Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mayhew, Lions Pull Rarity: They Play Robin Hood With The Cowboys

Roy Williams is in a better place. And so are the Detroit Lions.

As Black Sabbath once said, black is really white. The moon is just the sun at night.

The little old lady held up the mugger. The 98-pound weakling just kicked sand in the face of the bully.

The Lions fleeced the Dallas Cowboys yesterday. Lions GM Martin Mayhew donned a mask and pointed a gun at Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, telling him to empty his draft wallet. Then he chained Williams to him and fled into the late afternoon.

A trade wasn't made here; it was committed. Robin Hood took from the rich.

The Lions, led by Mayhew, who's trying to shed the "interim" from his title, dumped receiver Williams on the Cowboys. For this, the Lions got a first, third, and sixth-round draft choice in next year's draft.

Jones must be hard up for pass catchers, ironic on the heels of his prized quarterback going down with an injury. Jones overpaid for Williams, the five-year veteran who's only made the Pro Bowl once, and who is just as likely to drop an easy pass as he is to make the occasional spectacular catch. But then again, you'd overpay too if someone stuck a gun in your back in an alley, which is kind of what happened here, it appears.

This is one of those trades that's good for all parties involved. Good for Williams, who I think can be a better player in a better environment; good for the Lions, because of their draft booty (they just need to use the picks wisely); and good for the Cowboys -- if only because they've convinced themselves that it's good for them.

"Oh, you got me! You got me good!"

Williams was out of place in Detroit, really. He was a brash, loudmouthed boob who didn't always have the numbers to justify such verbosity. He was always better suited for a team with other loudmouthed boobs, so he could blend in better. In Detroit he was the sore thumb -- a decent receiver who often times yapped better than he played.

In one trade, Martin Mayhew showed more promise as a football executive than Roy Williams showed as a pass catcher in four seasons with the Lions.

This wasn't the place for Roy. He was never going to get any better than we already saw. There was no discernible raising of his game. He wasn't clutch. He wasn't all that reliable. He fumbled. Williams was more like the Russian Roulette of receivers: once a round he'd come through; the other times, he fired blanks.

What's even better is that the Lions knew that Williams had no future in Detroit. I believe all the talk of not moving him unless something "interesting" came up was just a bunch of blather. The Cowboys have been wanting Williams, a Texas native, for a couple years now. Mayhew knew the Lions would hear from them before Tuesday's trade deadline. And he exhibited the patience and savvy of a more veteran GM in this instance. In one trade, Martin Mayhew showed more promise as a football executive than Roy Williams showed as a pass catcher in four seasons with the Lions.

"I wanna be a Cowboy...." (wish granted)

This deal makes Mayhew a sudden player in the Lions' grand front office search that will be conducted this off-season. He's still interim, but he's not as interim as he was 24 hours ago. The thing the Lions need to do is find out whether this trade was a case of beginner's luck or evidence of a long-term guy in their midst.

Regardless, this was a trade that usually happens to the Lions, not one that they typically make. The Lions are usually the fleeced, not the fleecers. But they did it all to the Cowboys with this one -- taking advantage of a team that was clearly dealing from a point of weakness.

Roy Williams is a Dallas Cowboy now. He's thrilled, and yet I'm not sure he's any happier than Mayhew and the Lions, who walked away with their trick-or-treat sack bursting at the seams, leaving Jones and the Cowboys on the sidewalk, wondering what hit them, and also asking, "Who WAS that masked man?"


Brian said...

We've been burned over and over with deals, trades, drafts, etc. that seemed like a good thing, but finally it seems like the Lions got the best of a situation. The only thing that makes me skittish is that EVERYBODY panned the deal the Cowboys made to trade Herschel Walker, but that made them a perennial contender. So as good as I think this is, I have to look at the track record of the Cowboys vs. the Lions. Still, I think this was a good deal.

Let me say this, though, I like Roy Williams. He was loud and sometimes should have kept a lower profile. But I really don't think he was "dogging it" or whatever. Whatever his shortcomings, I would never say he didn't try. So if he can be happy and the Lions can benefit, then it's a win/win.

If Mayhew is auditioning for the GM job, he has shown a good first step - stockpiling draft picks. Now he has to fill holes with those picks instead of taking the marquee player or picking one player who might make a media splash.

As a Lion fan, I don't want one big player in the next draft. I would be more than satisfied with a few players who filled key roles and then maybe in a few years we draft the name player who can put us over the top. I'm 44 years old and the Lions have won ONE playoff game in my lifetime. I don't care if we go a few more years without the playoffs if we follow a game plan that puts us in the pattern of the Cowboys, Pats, Steelers, etc.

Baby steps. Let's build a foundation, then earn our playoff "sea legs", then see what happens. So far, the Eno plan is in place.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm, fast forward to today and the Lions have gift certificates to a store that has nothing of value. They may have to spend a $100 gift certificate on a player worth $25. If Jerry and his scouts foresaw this, I think Robin Hood got Hood winked! And Mayhew just learned to stay on the shallow end of the pool if you just learning to swim, if the Lions let him keep swimming at all!