Move on from Megatron?

This won’t be the most popular subject, but here goes nothing… it’s time to trade Calvin Johnson. Before you start with the name calling and the bashing of my intellect, just hear me out and keep an open mind for a second. Try to think unemotionally and recognize what is best for the future of the Detroit Lions. There are far too many reasons to ship out our future Hall-of-famer and not enough logical ones to keep him. Here are five explanations of why we should deal our beloved Megatron.

  1. Calvin isn’t getting any younger and our window to win with him is all but closed. We are not going anywhere this year and there is no point to exacerbate his attrition. His body has plenty of wear and tear and there’s a limited amount of time before Calvin’s stock precipitously declines. It’s been evident in recent weeks that his speed and agility have diminished. Tackles that he used to break and defenders he used to make miss are becoming a thing of the past. He is still fast for his massive frame, but nowhere near the 4.35 speed that used to take slants and posts to the house. Calvin just had a dominant performance against a negligent and weak Chicago Bears’ defense. This week would make for a perfect time to sell high. We should cash in before his value is completely squandered away. The thread is thin on Calvin’s tires and it’s just a matter of time before another nagging injury resurfaces.
  1. Another problematic facet is Calvin’s price tag. Megatron still makes an average of more than two million a year over the recent contracts of Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, and Demaryius Thomas. He makes double of what most consider now the best receiver in the league, Antonio Brown. You could debate all day on whether Calvin still belongs in the upper echelon of the NFL, but no matter your opinion on where he falls in the league’s ranking, he doesn’t deserve that disproportionate amount over the other top wideouts. We are paying for what he has done, and not what he is currently worth. It sounds counterintuitive, but a lot of teams probably wouldn’t even consider trading for Calvin with his intractable cap number. There’s a good chance the Lions won’t even be able to keep him for much longer at his current cost.
  1. Receivers are a dime a dozen coming out of college these days. Look at the last three years of the draft and you will discover that rookies can come directly into the league and contribute immediately. These young guns might not be in the same stratosphere as Megatron, but they are still playmakers at a fraction of the cost. The spread offense is killing the development of the quarterback at the college level, but it’s breeding wide receivers quicker than ever. The new offense-friendly rules of today’s NFL allow athletes with decent hands to become serviceable wideouts. Receivers seem to be the easiest position to replace through the draft. Gone are the days where a wideout needs to have size and strength to survive in the NFL. There is a surplus of college talent which drives their NFL value down; a simple case of supply and demand.
  1. Another point illustrating the weakening of the wideout position is by looking at the last five years of the Super Bowl champ’s rosters. None of them needed a talent of Johnson’s caliber on the outside. They did all have powerful ground attacks if necessary and could run the ball on the predictable running downs. Having a top-notch receiver is not a necessity to win games. It’s a luxury to have that freak of nature on the outside. The importance of a running attack still supersedes the passing game. We won all three contests last year without Calvin Johnson. They were not pretty, but they were wins. If you are like a majority of NFL teams, you win with solid defense and a controlling rushing attack. Only a few elite quarterbacks can win consistently in a pass happy scheme. We already gave that pass first route a chance. Matt Stafford put up the sexy numbers, but those didn’t equate to wins. It’s time to relocate our funds to the more important running game.
  1. Maybe the most frustrating aspect of this season is Joe Lombardi’s play calling and his inability to cater to his player’s strengths. Calvin doesn’t fit our scheme. That is not his fault, but it’s the reality of the situation. It sounds like a broken record each week when the announcers act surprised that the Lions haven’t given more opportunities for Calvin to flash his talent. If we are not going to properly utilize his skill set, why place aside so much money on an ancillary part of the offensive equation? Unless a new coach comes in soon, which is very possible, there is no justification to stash talent at underutilized positions.

Calvin is the consummate professional and a clear fan favorite. No one wants to imagine him in another jersey, but we shouldn’t give him the Barry treatment. It would be a disservice to Calvin if he ends his stellar career without a Superbowl ring. At this point in time, it would be better for both parties to split ways.  You know how the phrase goes, “If you love them, let them go.”



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