Running backs aren’t the most valuable commodity in the NFL, but the Lions would like to get some compensation in exchange for Ameer Abdullah.
Ameer Abdullah entered the preseason hoping he could ascend to the No. 1 spot on Matt Patricia’s depth chart. Unfortunately for the former Nebraska star, that hasn’t happened. Instead, he’s on the outside of the Lions’ roster looking in.
Reports from Detroit claim that Abdullah currently sits behind LaGarrette Blount, Kerryon Johnson and Theo Riddick on the team’s depth chart. Patricia only plans to carry three active running backs into each game. Keeping an established veteran like Abdullah around to remain inactive on game days is a terrific way to cause locker room unrest.
That leaves the Lions with two realistic options. They could elect to cut Abdullah. His cap hit this season is just a little over $1.3 million. Cutting him wouldn’t be a great example of roster management, but it wouldn’t really change anything the Lions do moving forward either. It would be a relatively harmless move.
The team’s preferred option would be to trade him ahead of the team’s final cuts. Abdullah did rush for 552 yards last season and his pedigree as a former second round pick might attract some interest. Unfortunately, he only averaged 3.3 yards per carry in 2017. There’s a reason he’s fallen out of the Lions’ long-term plans so quickly. There are legitimate questions as to whether or not Abdullah is a quality NFL running back.
That means the Lions need to be realistic about what they might hope to get in a trade for his services. It’s unlikely another team will offer anything other than a late round pick for Abdullah. If Detroit can find another team that’s willing to offer them any sort of outright draft compensation they should accept it immediately. The much more likely outcome is that a team looking to deal for Abdullah would only want to convey a pick if he met certain performance benchmarks in 2018.
Either way, the chances of Abdullah appearing on Detroit’s active roster Week 1 are pretty small. It’s better for both the Lions and the player to give him a chance to play elsewhere this season. There should be some interest in acquiring him, but only if the Lions are willing to sell low on the former second round pick.