Lions looking to trade for a wide receiver; who are some potential targets?
The search for a complementary receiver has continued into 2013, Johnson's seventh professional season. The likes of players such as Roy Williams, Bryant Johnson, and Titus Young just didn't cut it. The Lions rolled into 2013 with Nate Burleson - a player who has averaged 41.9 receiving yards per game since entering the league in 2003 - as their No. 2 receiver.
Unfortunately, the Lions have now lost Burleson to a freak injury, as he broke his arm in a car accident after watching Monday Night Football with his teammates. The injury came just one day after a 116-yard performance, Burleson's best of the season. Burleson is now expected to be sidelined for 6-8 weeks.
Burleson's inside receiver role will be filled by promising youngster Ryan Broyles. While Broyles has shown flashes of upside in his brief career, he has been limited this season thanks to an ACL tear he suffered in 2012. Broyles made his season debut in Week 3, but played only 17 snaps. His knee issues date back to college - he tore his ACL as a senior at Oklahoma in 2011 - and he experienced setbacks during training camp when recovering from his most recent knee surgery. Though he should be a solid possession receiver if he can stay healthy, it is tough to rely on someone who has been so badly plagued by injuries over the past few years.
Even if Broyles does stay healthy and produce, he will be manning the slot and playing a possession receiver role. The pass-happy Lions could still use a playmaker on the perimeter opposite of Johnson. That role is currently filled by Patrick Edwards - and undrafted free agent who has caught three passes for 30 yards across two career NFL games. It goes without saying the Lions could use an upgrade on the 5'9'', 175 pound neophyte.
The Lions' hope entering the season was likely that Broyles would eventually be healthy enough to take over Edwards' perimeter receiver role (Broyles has the skill set to play multiple receiver positions), but with Burleson now sidelined until November, they are stuck with Edwards on the outside unless they make a roster move.
According to Lions insider Tim Twentyman, the Lions are looking to make that move to upgrade their receiving core. "The Lions have talked with multiple teams this morning regarding receivers available for a possible trade," Twentyman said via Twitter on Tuesday.