Teams lose trades when they deal a former first-round selection for a fifth-round pick. On paper the Detroit Lions lost the deal that sent corner back Jeff Okudah to the Atlanta Falcons for a fifth-round pick.

However, it made financial sense and it made common sense for the Lions to cut their losses and ship out a man who never fit and will never fit for the journey ahead.

The Lions free up $10.3 million in salary cap space for the 2023 season, although they take on $5.5 million in dead salary cap space. Let’s get out calculators out. That is a net gain of $5.2 million in cap space.

Okudah was a hell of a nice guy and former teammates will miss his presence in the dressing room. But the bottom line is he failed as the number three overall pick in 2020 draft. The Lions brass at the time, led by GM Bob Quinn, was blasted locally for picking a cornerback that high.

Quinn said he didn’t care where a player is drafted as long as he is a good player. Okudah never became the player Quinn envisioned. Injuries played a role. But even when healthy Okudah wasn’t that great in pass coverage.

Peaks and Valleys while in Detroit

He should be applauded for working hard to overcome injuries. He also was an above average corner in run support. Okudah could not cover you, but he could sure knock you on your ass.

The current Lions front office and coaching staff had nothing to do with bringing in Okudah. But they all said the right things when questioned about him. Coach Dan Campbell and GM Brad Holmes both acknowledged he needed to improve but lauded him for his fight and work ethic.

“There is always going to be peaks and valleys when you play that position,” Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said at the scouting combine early this year. “You can try to stay at the top as much as you can, but it’s hard. But I’ll tell you what, he’s busting his butt. He’s trying is butt off to be at the top of that peak all the time.”

Actions speak louder than words. It became obvious that Okudah was odd man out when the Lions signed free agents corners Cam Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley. Factor in Jerry Jacobs and Okudah became a depth guy.

It was time to go.


For more from the author Terry Foster, check him out on Twitter here: @terryfosterdet

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By Published On: April 13th, 2023Categories: Detroit Lions, NFL

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