Between March and late April, the two peak times of the NFL off-season (and, coincidentally, a 60-day long 'Super Bowl' for most Lions fans), chatter around the league melts into a cesspool of rumors.
Many, like the report of Terry Bradshaw's death (he still has a pulse -- we checked), are unfounded. And although we would love to dismiss most rumors as baseless, bunk and ludicrous, they are interesting nonetheless -- and they occasionally pan out.
Because the team sits on the No. 2 overall pick, the Detroit Lions have become central to many of the most absurd and entertaining reports -- and none have involved a death of any kind (yet).
So, without further adieu, here are the three Lions-related trades that have generated the most interest ... regardless of validity or sanity
J-E-T-S, LIONS, LIONS, LIONS!
Most recently, ESPN's John Clayton mentioned a trade scenario on his radio show involving the Detroit Lions and the New York Jets. The Jets, who have made it known they would like to move up in the draft, would swing star linebacker Jonathan Vilma, wide receiver Laveranues Coles and the 25th overall pick to Detroit in exchange for the No. 2 overall position in the draft
Lions fans should salivate at the thought, because the team would acquire a Cover Two-experienced middle linebacker (not to mention arguably the best LB in the game), the speedster at wide receiver they covet, yet still maintain a first-round presence. The drawback? Well, the New York Giants fanbase might grow ten-fold.
The Jets relied upon Vilma and its defense extensively in 2005, while the offense did just enough to push the team into a playoff position. While there have been rumblings that Jets coach Eric Mangini isn't sold on Vilma in his defense, dumping the team's premier player for a draft pick that comes with no guarantee simply isn't sensible.
Security would have to escort the Jets pick to and from the podium at the New York-hosted (and largely Gange Green-populated) draft party.
Even more unlikely? Lions president Matt Millen would go from goat-to-hero in record time. Then again, stranger things have happened.
RINGING THE BELL (AGAIN)
Another trade scenario, sparked by the same folks who brought you the Bradshaw obituary (Pro Football Talk), cited sources within the New York Giants organization to a report that the G-men might be interested in acquiring Lions running back Tatum Bell.
The Giants have had an interest in Detroit's newest addition for some time, and need a replacement for the retired Tiki Barber. Bell has often drawn comparisons to Barber's style of play including his breakaway speed. Although a second-rounder would be too steep, New York might be willing to part with its third-round pick (No. 81 overall).
What voids the chance of that deal is Detroit's genuine interest in placing Bell in the backfield. Although the team has left the door open for trade talk involving Bell, it would take a desperate offer -- and another multi-pick, multi-player swap -- to make it happen. Bell's value is simply greater to the Lions than it is on the open market.
(Note: The Giants also have plenty of cap room to squander on a player like the Colts' Dominic Rhodes, whom they are genuinely interest in.)
STEP RIGHT UP ...
With the barage of trade rumors, speculation and verified interest, it is clear that the Lions are not opposed to dealing out of the No. 2 position in the 2007 draft. Team's that have been said to be interested include, but are certainly not limited to, the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons (sleeper), Houston Texans (sleeper) and the mystery team that appears out of nowhere annually to make analysts look absolutely silly and uninformed.
If there are two solid candidates, it is the Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Cardinals own the fifth pick in the draft and dearly covet Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas. They want him, need him, and are weary of the Lions, despite Detroit's acquisition of former Broncos tackle George Foster. The Buccaneers, losers of Friday's coin-flip to Cleveland, reportedly want every player in the top 10 but would settle for Georgia Tech receiver Calvin Johnson -- who has also been manufactured (see: smokescreen) onto the Lions radar.
Tampa holds the fourth pick.
The Cardinals, we're told, are paranoid enough about losing Thomas that they would be willing to swap picks with the Lions, in addition to sending their second (No. 38) and third-round (No. 69) selections to Detroit. It would be a deal the Lions would be silly to refuse, because the team could pluck a defensive end like Clemson's Gaines Adams while shoring up the offensive line in the following two rounds.
Tampa Bay, meanwhile, can bring more to table draft value wise, but at that point it's semantics. Besides, if the Lions land free-agent receiver Kevin Curtis (Rams), the Bucs could safely assume that Johnson will be around at No. 4.
Regardless of where they fall in the top five, the Lions will get a player they covet and that can start immediately, along with additional draft assistance to help build coach Rod Marinelli's vision of what an NFL team is supposed to resemble.
The Lions are in a prime position at No. 2, and will consider many offers until the perfect opportunity rears its head. Maybe one that hasn't yet struck the rumor mill.