 comments, Last at 05 Mar 2007, 12:24am by Erasmus


by RH (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 4:05pm

The Calvin Johnson to Detroit dream lives!


by Francisco (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 4:13pm

So who's the third- or fourth-round pick that will be sharing time with Mike Bell this year? Seems unnatural for the Broncos to have just one back.

by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 4:18pm

Brady Quinn.

Bailey and Bly as the corners? Don't throw on the Broncos next year. Good trade for them.

by Otis Taylor '89 (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 4:18pm

It LOOKS like a trade that will benefit both teams - which means probably got screwed.

I remember years ago Pat Reily said his ideal team would be one of five, 6'9" guys who could run the floor, handle the ball and pass - maybe Matt Millen could try to play 11, 6'4", 220 lb WR's...

by Otis Taylor\'89 (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 4:20pm


I meant the Lions probably got screwed (damn typos!!).

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 4:20pm

Terrific deal, for the Broncos. Now if they can just get a defensive lineman or two that can rush the passer without forcing the entire team to blitz, they'll be in good shape.

This is a strange development for Joe Thomas though. Especially if the Raiders do what I think they're going to do and draft Calvin Johnson first, and the Lions have already said they won't draft a QB.

by langsty (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 4:21pm

that's a pretty scary set of corners denver has now. one story that i didn't hear much about this year was george foster getting benched, only seeing the field again when the scrub he was replaced with got injured. anyone know how he fell out of favor so fast?

by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 4:26pm

How about Detroit trading down to seven? Minnesota picks up Calvin Johnson, and the Lions get Okoye (maybe) and extra picks, which they really need.

by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 4:36pm

Basically, now the Portis-Bailey trade has netted for the Broncos Bly and Bailey for two replaceable RBs and one OT that had lost his starting job.

As for Foster, he never really fit the mold of the quick Denver OL, but still has potential in a scheme like Detroit's. Bell is a great change of pace back, but is not the best starter...a very reliable 2 back though.

The Broncos will use a middle round draft pick on a RB...or perhaps Lynch in the 1st round out of Cal if he's available, but do still need a beast pass rusher. Their O-Line will be fine, as they have several prototypical Broncos O-Linemen waiting in the wings, like Pears, Kuper, Myers, and Eslinger.

by Jesse (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 4:55pm

As a Broncos fan, my first reaction is that we ripped the Lions on this deal. I was never a huge Tatum Bell fan, and George Foster was benched for pretty much the second half of this season because he sucked. To get another Pro Bowl cornerback like that for those two is a great pickup. However, we still need someone that can rush the passer. Not even Champ Bailey can cover guys long enough for last year's d-line to get pressure on the QB. We also need a running back, but we needed one before we traded Bell.

by MRH (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 4:57pm

On the face of it, this looks like a great deal for the Broncos. They got a good cb, one of the hardest positions to fill, for two players at positions the Broncos typically rate as easily replaceable.

The only reason Bly was available, I think, was that Marinelli had soured on his attitude. The only way this trade backfires on the Broncos, IMO, is if (1) Bly really has a bad attitude, and (2) it infects the Broncos. Otherwise, as a Chiefs fan, this deal really sucks for me.

by Rob Zepeda (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 4:58pm

I have long held the belief that the Lions would be fools to pass on Quinn. Martz would love him in Detroit.

With getting the RB and Tackle in the trade, they are now set to take the QB and have him learn under Kitna for a year.

by langsty (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 5:02pm

i keep hearing the broncos mentioned wrt patrick kerney, so that's one possibility. why'd they draft foster anyway? was he their token attempt at using a 'hog' type big lineman?

by Kaveman (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 5:09pm

#9: Not to mention Adam Meadows, who was the guy who replaced Foster at RT for a short while. The thing about Foster that was troubling was his quickness; he was often beaten around the edge by a speed rushing end. Perhaps he will fit Detroit's scheme better; he certainly has talent.

I love the trade for the Broncos, but there's some things that concern...

Cooper Carlisle might be gone too which means the right side of the line will be new. Matt Lepsis is coming off a torn ACL and Tommy Nalen isn't getting any younger. I do hope they get it all sorted out in training camp. Cutler didn't really wow folks with his pocket awareness in those few games he played.

Tatum Bell gone... another Denver RB makes a G and is traded. Will it be Mike Bell and Cedric Cobbs? A draft pick? Another trade? Anyone's guess.

And Dre Bly... now where will opposing QBs throw the ball? Denver had bad numbers against RBs and TEs, a surprising thing because there is certainly speed and talent in the LB corps. There's a new linebackers coach now though, so perhaps that will help.

There's some young safeties on the squad, but I hope Denver goes after some fresh talent there. And of course, as everyone knows, all this leaves the D line and getting a proper pass rush.

But this is a really great way to start the new season. :-)

by NF (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 5:31pm

This trade should yield interesting fantasy outcomes. Will Mike Bell become the breakout fantasy RB of 2007? Will Tatum Bell fall flat outside Denver?

As far as the football nature of it, is Martz searching for another Marshall Faulk? Also, I think Dre Bly probably is over-rated as a top corner, but if the other guy is Bailey, then you could do far worse for you starting CB pair. The biggest reason that the Lions should not draft Calvin Johnson is that 1) Their QB threw 20+ interceptions last year, 2) their QB threw 20+ interceptions last year, and 3) their other QB has been more useful as a WR than at the other position he was brought in for. Also, Roy Williams is coming along, and Charles Rogers was a bust, but it is too early to give up on Mike Williams. Lastly, I don't think any degree of WR talent can effectively compensate for poor QB play, whatever the cause. SEE 2005 Oakland Raiders, 2006 Carolina Panthers with Chris Weinke starting, 2006 Seattle Seahawks, 2006 Dallas Cowboys with Drew Bledsoe.

by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 5:33pm

Denver ripped off the Lions big time. Holy crap.

Detroit didn't want Bly anymore, and Denver was in obvious need of a corner so the price tag on Bly ( the best player in the deal) was low.

The ironic thing is that T. Bell was the draft pick that was traded in the Redskins, Bailey and Bell ( 2nd round pick) for Portis deal.

George Foster is more of a mauler which isn't as required in the Denver zone blocking schemes. The guy was benched later in the year and was totally expendable for Denver.

Give the Bronocs front office credit for realizing RB's are "fungible" and they sent off a guy that wasn't even the solid starter. Mike Bell had his share of carries this year and was actually set to open the year as the opening day starter ( remember that fantasy players)?

It also reminds me of how Billy Beane will build up the value of say a closer, and then trade the guy when everybody else is so high on him. Denver builds up the value of the speedy but raw Bell, and then trades him.

The first thing this reminds me of is the old fantasy baseball/football trades where you send 2 average players for 1 good one. Denver sends a backup/ part time starting RB and a marginal/ back up starting RT and get a big play corner in return.

Denver now really has the option of being able to blitz a whole heck of a lot more with having 2 man/man corners and stud safety in John Lynch. I'll be shocked if the Broncos don't blitz more and in turn get a lot more sacks/turnovers. Remember, their defense was pretty stout early in the year last year and showed flashes.

Matt Millen is just plain foolish. The guy is joe freaking public in a luxary box. He gets rid of a rare NFL comodity ( a big play man/man corner) and gets an average lineman and a back who's production is enhanced by his team.

Congrats Denver, you ripped off the Redskins and another big bozo.

by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 5:35pm

I wish I could go back in time and trade baseball cards with Matt Millen. I'll give you these 3 bums for that Joe Dimaggio card matty. I mean I know Joe Dimaggio is better than these 3 guys, but your getting THREE cards matt, and 3 is more than 1.

by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 5:37pm

Maybe Denver drafts Chris Henrey ( 230 pounds, 4.3 40) out of Arizona in the mid/late rounds and has him run for 1300 yards and then trades him to washington for Sean Taylor, Santana Moss and Marcus Washington.

by D (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 5:37pm

So does this mean that the Broncos can finally hold the Colts to less than 40 points?

by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 5:37pm

Yet another proud day for Matt Millen. How does he spin his one to the Ford family? "Hey guys, I've just traded a pro-bowl corner for two players the Broncos didn't even want!"

Surely they could have received a better deal if they hadn't let everyone know that they didn't want Bly. However, it is possible that Foster will play better in a different scheme, he was always a little hefty for the Broncos.

You have to give the Broncos credit for the trades they keep making. Bailey and a 2nd for Portis, Javon Walker for a 2nd, Bly for two replacement level allstars and a 5th. Shanahan must be able to hypnotise people down the phone.

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 5:38pm


Trading down is always easier said than done. It's so expensive to move up, a lot of teams don't like doing it - particularly at the top of the draft, unless there's some player they feel they desperately need.

That said, I could see a team like the Bucs trading up with the Lions - it's closish so it doesn't cost a billion picks (Moving from 7 to 2 would cost the Vikings pretty much their entire draft, and their first rounder next year) to pick up Thomas.

by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 5:40pm

19: No

by Bill Barnwell :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 5:40pm

It also reminds me of how Billy Beane will build up the value of say a closer, and then trade the guy when everybody else is so high on him. Denver builds up the value of the speedy but raw Bell, and then trades him.

The first thing this reminds me of is the old fantasy baseball/football trades where you send 2 average players for 1 good one. Denver sends a backup/ part time starting RB and a marginal/ back up starting RT and get a big play corner in return.

I don't mean to pick on you, Chris, but this made me laugh so hard. Thank you.

You are actually 100% right on your points, though.

by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 5:48pm

I think the fact that teams don't want to trade up anymore has lowered the asking price. I wouldn't be surprised if the Lions got a 1st, 2nd, and a fourth or fifth. I don't think they'd get or expect 2 first rounders.

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 5:55pm

11: I wouldn't be surprised if Bly had a bad attitude entirely because he was stuck in Detroit.

I give credit to the Broncos for consistently getting good people in trades. Champ Bailey, Javon Walker, and Dre Bly is really an exceptional haul.

Oh, and if Detroit doesn't draft a total stud this year, I imagine they're totally screwed on defense.

by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 5:57pm

Bill, I added that into my long long post. My Bad. I'm here all day.

I can't get over this trade. Think of the possibilites this unleahes for Denver. Today's NFL is a zone defense league in light of the rule changes in the defensive backfield. Not many teams play man/man defense and it's because most teams don't even have the ability to play man/man defense. Not everybody could play man/man even before the illegal contact downfield rule.

Now wouldn't go so far as to say that Bly is a shut down corner because he's not, but he's a good corner, and when you combine that with Baliey, Denver might have the best corner tandom in the league. Those opposing QB's better be ready for the Blitz. Damon Huard, Andrew Walter and the young Phillip Rivers better watch out.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:03pm

I think that Bly is a little overrated in that he's a boom or bust corner, and pairing him with Bailey means that more balls will come in his direction. This could be interesting.

by MCS (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:05pm

11. MRH

As a Chiefs fan, why does this deal suck for you? All you guys do is hand the ball to LJ anyway.

by johnt (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:06pm

I think Bly is a little overrated. He's certainly one of the best #2 corners in the league now, but he really benefitted from the nonexistent expectations of the Detroit defense and the fact that on a defense loaded with bad players, why try to pick on the one who's pretty decent?

I think Detroit had no choice to dump him though because he was clearly becoming a locker room cancer (Yeah, good thing they dumped Joey, that really fixed things up like you said Dre). I doubt he'll keep that up around Coach Teflon, so maybe it's win-win.

by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:10pm

Re: Detroit next year.

if they can pick up a decent guard or two, their offense can be good. however, the defense is Ernie Sims and the 10 stiffs. That's why I think they need to trade down and just pile up defensive talent and maybe an olineman or two.

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:15pm

30: Shaun Rogers is still around unless he gets suspended again.

It's Ernie Sims, Shaun Rogers, and nine stiffs.

by james (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:16pm

trading with denver is like trading with jerry west in the nba..should never be done...you will always get had

by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:18pm

I hear New England needs a Wr and a LB.

I hear Matt Millen is thinking of Trading Ernie Simms and Roy Williams to Scott Pioli of the Patsies for some magic beans. Just a rumor.

by james (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:19pm

Denver is the football equivalent to the guy you never want your girlfriend to talk to in a bar

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:30pm

hoo boy a 1000 yard back and an offensive lineman for a corner that cannot tackle and is best suited for man to man coverage in a defense that is primarily zone and needs their corners to tackle. Of course Bly was also in his last year of his contract and was going to leave after 2007 anyway, but getting 3 players for him-plum iditotic...what is Detroit going to do for its Super Bowl run now?

But of course Millen made the trade so its stupid.....ho hum another day on footballoutsiders...

by mactbone (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:31pm

Just a reminder, man cover corners have a LOT less value for a Cover-2 defense. You can get Cover-2 corners about anywhere. What the Lions need to get the Cover-2 rolling is an edge rusher or two. They'll have the disruptive inside presence in Rogers and the speedy LB in Sims, the only thing left is to get the edge rusher/s for the consistent pass rush.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:32pm

Its actually Sims, Rogers, and Redding (the guy who had 8.5 sacks with no one else on the DL playing the Under Tackle position)...then 7.5 stiffs (perhaps Kenoy can still play...)

by Sifter (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:33pm

Am I the only one who doesn't think Detroit got ripped? Yeah, it's fun to bash Millen, but this isn't a BAD trade is it?

Some people are saying that the Lions would have received more in return for Bly if they hadn't publicized that they wanted to trade him. It's pretty hard to keep that quiet. What do you do - call Denver and say, we have a hypothetical CB, lets call him Mr B, how much would you trade for him? That's not going to work. His name has to be mentioned some time.

Both Foster and Bell are high draft picks that have only been on one team and who haven't achieved much so far. These are players that coaches love to try and turn around. Denver says these players are fungible, but wasn't Dre Bly fungible to Detroit as well? They didn't want him around, so they got at least something in return for him. Not only that, they were players at positions of need. They needed another body at RB covering KJs injury and they desperately needed some talent on the Oline and Foster might provide that.

So count me as uncool by saying that while I still prefer to get Dre Bly, Detroit could come out of this trade looking good too.

by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:34pm

I think the deal will be worth it for Denver if they are able to work out a contract with Bly. The only problem is that if Clements blows up the CB market value, Bly (and probably Asante Samuel too) will demand a similar contract, and be very tough to resign.

Also, Denver might sign Jamal Lewis on the cheap. They showed interest in him last year, if Denver can rehabilitate Ron Dayne the certain can do the same to J-Lew.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:35pm


shhh. do not tell anyone that-let them keep thinking the Lions got owned for trading away a 30 year old man to man corner on his last year of a contract for 2 actually NFL players and a draft pick.

by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:37pm

#33: Leader beans?

by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:38pm

Getting a top notch pass rush is easier said than done.

Remember, a Man/Man corner can play zone, but a zone corner can't play man/man. It's a hell of a lot harder to play somebody man/man, especially when Detroit's pass rush is a joke. You also don't have to advertise that you don't want Bly which will diminish his value for potential trades. Negotiations 101.

Also, you don't trade Dre Bly based on his value on YOUR team, you trade him based on his value to others. Just because Detroit had him in a lot of underneath zone, doesn't mean Denver will ( and pay him as such next year).

A man/man corner is a dying breed. Remember, Bly had 10 picks at UNC as a freshman and has been to Hawaii.

by mattman (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:39pm

Hasn't FO been saying that Bly was ill-suited to Marinelli's Tampa-2? And haven't they been saying Nick Harper is? If the Lions sign him, then they wind up with a better-suited corner and valuable RB depth when their top 2 guys (Jones and Calhoun) have major injury concerns. They also get a vet LT in Foster, which gives them options for the #2 pick - They can take still take Thomas, but they can also take Quinn or trade down to a team that wants Johnson or Quinn. If you look at part of the benefit of dealing Bly as clearing room for Harper, this starts to look like a clever move by the Lions. Which, since Millen is involved, it almost certainly wasn't.

by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:43pm


If you don't think it's a bad trade, then take a look at the upcoming free agency. Detroit could pick up those caliber players in FA and give up nothing in return.

On the other hand, you better open up your check book if you want to sign a good cornerback. Nate Clements is going to be rich very soon.

There are tons of good runningbacks out there, and plenty of starter/backup caliber lineman, but only so many good corners. Simple Economics says that Detroit got ripped off.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:44pm

Why wouldn't the Lions still draft Thomas if they don't trade the pick? Assuming CJ goes #1, who else would Millen take? I can't see either top-ranked QB play well in a Martz offense. Adrian Peterson would move into a very crowded backfield. I would guess the choice is either Thomas or Gaines Adams, either of which will help immensely.

Let's not forget just how poor the Lions O-Line was last year. Let's also not forget that George Foster is nowhere near as good at football than he was at baseball. Pencil Thomas in on the left, and let Foster and whomever compete for the starting job on the right. I don't think this trade alters their draft plans at all.

by PackMan (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:45pm

Denver shouldn't have a problem finding a RB in free agency, Green, Lewis, McGahee, Rhodes, Jones, and Brown could all be FA/trade bait.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:47pm

Bly had 10 picks as a freshman in college! Oh boy-nevermind Detroit got ripped on this deal.

In the Tampa 2, CBs are I would not say replaceable-since Tampa Bay and Chicago have good ones that are vets, but Bly did not fit the defense and he was going to leave in a year! What does it matter for Detroit-did you think that Bly was part of the next great Detroit team (I mean he has meant so much for us since he has gotten here...)

The going rate for corners is a 2nd rounder-Surtain, Al Harris, McKenzie-all got 2nd round picks...Detroit got 2 players and a draft pick.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:49pm


Where does big money Backus play now?

by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:50pm

Just because Bly can play man/man doesn't mean he can't play zone. He can play zone, and playing zone is easier.

He could have been ticked off because he was bored, and not utilizing all of his skills on a crappy team with bad management. Sort of like an all-around runningback on a team that doesn't throw him the ball. For example, Clinton Portis can catch, but the skins don't throw to him like they should.

Haven't most of us agreed that good management and good coaching utilize their schemes based around the current players they have, while bad and lesser coaches try and impliment THEIR scheme ( on offense or defense)?

Bly was probably pissed off that he had to chill in some zone while he could lock up the guy man/man and his team could get some much needed pressure on the opposing QB.

by turbohappy (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:52pm

I don't think this trade is bad for Detroit. Seems like a win-win. I think what makes Denver look awesome is that this was almost free for them from the Portis deal.

by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:54pm

Erasmus, I was pointing out the 10 picks in college to show that Bly has been a stand out basically his whole life in a position that is difficult to fill.

How did Bly not fit? If by not fitting you mean he was UNDER-used I would agree, if you mean that he couldn't play in the cover 2 I disagree.

Isn't it funny how a good player was being UNDER-used on a terrible terrible football team? And YES, I made up the word Under-used.

by PaulH (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:55pm

Call me crazy, but it seems like a pretty good deal for both teams.

Dre Bly is a pretty good corner, but he is not a guy who fits particularly well in a Tampa Two scheme, so he's gone. The Broncos now have almost without doubt the best cornerback combo in the league with Bailey and Bly. If they can't get any semblance of a pass rush, that is going to be one hell of a pass defense.

On the other hand, the Lions could definitely use Tatum Bell. Is he a great back? Probably not, although he does have a ton of raw ability. Still, Kevin Jones went down last year with the dreaded Lisfranc Sprain, and his status for the beginning of the 2007 season is in doubt. They obviously needed a quality back-up, which is something that they did not have in Arlen Harris. All told, Bell is a guy who can contribute in Denver.

Moreover, it's not right to be befuddled by the Lions trading for Foster, and moreover that should not muddy the waters for the Lions selecting Joe Thomas out of Wisconsin.

To begin with, Foster plays right tackle, and Thomas will play left tackle in the NFL. Obviously, that's no problem. The truth is, it's a good move. Just as you need to have good receivers, etc. when you take a top quarterback in order to get the full value out of the QB, you need to do the same with an offensive lineman when he is chosen. After all, what good does one great offensive linemen do you if he is surrounded by four offensive linemen? The end result will still be the same, you will have a crappy line. So, long story short, it's a good idea to try to add quality linemen to go along with Thomas.

Also, Foster played a lot in Denver, so he has experience. The truth is, though, he didn't fit in with the Denver scheme. He was actually a first round pick a few years back, and I couldn't understand it then. I mean here's a guy that is 6'5 and about 340 pounds, why in the world would he fit in with a scheme that requires smaller, more agile linemen? The point is, though, the guy has talent, and that's good news for the Lions. After all, they were second-to-last in rushing yards last year, and gave up more sacks than any other team in the league; a talent upgrade along the offensive line is a must. Adding Foster, and likely Thomas in a couple of months, helps out quite a bit on that front.

As for the Broncos, this could be a huge payoff next year. They didn't exactly suck this year, and next year is only looking better. Cutler should improve and have a solid year, and as mentioned earlier, that pass defense should be very good. According to FO, Denver ranked 10th in the league last year in pass defense, and adding Bly could easily put them in the top first.

Something else I do find interesting; the Broncos were, again according to FO, #1 in the league last year against opposing #1 wide receivers, and that was obviously due to the great year that Champ Bailey had. However, they were seventh against #2 wide receivers, which isn't bad to start with, and Bly should really improve that.

At the bare minimum, particularly with the turmoil in San Diego and the high number of soon to be Social Security recipients in Kansas City, this Broncos team should make the playoffs next year, and could go very deep into the playoffs.

I would like to close by saying, as I mentioned earlier, that I don't really feel this is a bad deal for either squad. Bly didn't fit well in Detroit's new scheme, Foster was benched in Denver, and the Broncos can always replace running backs. On the other hand, the Broncos needed a cornerback opposite Champ Bailey, while the Lions needed an addition to the offensive line and a quality back-up at tailback. Through this trade, both teams dumped players that were expendable, all the while addressing need positions on their respective rosters. Maybe it's just me, but that seems like a perfect example of a trade working out to the overall benefit of both teams. It should be understood that two teams can trade players and both teams can gain; it's not necessarily a fixed pie where one team can only gain the expense of the other.

by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:56pm

Champ Bailey, T. Bell and Dre Bly for Clinton Portis, T. Bell and George Foster... HMMMM

Some people might disagree who got ripped off on either of the deals, but you have to agree that Denver came out on top.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:58pm

Bly was pissed in 2005...not in 2006, the Lions figured they could get something for a 30 year old CB entering his last year (and about get 5.5 million dollars).

Bell makes less then a million dollars, please do tell where the Lions would get a 1000 yard back for less then a million dollars.

Foster is if anything OL depth making about 1 million.

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 6:59pm

It's hard to say whether the Lions got ripped off or not. On one hand, given Bly's situation, this is a good move for them.

On the other hand, they've got a marginal guy in Foster and a back who could succeed or simply pull an Olandis Gary. It lives or dies on whether Tatum can break the curse of the ex-Denver Broncos replaceable running back.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 7:00pm

It's not a bad trade for Detroit.

a) They got rid of Bly and got multiple players in return. The Lions need help everywhere, so anything they can do along those lines is a good idea, such as trading down.

b) Bly could be the best CB in league history and it would still have been a good trade. Yes, Bly did a very good job last season (#7 against WR1, keeping in mind the Lions are the rare team that matches up DB1 and WR1), but look at the rest of their defense: QBs simply threw to everyone else. If having a very good CB doesn't make enough of a difference, why invest that much money in one?

c) In case people haven't noticed, the Lions aren't exactly deep at RB.

So yes, if you look at it as good CB for backups, then it's a bad trade for most teams. But even if Bell and Foster are only backups, they're better than the Lions' current backups, and cheaper to boot.

I look at it as multiple players for a CB who helped to throw his QB under the bus.

Plus there's the Millen factor. Any move with any possible value at all should be celebrated.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 7:01pm

sure-if they lock up Dre Bly beyond this year.

He was not under-used....he could not tackle-which is important and he had a down year regardless (but compared to the crap next to him he looked good...)

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 7:06pm

the biggest thing for me is that Dre Bly was entering his last year and was going to leave regardless. We got something for him-Bly was not going to be on the next Lions 6 win team.

by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 7:08pm


Playing vs a top receiver in a zone is different than playing against a top receiver man/man. It's not even really worth mentioning.

I understand Bell doesn't cost a lot of money, but Denver could find another back to rush for 1000 for a cheap price tag.

by blahh (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 7:11pm

How did redskins bashing get into this conversation?

People are focusing too much on the colts defeat. The two san diego and the san francisco loss had running backs going wild on denver's front seven. They still need a d tackle.

by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 7:12pm

Chris-it doesn't matter to the Lions what Bly's value was as a man coverage corner, and the other 31 teams knew it.
At least they got some useful parts for him, which is more than they would have gotten if they hadn't made the trade.

by Ilanin (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 7:26pm

I don't think this is so bad for the Lions either, for the reasons Erasmus points out in #58. Bly was a UFA next year and clearly leaving Detroit (he really didn't fit into the Tampa-2 scheme, which amongst other things wants the CBs to be good in run support as the safeties are a long way back. Ronde Barber is the prototypical Tampa 2 corner. Dre Bly can't tackle). The Lions get some compensation for him this way.

I'm agreed with the Joe Thomas comments. Jeff Backus got a big money deal out of the Lions (god knows why) last year and now they've traded for another tackle. I also don't see them drafting Quinn (or Russell) when Mike Martz has a history of turning second day QBs into stars. Trading down - either with the Cardinals or the Vikings - seems like the thing if they can swing it.

by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 7:27pm


A players trade value is not determined by what he means to YOUR team, but what he means to OTHER teams.

For example, if SD wanted to trade Drew Brees before last year... They wouldn't say, we have a pro bowl caliber QB here but we can't play him so lets get ANYTHING for him in return because otherwise we wouldn't even use him.

If SD got a 5rd rounder for Brees ( let's say a safety or corner) to a team that needs a pro bowl caliber QB... I guess you COULD say that both teams got better, but in reality the Chargers got ripped off for unloading a PB QB for a 5th rounder.

Brees has a lot of value because of what he can to for trade suiters. He wouldn't have backup quarterback value because AJ Smith wants to play Phillip Rivers.

For that very reason, Detroit got ripped off because they gave away a rare Man/Man corner, for 2 average players.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 7:35pm

I agree trading Bly-who strength is man to man coverage does stink. But he was not going to help the Lions win anything, the team is not going to get better because we kept him one more year. Why not unload him for 2 young players who are average. The Lions did not just trade Bly to the 1st team that called them up-they assumedly traded him to the highest bidder (Redskins, Falcons, and Saints were also after him...)

Like I said before-the going rate for a Corner (if they are solid or not its up to the eye of the beholder) was a 2nd round pick (Surtain, Al Harris and a 4th round pick was traded for a 2nd rounder, McKenzie was traded for a 2nd rounder and J.T. O'Sullivan). Does that make this deal worse?

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 7:40pm

Minnesota has cut former Footballoutsider 2005 All-Pro corner Fred Smoot. He did not fit the Tampa 2 scheme either (funny how someone keeps saying that a man to man corner can play zone-its beginning to not look that way)...Minnesota got nothing for him..where are the threads bashing the Vikings.

by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 7:42pm

The points you are missing is leverage, and that the goal of the NFL franchises is to win the Super Bowl.

First of all, Brees is an interesting example since he didn't get traded.
Secondly, every other NFL GM knew that the Lions had to trade Dre Bly, because he was gone after the year, and the Lions couldn't keep him to make a Super Bowl run. This meant that the Lions had no leverage. It's impossible to get equal value without some leverage.
Thirdly, because Bly is a free agent after the season, his value is lessened.
If there wasn't a better trade to be made (and I'm assuming there wasn't) this was a smart move. Something is better than nothing.

by MJK (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 7:49pm

You only get ripped in a trade if it ends up hurting you, not if it ends up helping the other guy more (unless the other guy is in your division, maybe).

If my car breaks down, and I go to a mechanic, we both win. I get my car fixed, and the mechanic gets work and makes some money. Did anyone get ripped? Without the mechanic, I'm walking to work, so not entering the transaction hurts me a lot. Without my business, the mechanic has other customers, so not entering the transaction only hurts him a little. Hence, entering the transaction is of more value to me. Does that mean that I ripped off the mechanic? Does that mean that he shouldn't fix my car? Only if he's a really petty, vindictive mechanic who doesn't like me for some reason.

Similary, even if the Broncos get more benefit from the trade, does that mean that the Lions shouldn't have done it? Of course not, if it benefitted them as well.

From what Lions fans are saying here, Bly wasn't helping the Lions a whole lot, and was only going to be with them for a year more, so losing him doesn't hurt them that much, and they get two players at areas of need. Unless both players are busts, the trade probably benefitted them, at least a little.

On the other hand, the Broncos lose two players that are almost certainly easily replaceable, and get to assemble a very good pair of corners. Sounds like they benefitted, too.

So now the only question is, does benefitting a potential rival outweigh the benefits to oneself? Since the two teams play in different conferences, probably not.

It doesn't matter if Bly has more value to a neutral observer than Bell and Foster. It matters whether Bly has more value to the Broncos than Bell and Foster, and whether Bell and Foster have more value to the Lions than Bly. Sounds like that's probably the case, assuming none of them are total busts.

by James C (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 8:14pm

The Lions definitely got ripped, without that corner they have thrown away their shot at a Superbowl next year.

Bly should never have made the Pro Bowl. He had a few picks, but always gave up as many big plays as he made, and as people have noted he can't tackle. I would say that he could play man coverage pretty well, but is a bit of a liability in a zone. As far as I am able to tell his most developed skill is blaming other people for every play the offense makes against him. Every time I see the guy play he spends most of the time pointing his finger at other players in his team. Even if it wasn't his fault why show the other team that there is a problem in the defense, not a way to show leadership.

by cjfarls (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 8:17pm

My one concern as a Broncos fan on this trade is the salary-cap implications... we still need a stud Def-Lineman, reagrdless of who we line up opposite Champ. I could see Bly being a one-year rental player... but if we can find a D-Line somewhere (G.Warren revert to 2005 form?) our Defense should be great. A good deal for us, because we could be "one player" away from a superbowl run.

I also don't think Detroit got too ripped... they got 2 young & serviceable players plus a late pick for one year of a very good player... for a franchise needing help in a lot of places, that's not a bad haul.

by MC2 (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 9:52pm

As has been pointed out, the going rate for a CB seems to be a 2nd round pick. With a 2nd round pick, you can reasonably expect to get at least a mediocre starter (Millen jokes aside). So, if either Bell and/or Foster ends up starting (or if they both make significant contributions as part-time players), then the deal can be deemed a success.

As far as the questions about Bly's attitude, many people had similar questions when the Patriots acquired Corey Dillon, and that obviously worked out fine. In other words, winning tends to breed good chemistry, not the other way around.

by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 9:52pm

Hmm, one point:

"A players trade value is not determined by what he means to YOUR team, but what he means to OTHER teams."

"I understand Bell doesn’t cost a lot of money, but Denver could find another back to rush for 1000 for a cheap price tag."

Shouldn't it be how much Bell is valued by other teams (the Lions) not how easy it will be for the Broncos to replace him?

Really you don't make trades based on either criteria (value to you or value to others); you trade if you think the transaction helps your team, and you do not trade if it doesn't. Maybe you've heard of the "ultimate game," (TMQ actually had a column about this a few months ago that got discussed here) where the players are supposed to accept an unfair offer, because the alternative is nothing. The Lions would be foolish not to take the trade, regardless of Bly's value to the Broncos, because they can get more value than he has to them.

We could criticize if we think that the Lions could have gotten more for Bly, but I am extremely skeptical of that claim. As others have pointed out, corners are only worth 2nd rounders, so a couple of decent players isn't a bad pickup.

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 9:59pm

Lions had three great players last year, Shaun Rogers (injured), Roy Williams, and Bly.

True, losing him didn't hurt the Lions given that they're trying to build for the future and Bly would have been gone after this year, so the Lions came out on top, but lets not pretend that Denver didn't give up two fairly average players for a very good one.

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 10:00pm

i.e. relative to their own situations, they both came out benefiting greatly from the trade.

by Derek (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 10:02pm

It seems that the 5th round pick Detroit is rumored to be receiving is being largely ignored. Who know if if will turn out to be worth anything with Millen drafting but Dawan Landry, Omar Gaither, and Trent Cole have been picked in the 5th round in the last 2 years (On a side note, nice job Eagles). More possible depth for the Lions which is certainly needed.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 10:10pm

Thats because Millen has not drafted a single player worth a damn on the 2nd day of the draft yet (Terrence Holt and we hope one day Alex Lewis and Jonathan Scott)...other then that nothing.

by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 10:24pm

As a Lions fan, I was pleasantly surprised by the haul we got for Bly, considering Detroit's complete lack of leverage.

Foster was a former first-rounder, and T-Bell was a former second-rounder, and I don't think either can be considered a total bust (although Foster definitely didn't fit the Broncos' system). I was hoping for a second-round pick for Bly at best, and I think this is waaaay better for the Lions.

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 12:18am

#76- Joey Harrington and Charlie " human pipe cleaner" Rodgers were 1st round picks also, do you want them?

The same people that are saying this trade was " fair for both sides" are the same people that were saying the Bailey, 2nd rounder for Portis were a fair swap that would make both sides better.

I see no evidence that says that Bly can't play in zone. He can play BOTH man/man and zone. The Lions weren't fully using him because they are dead set on playing a cover 2 that wouldn't utilize Bly and his ever rare ability to play m/m.

Ideally a trade is supposed to benefit both sides ( that's why they make the trade in the first place, and I agree that trading is not always a zero-sum game but there are outrageous instances of 1 team ripping off another team.

When Detroit gets a rare corner ( which has a high value), for a fungible raw RB and a back up offensive lineman you have to say the Broncos came out on top.

I think some of you guys are confusing the fact that Detroit got SOMETHING in return instead of nothing if Bly walks in a year. The Lions did NOT get equal value for their good corner when they got 2 mediocre players in return. Their former draft status ( late 1st and 2nd round pick) has nothing to do with their play. Once you get into the league it doesn't matter. There have been plenty of 1st round busts and plenty of late round suprises.

by Eddo (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 12:39am

77: You're right, in a simplistic sense. If the trade were made from scratch (the only players on expansion teams or something), then yes, the Broncos got the better player. However, this trade did not happen in a vacuum. The Broncos can win now and needed a #2 corner, so the trade definitely helped them. The Lions need to build for the future and improve their o-line and running game, so the trade also helped them.
I think what most people here are trying to say is that you can't simply judge a trade by saying "who got the better side of the deal?" You have to look at it from both teams' perspectives, and if they received something of reasonable market value for what they gave up.

by Jesse (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 12:47am

Perhaps Dre' Bly's horrible tackling could be helped somewhat by being on the same team as Champ Bailey. Bailey is a better tackler than many safeties and some linebackers, and perhaps he can tutor Bly a bit and get him up to scratch.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 1:47am

I think some people are overrating Bly a little bit as well. This was his first season ever as a Lion playing a full season-he has always nicked up. He had a habit of going for the big play with bad results. He cannot tackle. He is good at covering man to man. But we are not talking about Champ Bailey in his prime like Washington traded away-we are talking about a 30 year old corner...

Remember when everyone roasted Millen for signing Bly in the first place....

by dje (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 2:35am

Bailey/Bly reminds me of another corner duo from a few years back: Haynes/Hayes. (Worked out pretty well for the Raiders.)

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 3:01am

"would say that he could play man coverage pretty well, but is a bit of a liability in a zone."

Bly isnt a liability in Zone.

Man coverage is about the corner. Zone coverage is about the entire secondary. Bly looks so bad in Zone because that entire secondary sucks.

Watch some lions tape, 90 percent of the time Bly gets blown out in Zone its not his fault, its the safety blowing his assignment.

by hooper (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 4:03am

Odd that nobody's mentioned the new D-coordinator yet. Every projection seems to think that Jim Bates will run a better defense than last year's version. It might be possible that he sees something in the existing unit that can be made much more workable.

IIRC, the Broncos tended to look pretty good on defense early in the games, then get worse and worse as teams figured out the one play that they ran.

Either way, the loss of Williams did mean that the Broncos had a big need at CB. No matter how suspect the rest of the D may actually be, this was the top need to fill.

by James C (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 6:38am

Rich Conley, #82

Why in God's name would I keep Detroit Lions tape? ;)

I stand by my comment about Bly in a zone, the rest of the secondary may not have been stellar, but he has had Kennoy Kennedy next to him the last two years who is OK. His problem in zone coverage is related to his problem in man coverage, he simply isn't patient enough and trys too hard to make the play. Sometimes his gambles pay off, but if you blow a zone there often isn't a lot of cover behind you.

by James C (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 6:53am


I agree with you about the Jim Bates scheme. Now they have the corners to man up on the outside they should be able seriously restrict opposing wideouts. They will need to make sure that they get another edge rusher, and maybe another space eater at tackle, but it should be possible in the draft. The beauty of Bates' scheme is that you don't need many two way players. It is a lot easier to find guys in the draft who have one skill than a lot of skills.

by Kaveman (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 9:39am

I don't agree with Chris about this being a bad trade for the Lions.

Tatum Bell is a very good change-of-pace back; he had 900+ yards two years ago getting six to ten carries a game and a thousand last year, despite missing a few games and running with bad turf toe for a few others.

George Foster was a 1st round pick and started for three years on one of the better O-lines in the league. He's not quick enough for the Broncos' zone-blocking scheme, but he could be very good in a different scheme.

Whether Millen makes good use of the fifth round pick or not, it has value.

And on the other side, Dre Bly is certainly a very good corner and playing with Champ is going to make him better. But he's 30, his contract has a year left on it and the Broncos don't have much cap space.

I don't see any one-sidedness here. And before we go raving about the Broncos' personnel moves, let's see what happens with Jake Plummer.

On another note, while I'm happy we got Bly, I don't see why folks seem to think CB was such a position of need. Domonique Foxworth played very well last year when he subbed for an injured Darrent Williams. Karl Paymah has been developing, in the wings. Our safety situation worries me far more than CB did... Lynch is a great fourth linebacker, but he has no range any more. Ferguson is 33 and coming back from torn meniscus in his knee. Sam Brandon torn an ACL, which takes a while to recover from. And as backups we have folks like Hamza Abdullah, Curome Cox and Steve Cargile, not exactly household names.

But yeah, we need to hit on a monster DE in the draft. If that happens, this can be an incredible defense.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 10:06am

As far as the questions about In other words, winning tends to breed good chemistry, not the other way around.

Speaking of Dillon, I think this paves his way to Denver. I'm sure the success other RBs have had in Denver has to open his eyes some.

I still think Detroit has to draft Thomas. Let's not confuse "Big Money Backus" with "Big Talent Backus", whom to my knowledge does not exist. If you have a chance to draft somebody who will instantly be the best lineman on your team, you should do it. There's no reason why Foster or Backus both have to be starters. If it makes Millen uncomfortable to have one of those guys on the bench, I'm sure he can flip Foster in a draft-day trade.
But I don't think having a decent backup tackle is a bad problem to have.

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 10:48am

All you guys that say it was good for Detroit based on money are off, Detroit has what, over 30 mil in cap room?

#86-, sure Tatum Bell and George Foster have value, I am not going to argue that. What I am saying is that they aren't any special talents.

What if you were playing fantasy baseball and somebody offered you two 5/10 players from average positions for an 8/10 player at a difficult position? Not only that. Then throw in the fact that the waiver wire is loaded with players at the average positions. If Detroit wanted, they could sign BETTER players than Bell in free agency without having to give up anything besides cash.

For Denver, there is really on one player in free agency equal to better than Bly and that is Clements. I guess you could bring up Smoot as well, but he isn't as good as bly.

#82 is right. Bly is not a liability in zone, that whole defense stinks. Bly isn't having all of his talents used on a bad team and he's pissed off. You can call it Corey Dillon syndrome or Clinton Portis syndrome.

If Portis can run AND catch, but they don't throw him the ball and his offense stinks, don't be suprised when he wants to catch more passes.

It's like Bly is a varsity player, playing on JV and he isn't allowed to show case his skills.

by MRH (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 11:20am

Re #67 - if Jiffy Lube will change your oil for $30 and your mechanic changes it for $1000, you got ripped off. It doesn't matter that your car is better off with the oil change. If your mechanic charges you $40 but is more convenient, faster, or you get personal satisfaction from supporting a small businessman vs. a large chain, then it's harder to compare value (instead of price).

If DET could have gotten a lot more for Bly from another team, the got ripped off even if Thomas, Bell, and a 5th improve their team relative to what Bly would have contributed. If they got close to what other teams would have paid in talent but gained other less tangible benefits, then the trade may have been fair - or the Lions may have come out ahead. If they got more than the other teams wwould have paid, then they made a good deal.

My gut reaction is that could have gotten more.

Given the proven dismal record of the Lions (personified by Matt Millen) in almost all personnel decisions in the last several years, it is very hard to give the Lions the benefit of the doubt.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 11:34am


lets go through this one more time:

Bly is 30, has been a Lion for a few seasons and has been one of our better players. We now play the Tampa 2. Bly did OK in it last season, but it clearly did not fit him as well as say playing straight man to man. He had 1 more year on his contract and he was bolting elsewhere. The Lions allowed him to look for a trade. We got 2 young cheap players and a draft pick for a guy who was going to leave anyway, did not fit our defense, and was in no way going to help Detroit win more games next season regardless.

Could we have gotten more? Uh well the going rate for a good corner was a 2nd rounder..I am not sure what else more people are looking for...

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 11:37am

If you have Brees and Rivers you can't play them both. Let's say the trade value on Brees is higher because he was once a pro bowler so he has more trade value. Mr. Smith decides that Rivers, though unproven, has about the same value as Brees so he decides to trade the higher valued Brees ( in the eyes of other teams that can't watch practices etc.) and keep the good but unproven rivers.

According to some people here, if AJ Smith would have got ANYTHING for Brees the trade would have benefited both teams because Brees wouldn't have played anyway, so you might as well add SOMETHING.

So if Brees was traded for a backup DT, that worked in on a rotation, some people are saying that the trade would " benefit both sides", because they are improving their team.

I know I am trying to point out an extreme here, but the Lions didn't get value for Bly. There is a super shortage of corners that can play man, and there are a lot of players ( even in FA) that are Bell and Foster caliber.

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 11:44am

Erasmus, so was Bly one of your better players or was he OK?

He wasn't being utilized to his potential in that cookie cutter over hyped cover 2 defense.

Who cares of Bell was cheap, the Lions have so much money they could have signed and over paid Adalis Thomas AND Nate Clements and still had at least 10 mil left over.

They signed Tatum Bell but D. Rhodes is a simlar caliber player with CHAMPIONSHIP experience that they could have just signed and given up nothing. I say SB experience because I am sure Matt Millen loves that as if the player is a new man after he plays in a SB.

They could have signed say Rhodes and a hand full of lineman and given up nothing, and KEPT one of the better corners in the league. THAT is my point.

In fantasy sports, why would you trade a rare commodity for the caliber of players that you could just sign on the waiver wire? I know the NFL isn't fantasy football but it illistrates the point. It's not like there aren't any Tatum Bells or George Fosters in free agency.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 12:26pm

Hahahahahahaha, D. Rhodes is as good as Bell. Wait, you think he's better because he has "Championship Experience." OMG, that's priceless. Thanks for the laugh!

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 12:37pm

No no no, Rhodes and Bell are similar caliber players. I was joking that Matt Millen would like him because of his " championship experience".

If you could get Rhodes for nothing, or Bell and Foster for one of your few good players, it's a no brainer.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 12:57pm

They could have signed say Rhodes and a hand full of lineman and given up nothing, and KEPT one of the better corners in the league. THAT is my point.

I do think the Lions got ripped off. But I do think they should've traded Bly. The team needs a major rebuild, and they need a slew of players more than they need Bly.

I think the Lions are going to be very, very active this year in free agency. Just not for the major players. I'm betting the Lions look a lot different next year. Not good yet, but mediocre. And man that'd be an improvement.

by JeffS (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 1:00pm

Just to clarify - the deal appears to be Bly and a sixth round pick for Bell, Foster and a fifth round pick - so in a sense, it's not really a 3 for 1 - which makes me love the fact that Millen is still a GM -

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 1:02pm

Wow, okay, that really is a crap deal.

by hooper (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 1:04pm

From the Broncos end, you would have to assume that Bly will play against the #2 receivers. With the exception of the Colts, this will usually mean that Bly will be lining up against lesser talent than when he was in Detroit.

With a defensive scheme that appears to suit his talents better, an (assumedly) lower caliber of 1-on-1 opposition, and 2 games against the Raiders, I would guess that Bly will have a markedly better year than last.

Since Foster was not a great fit for the Denver line, and assuming the Broncos continue to succeed with the "RB-of-the-month" club, I don't think it's unreasonable for the Broncos to appear like winners in this deal.

From the Detroit end: It's not a patently BAD deal. If it were, then there'd be a lot more consensus about it. However, I would be unwilling to guess how this will look by season's end. Given the track record, Detroit could make the deal of the century and look worse for it after 16 games. One bright note: at least they get up to 3 players for 1. If Bly is injured, the Broncos are out of luck. If Bell is injured, at least the Lions have Foster to show for the trade. (Hey, I'm TRYING to be nice to Millen...)

by Joe T (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 1:12pm

Now looks like Denver is dealing Plummer to TB for a pick. Assuming they'll pick up a RB here, or deal or sign a RB. Jamal Lewis is on the market, I think you could plug him right in. Supposedly the Bears are working to deal Thomas Jones as well.

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 1:23pm

Remember when the Bailey/2nd round pick was traded for Portis?

People were saying that it was a good deal that would benefit both teams. The Redskins woudl give Gibbs that top notch back for Gibbs rushing offense, and theh Broncos would get that top notch corner that would help them beat Manning in the playoffs?

If people learned anything it is that everybody needs a corner, and there is a plethera of good runningbacks on there. Not only that, but the Broncos replaced Portis with that pick.

A top notch corner is worth more than a top notch RB no questions asked.

Outside of Quarterback, CORNER is the hardest position to play in football.

You have these beat receivers who have track speed, linebacker strength and great schemes behind them.

You have to either be even more athletic than them, or a master of reading your keys. It is the hardest position to play well outside of QB.

Getting a good corner is a lot more important than getting a backup lineman/starter and a decent runningback.

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 1:28pm

Wow, look at all the free agent running backs on the market. Some as good as Tatum Bell, and some better. It's not like the Lions don't have any FA money to spend.

They could have tried to trade with Buffalo for Willis ( because clements will leave that void). Who knows what offer Barfalo had on the table.

My point is that there were FAs out there that were better than Bell and Foster, and Detroit could have signed them outright.

by RobM (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 1:44pm

We didn't really need another CB, but that's a hell of a deal and Baily and Bly together is going to give QB fits.

What I'd really like to see us to do next is sign up Willis McGahee to replace Bell.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 1:50pm

Oh, and I would just like to say: Denver is the smartest front office in football. Bar none. It's just ridiculous how frequently they screw other teams around free agency/draft time. There's a reason the team's been constantly better than average for like a decade or so.

by doktarr (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 2:39pm

I think that the general consensus is that Denver definitely made a smart move by unloading a player who doesn't fit their system (Foster) and a player at a position they have a track record of being able to replace (Bell). In return they filled a pressing need at a position they struggle to develop players for.

To a degree, the same is true for Detroit. Having Bly for one more year is not very useful to them, as they are not going anywhere in 2007. They got a couple pieces they needed as well.

So, in my opinion this is clearly a mutually beneficial deal. However, that STILL doesn't mean that this was a smart deal for the Lions.

For argument's sake, let's create a unit called "value points". Say Bly was worth 100 value points to Detroit if they didn't trade him. Let's say Foster and Bell and the pick are worth 120 value points to them. So the trade is +20 for Detroit.

On the other hand, though, Foster and Bell and the pick were worth 80 points to Denver, and Bly is worh 250. +170 for Denver.

Two further points on this:

1) Even if Denver and Detroit are the only teams interested in each others' players, Detroit still probably could have gotten a higher pick thrown in. If you agree with my "value points" assignment above, there was 190 points of "surplus value" in this deal, and Denver managed to get almost 90% of it.

2) The idea that Detroit would have trouble trading Bly just doesn't fly, even if everyone knows they are looking to unload him. As long as there are multiple teams interested and they are not facing a tight time constraint, they still have a rare commodity (cover corner) and should be able to get most of the "surplus value" in the deal.

If I were Matt Millen, I would have talked to Denver, but I would ALSO talk to San Diego, and New Orleans, and Cincinatti, and the Giants, and the Redskins. Keep working the phones, try to initiate a bidding war. It doesn't matter how much the Lions (don't) want him - all that matters is who wants him the most.

In conclusion - good trade for both teams, in isolation. Bad trade for Detroit, given my expectation of the alternatives they had.

by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 2:50pm

Giving up the 6th rounder does reduce the value of the trade quite a bit, but I'm still not ready to condemn it.

Mostly, I don't think we have enough information to judge it, because it's a matter of how the offer compares to those provided by other teams. Without knowledge of the other offers (or other potential offers, if the Lions had asked for them) we have no way of knowing if it was the best possible deal or not, and we never will. The comparison that has been offered here is a second rounder, and I think that Bell/Foster might be worth that, if only because they were themselves 2nd and 1st round picks.

Chris, I understand what you're saying; an interesting running back is way less valuable than a proven commodity solid CB. That doesn't really matter, if the alternative was to keep Bly for another pointless year in a scheme that doesn't suit him (because, and I know this is a shocker, playing man doesn't mean you can play zone. For one thing, you have to tackle in the cover-2.), or to take an even lesser trade. The point others have tried to make is that we're really only talking about one year of Bly's services before he goes to free agency (maybe he'll re-sign for the Broncos, maybe not... depends on cap, performance, demand for CBs in the league, etc.), so it's not as if we're discussing Champ in his prime with 3 years left. The Lions had to deal him to whoever would take him this year, and if the Broncos provided the best offer, that's all there is to it.

The reason the JiffyLube example doesn't work is that there are a million places to change your oil. Hell, you can do it yourself. Thus, 1,000 is an unreasonable price because you could take it elsewhere, even if you both benefited from the transaction. If there's only one shop in town, or 1000 is for whatever reason the lowest price available, then you don't get "ripped off" by taking it. You are acting the way you must.

I'm not sure what value the Brees/Rivers situation provides us as an example. The Chargers got nothing for Brees, and let him go in free agency after franchising him. Should the Chargers have traded him? Maybe, but I doubt you'd get much for him, because everybody knows that you can't keep both of those QBs on the roster forever.

If anything, the Brees example illustrates how difficult it is to pull off a trade in the NFL at all, and especially to get fair value for a player people know is unhappy. Randy Moss fetched a first rounder and a mediocre young LB (Napoleon Harris). Steve McNair (he plays QB!) fetched a 3rd (or 4th). Daunte Culpepper got a 2nd. Joey Harrington got a 5th (or 6th).

So what are we really expecting the Lions to get? Maybe not having to give up the sixth, I guess?

by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 2:59pm

104: Um, okay... you made up numbers that make it look like Denver benefited so much more that they assuredly would've given up higher picks if the Lions had pushed them. What if Bly is really only worth 150 to the Broncos (1.5x as valuable as he is to the Lions, still a huge leap), so they only benefit +70, instead of +20? So maybe it should've been a fourth? As I mentioned before, how often do teams ever get more than 50 cents on the dollar for an unhappy player?

by Maurice Clarett (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 3:01pm

"Oh, and I would just like to say: Denver is the smartest front office in football."

I wouldn't go that far. Remember, this is the team that wasted a third-round draft pick on me.

by Mike D (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 3:08pm

Latest word is Plummer is going to retire rather than go to TB so there goes that 4th-round pick for DEN.

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 3:33pm

104- Speaking of value points, why would you trade for a 5 RB and a 5 RT when there are a bunch of 5's, 6s and 7s that are available and other tackles who are available.

If somebody wants to trade you a 5 and a 5 in fantasy football for say an 8 or a 9 and they tell you it's a good deal they aren't lying ( it is a good deal to them). The reason is because there is limited space.

I'd rather have the 8 or 9 and pick up a 5 in free agency, than have two 5's. Throw in the fact that corner is the harder position and it's not even an argument.

Every corner has to be able to tackle. Football isn't some dumb system game where a guy that plays on a cover 2 defense for a few years is ignorant to other schemes.

I repeat, Bly picked off 10 balls as a freshman in college. How many other players EVER pick off 10 balls? The guy has won a SB and been to the pro bowl.

To say he can't defend a square in a cover 2 is foolish.

by Dogmatic MakeUpCrap Boy (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 3:37pm

Chris...this is my turf. Back off.

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 3:39pm

I also love how everybody doesn't say much when these trades happen, but then a few years later when the results are obvious they say things like " Matt Millen is an idiot, or the redskins were dumb for making that trade".

NOW everybody sees that the Champ Bailey trade was foolish for washington, but when it went down people had that same middle ground tone of " this helps both franchises".

If you have a dollar bill to buy some candy from the vending machine, and it won't accept your dollar bill.

You decide to trade your bill for change, but your stingy coworker will only trade you the 75 cents you need for your dollar bill.

Now you can say that both sides benefited, in that you got your candy, and he got more money, but if you keep making stupid value trades like that over and over, your going to end up poor.

Sure, you were desperate for your candy fix, and somebody else benefited. People will understand why you gave away that .25 cents but you did lose value in that trade.

Detroit lost value, especially when they could have added those caliber players in Free agencey anyway.

by OMO (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 3:52pm

Al Worley. Washington. 14 Ints. Pro Career? Didn't have one.

George Shaw. Oregon. 13 Ints. Pro Career? Pretty good one. AS A QUARTERBACK.

Chris. If you have to use college statistics to back up your paper thin rationale when discussing an 8-year NFL veteran...it should tell you something.

by Deion Sanders (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 4:30pm

Every corner has to be able to tackle.

Damn straight. I had nine in my career.

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 4:33pm

112- hOMO your a joke.

by JeffS (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 4:37pm

Anybody else notice that Foxsports hasn't listed the Bly-Foster,Bell trade at all on their website. Really makes me wonder about their coverage these days...

by jds (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 5:05pm

There is a rule of thumb in baseball for multi-player trades. Whoever got the best player in the deal, "won" the trade.

But I don't need to resort to an analogy to baseball to know who won this trade; ESPN Insider leads with this:

"For potentially the first time since taking over as general manager of the Detroit Lions, Matt Millen will be getting the last laugh this week. Millen's tenure has been filled with bad draft choices and poor decisions, but when he was able to trade cornerback Dré Bly to the Denver Broncos, he pulled off one of the biggest moves in his time as GM. "

by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 5:20pm

Chris, first of all this isn't Bailey/Portis. Entirely different circumstances. And I'm not sure why you are accusing us of supporting it.

Also, average players do not grow on trees. An average player is a valuable commodity, especially when comparing him to the rest of the Lions roster.

I know you're disappointed that Bly won't be on the next great Lions team, but at least they got something for him. If there was a better deal to be had, this was a bad trade. If not, it was a good trade. The point is, neither of us knows whether there was a better deal to be had.

by OMO (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 5:37pm


Aren't the ESPN message boards missing you about now?

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 5:57pm


The funniest thing of all is that you paid money for ESPN Insider, LMAO.

117, average Running backs and lineman grow on trees, but good corners don't.

by doktarr (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 5:58pm

Peter L #106,

You are absolutely, 100% right that the points I assigned were pulled out of my ass. I was much more interested in getting across:

1) The idea of players having different values to different teams, such that trades that are "good for both teams" can still be better for one or the other depending on who collects more of the surplus value.

2) Why I think that even if this deal is good for Detroit, they could have made a better one if they had taken their time and shopped around more.

I'd be fine with saying that Bly is only 150 for the Broncos, so they only got 77% of the value in the deal. That doesn't change my point very much.

But again, I disagree with the notion that teams rarely "get more than 50 cents on the dollar for an unhappy player". If the player is generally regarded as a bad seed (see: TO) then the player is worth less than their stats would suggest. If the player simply needs a change of scenery, and the team is not rushed in making a deal, they can usually get good value.

by passerby (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 6:29pm

Denver has the best front office. They traded away a commodity or two and got back a shut down corner. Last year, they did some draft dealing and eventually got 2 first round draft picks. The year before that (or earlier), they traded away another commodity to get a shut down corner in his prime and a pick. Now they have the best set of corners and a QB for the future for very much nothing.

I don’t like the Broncos. But they amaze me.

by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 7:21pm

Well, typically I would think that a discussion should be over when someone calls an opponent a "homo," but I'm going to press on anyway because I'm apparently an idiot.

Here's a quick thing to think about, Chris... the NFL isn't like fantasy football or baseball. You have only 11 defensive starters, true, but backups can play a lot, and can be subbed in for certain situations. A lot of teams enjoy having a group of 6's rather than one 9 and a few 3's; that's the whole idea behind the "RB by committee" plan. I'm not sure the free agent market really would have that many players of Bell/Foster's caliber available, which is another one of your oft-repeated points. It's not like the Lions get to go first, and then the rest of the teams fight for scraps. They might end up overpaying for players that way, or not get ones they really like.

120: I wasn't meaning to mock your idea entirely, I see where you were going with it. I just think that we're being arbitrary by declaring that the Broncos would/could have given more. I mean, maybe you're right, maybe if Millen had really hardballed, grabbed the Broncos GM by the shirt and said, "dammit man, give me a third!" then they'd have caved. But maybe they never would have, and Millen got the best that even ROBO-GM could have, in which case it's a good deal. Do we have a reason to think that Millen didn't work the phones (other than his general history of ineptitude, which I cede)? Maybe they were trying to move Bly for the entire season, and this is the best they could do.

I suppose there must be some examples of fair trades of discontented players, but I think most of the time you don't get what they're worth on the field because you don't have leverage. It's not just that a player has to be a "bad seed" like T.O., it's just any player that the whole league KNOWS is not staying with the club, like Bly, Harrington, or whoever. It seems to me that there is a very small chance that the Lions were going to get more than a 2nd round pick value for Bly under the best of circumstances, which this was not.

by doktarr (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 8:16pm

It's a question of whether there are multiple teams interested or not. If enough teams want the guy, it doesn't matter if the original team can't/won't keep him. The market forces will bring the price up. The issue with Harrington, I think, was simply a lack of demand.

As far as whether Bly could fetch more than a second round pick - I guess that really depends on whether he's an exceptional corner or not. The game charters, and FO stats, both suggest that he is. That's all I have to go on, as I think I only saw one Lions game last year (the Rams shootout).

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2007 - 11:57pm

Again Dre Bly is not a "shutdown" corner-he is a good man to man guy, but he has crap playing on the other side of him while in Detroit-greatly helping his numbers.

Again-what should the Lions have gotten for Bly? Denver was not the only team going after him, but I would hope they were offering the best choice (the Lions wanted players and a pick). Would it have been a better trade if they got a 2nd rounder? Should they not trade him at all and watch as Bly works his magic as the Lions have another 4 win season then let him leave? The Tampa 2 is pretty corner friendly for the most part more so then other schemes.

The Lions also traded oft injured, but able to actually sack the QB James Hall to the Rams for a 5th round pick. Detroit now has 4 5th round picks...if this was New England or apparently Denver people would be calling them geniuses....

by jimmo (not verified) :: Sat, 03/03/2007 - 1:28am

This is a terrible trade for Denver because obviously Detroit valued Foster and Bell more than Denver did, as they need a tackle and an RB; we all know (now) that GMs make trades based on players' value to other teams, not to make their own team better.

George Foster had at least seven knockdown blocks in at least two games at Georgia, and his junior year the OL only allowed 15 sacks. In high school, he had seven sacks as a senior, so its proven he can line up on the DLine as well. What's more important than a faux shut-down corner? A two-way lineman!

Tatum Bell was awesome eight years ago as well, having thrown three touchdown passes in high school. Martz can line him up at QB when McCown splits wide. Let's see the 28-year old, torn ACL-having career mediocre backup Dominic Rhodes try that!

The Lions should have obviously spent their money on the limitless supply of cheap, average OLineman available in free agency. Surely they could have come up with more than $7 million a year for multi Pro Bowler Derrick Dockery, or bid a couple million for stalwart Raider tackle Langston Walker. Twenty-six year old starting offensive tackles making $800,000 a year? Dime a dozen!

Terrible terrible trade. Mike Shanahan, give me back my one-dimensional cornerback and his $4 million contract and just keep your young cheap players that fill some needs of my team. We don't roll that way here in the D!

by jimmo (not verified) :: Sat, 03/03/2007 - 1:46am

Yeah, seriously though, I like this trade for the Lions. I fully expect Bly to put up big numbers (by numbers, I mean picks) next year opposite Bailey, and that still doesn't make it a bad trade.
The chances were pretty good that he was going to get cut this year, let alone leave after the year, so the whole something-instead-of-nothing angle works for me, and I'll take a flyer on a big skilled lineman and a fast running back working in Martz' system. I'll also take a Bell trade as is already rumored, if it means more picks and/or players.

And can we put to rest the notion that Millen simply panicked and made the first deal offered to him? The Denver Post of all places wrote the other day, "Denver's top competition for Bly is expected to be the Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints. What could work in the Broncos' favor: They have more to trade." Simply put, nobody else had enough parts to make the trade.

by Kaveman (not verified) :: Sat, 03/03/2007 - 2:23am

Folks, please do not paint all Broncos fans with the (tar) brush that is due this Chris.

by jimmo (not verified) :: Sat, 03/03/2007 - 2:50am

Kaveman, your (very reasonable) posts on the Broncos make me wonder about fellow super K- Denver fan Kibbles... Haven't seen his handle for awhile and thought for sure he'd be posting on this one...

by Sifter (not verified) :: Sat, 03/03/2007 - 4:07am

The Bills are probably going through a similar trade process now with Willis McGahee. No question he is a valuable guy, however he comes off contract after 2007 just like Dre Bly does and that lowers his trade value. But fantasy football players at home think...oh wow McGahee should be traded for a 1st rounder easy lol...but the Bills may be lucky to get a 3rd for him due to his contract situation.

Anyway, I liked the discussion so far, especially #67, good job MJK, my thoughts are pretty close to yours.

Sooner or later people will realise that both sides can win out of a trade - it doesn't have to have a winner and a loser.

by kibbles (not verified) :: Sat, 03/03/2007 - 7:50am

Re #103: Oh, and I would just like to say: Denver is the smartest front office in football. Bar none. It’s just ridiculous how frequently they screw other teams around free agency/draft time. There’s a reason the team’s been constantly better than average for like a decade or so.

I agree with this 100%. Despite all the talk about how horrible Shanahan is as a GM and how he needs to cede more control over personnel, or the talk about how mediocre Denver's drafts are, there is one simple fact- a GM's job is to assemble as much talent as possible under the cap, and over the past 12 years, there have been very, very few teams (if any) that were more talented than the Broncos. I tend to believe that coaching is nice, but Talent Trumps All (just ask Steve Marriucci or the San Francisco 49ers), so generally the teams that win the most and the most talented teams are one and the same... and since Shanahan came to town, no team has won more than the Broncos.

All of the talk about how horrible Shanny is as a GM is really just trendy nonsense. His drafts might not be the best ever, but he sure knows how to assemble talent, and there's nobody in the league better at trading (and few teams better at Free Agency- Denver rarely sets its sights on a player and loses out, and unlike Washington it's not like they throw huge sweaty wads of cash around to do it).

Also, to boil down some of the trades that Denver has made in the past few years... Denver has essentially given up Clinton Portis, George Foster, and Ashley Lelie in exchange for Champ Bailey, Dre' Bly, Javon Walker, and the right to move up from 21 to 11 and draft Jay Cutler (this is ignoring players like Tatum Bell who came in from one trade and left in another, as well as all swaps of comparable picks, such as Denver's late first rounder two years ago for Washington's late first rounder last year).

Think about that for a second. Clinton Portis, Ashley Lelie, and George Foster in exchange for Champ Bailey, Javon Walker, Dre Bly, and a move from 21 to 11 (that netted Jay Cutler).

Re #128: Kaveman, your (very reasonable) posts on the Broncos make me wonder about fellow super K- Denver fan Kibbles… Haven’t seen his handle for awhile and thought for sure he’d be posting on this one…

I'm still here, I've just taken to checking weekly instead of daily.

Also, since we are talking about my Broncos, I have to say it... that whole glow over the thought of having Bates as a DCoordinator still hasn't faded yet. Have I mentioned yet how stoked I am about this? Now we have Bates *AND* Bly? Absurd!

Another comment that I'm surprised hasn't been mentioned yet... Champ Bailey had 10 INTs last year despite only facing 40 passes (has to be one of the best INT:Target ratios in NFL history). Can you imagine what's going to happen when the thought of throwing to a guy like Eric Parker or Mark Clayton (or any other generic #2 WR) covered by Bly' makes teams re-evaluate their position and start throwing Bailey's direction again next year? It's entirely possible that Bailey is going to get more picks in one year than some very good CBs have gotten in their entire career. He got robbed of the DPoY last year, but next year just might be his year.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Mon, 03/05/2007 - 12:24am

Bly wants to be traded to Redskins is the newest news out...has not signed a new deal with the Broncos yet.

Denver does have the top management...they sure pulled one over Detroit...