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An NFL trade is like the Spanish Inquisition. Nobody expects it.

The whole point is you’re not supposed to see it coming until it happens.

That means anything can happen with the Detroit Lions by the NFL trade deadline at 4 p.m. Oct. 30. But what’s more likely is that nothing will happen.

But I don’t think the Lions will or should make a major move. Here’s why.

They view themselves as a team on the rise, having won three of their past four games, and against good teams. That means there’s no need to sell off pieces and salvage a bad season.

As much as general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia might speak about the “process” of building a team, there’s an expectation for the Lions to win now. They have only one noteworthy deficiency, on the defensive line, and it’s not a major one at that.

The Lions should view themselves as buyers in the trade market. So let me shut down talk of trading receiver Golden Tate and defensive end Ziggy Ansah right now.

Tate isn’t going anywhere. The thing the Lions do best is play offense. They aren’t about shoot themselves in the foot and eliminate one of the key pieces to their offensive operation, even though Tate will probably leave in free agency. So be it. The Lions need him now.

As for Ansah, forget it. He’s basically a temperamental Ferrari: He’s amazing when everything’s running great, but he’s been sitting in the shop with a bum shoulder since Week 1. He’s owed about $10 million this season and no one’s going to take on that contract hoping he might get healthy and produce at some point.

The one player the Lions should definitely trade is defensive end Kerry Hyder. He had eight sacks two years ago and he’s stuck in a scheme that doesn’t fit him. The Lions should shop him to a team with a 4-3 defense in exchange for a sixth-rounder — maybe reunite him with coach Kris Kocurek to help Miami’s struggling pass rush. Receiver TJ Jones and running back Ameer Abdullah are also surplus players who could fetch similar returns.


Several Detroit Lions react to the $1.6 billion prize for the Mega Millions lottery, which will be drawn on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018.
Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press

What about that defensive-line deficiency I mentioned? The only piece the Lions could really use is a dominant nose tackle. They rank 30th against the run and all three losses have come against good running teams.

But the Lions only play five of their final 10 games against teams that run well. And in the division, only Chicago runs well. That means they can get away with not having a great run defense. And if Ansah ever shows up, he should help the run defense dramatically.

If the Lions do want to bolster their run defense, the most obvious place to look for help is in New England, also known as the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 speed-dial buttons on Quinn’s phone. Patriots coach Bill Belichick basically turned on the neon-light “open for business” sign over team headquarters Monday when he told WEEI radio in Boston, “I am not saying we’d make a lot of trades, but if the situation was right we would certainly consider it.”

Patricia helped draft and coach Patriots defensive tackles Malcom Brown and Danny Shelton. In August, Boston sports writer Greg Bedard even suggested trading Brown to the Lions. But either could make sense since Brown and Shelton are both unrestricted free agents next year. But both are also major contributors for the Pats, so the price might be too steep.

The other obvious place to look for defensive tackle help is on teams that are going nowhere who have players on expiring contracts. Buffalo’s Kyle Williams, Oakland’s Johnathan Hankins or Indianapolis’ Al Woods could be available.

Realistically, the Lions aren’t one player away from being an elite team. The defense is going to need significant attention in the offseason. But that’s in the future. And mortgaging the future by trading away draft picks in the middle of a 3-3 season isn’t the way to build a contender.

Contact Carlos Monarrez at or follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.