Lions RB D’Andre Swift could be a perfect trade target for the Rams
The Detroit Lions surprised a lot of folks on Thursday night when they traded back to No. 12 and took running back Jahmyr Gibbs – an undoubtedly talented player but one was expected to go later in the first round, if at all in Round 1. What made the move so shocking was that they already have D’Andre Swift on the depth chart and just signed David Montgomery in free agency, so their backfield is a bit crowded.
It could get less cluttered if the Lions move on from Swift, however.
According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, the Lions have gotten trade calls on Swift, and his agent has been in contact with Detroit about finding a new team. Might the Rams be that new team?
Sources: The #Lions are receiving trade calls on running back D’Andre Swift, whose representatives have been in contact with the team about potentially moving to a new team. With Detroit drafting Jahmyr Gibbs, the talented Swift appears poised to leave Detroit. pic.twitter.com/Rkf16dylaL
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) April 28, 2023
If Les Snead hasn’t already called Lions GM Brad Holmes about Swift, he should get on the phone soon before someone else steals him from Detroit.
Swift is just the type of running back the Rams could use on offense. He’s an all-purpose player who can pick up yards on the ground and as a receiver, as evidenced by his 5.5 yards per carry last season and 8.1 yards per reception.
The Rams don’t have a true receiving back on the roster right now and that could be why the running backs haven’t been involved much in the passing game in recent years. That could change with Mike LaFleur coming aboard as the offensive coordinator.
Last season, the Rams’ running backs had a target share of 12.2%, the second-lowest in the NFL. They also had the lowest rate in the league in 2021 (12.6%). Under LaFleur, the Jets were ninth in RB target rate in 2021 (22.5%) and 11th in 2022 (21.5%).
In just 14 games last season, Swift had more receiving yards (389) than all of the Rams’ running backs combined (361). Cam Akers led the backfield with just 117 yards on 13 catches, never topping more than 35 yards in a game. Swift had at least 31 yards receiving six times, for comparison.
What makes Swift a good target is the likely low cost for any team acquiring him. If the Rams were to trade for Swift, he’d count just $1.77 million against the cap in 2023. And in 2024, he’ll become a free agent, so the Rams wouldn’t need to commit to him long-term. Plus, if he leaves next offseason, they could get a compensatory pick back in the 2025 draft.
It’s hard to imagine Swift netting the Lions anything more than a Day 3 pick, either. With only one year left on his contract and the backfield as crowded as it is, the Lions might have to settle for a fifth- or sixth-rounder. The Rams have three of those each.
Pairing Swift as a change-of-pace back with Akers, just as he was to Jamaal Williams last season, would be a good move for the Rams. It’s the type of running back Sean McVay has been looking for and he can now be had at a discount.
The Rams would probably get more out of Swift in 2023 than they will any other Day 3 running back, even if he does leave after just one season. There’s always the chance they re-sign him to an extension, too.
For a team looking to add weapons on offense, Swift makes a lot of sense.
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