The Detroit Lions have a big decision to make regarding running back D’Andre Swift and his future in 2023. Swift has shown flashes of greatness during his three seasons with the Lions, but has yet to put it all together for a full season. Currently, Jamaal Williams is the starting running back, having broken the Lions’ rushing touchdown record in 2022, and he is set to become a free agent this offseason. The team may very well choose to re-sign Williams and target a running back in the draft, ultimately making Swift expendable.
Injury has been a problem for Swift in the past, so granting him a full workload could be a risk. If the team brings back Williams and drafts a new running back, it is likely that Swift’s role would be reduced once again, and he could become disgruntled. Therefore, the Lions may opt to trade Swift before the draft and get a conditional fourth-round pick in return. That pick could potentially become a third-round pick if Swift is traded to a contending team such as the Green Bay Packers, the Seattle Seahawks, or the Buffalo Bills.
From the team’s perspective, it would be wise to re-sign Williams, target a running back in the later rounds of the draft, and then trade Swift in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick. This way, the team could get the most value possible for Swift, while also ensuring they have fresh legs and plenty of depth at the running back position. I would trade Swift sooner rather than later and aim for a conditional fourth round pick that could become a third to a contending team like the Buffalo Bills that are crying out for running back production for cheap.