NFL.com’s Jason LaCanfora is reporting that the Lions may trade for Seattle LG Rob Sims. Sims, who’s tendered at the fourth-round level, could presumably had for that much, or even less, in a trade. According to Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Bears have offered now-surplus DE Alex Brown, but the Seahawks weren’t interested in taking on Brown’s salary.
Of course, my curiosity was immediately piqued. Why are they letting him go so cheaply? Sims is a 6’-3”, 312-pound, 26-year-old three-year starter, just four years removed from being drafted in the fourth round. A torn pectoral muscle did end Sims’ 2007 season, but it obviously hasn’t affected his performance; his 2009 season was graded out as one of the ten best in the NFL by Profootballfocus.com.
Sean Jensen gives us a clue:
According to one source, Sims is deemed expendable because new offensive line coach Alex Gibbs is more inclined to work with players with whom he's more familiar.
Ahhhh, that old chestnut again: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In the NFL, everything is insanely competitive, every edge honed down to the finest degree. From college scouting, to college all-star games, to the Combine, to the draft, teams relentlessly sift through mountains of game film and scouting reports trying to find just a few nuggets of gold. That’s just the beginning, though, as teams also scout their own players, and every other team’s players, as well.
Any advantage one team can get over another, so matter how small, is precious. Any trade they can consummate, any free agent signing they can make, any waiver priority they can leverage, any possible upgrade in talent must be ceaselessly pursued. We saw it when the Lions and Steelers stared each other down over Larry Foote: the Steelers were asking for more than the seventh-round pick the Lions had offered, and the Lions refused to play ball. Why? Because renting a veteran starter at a position of need wasn’t worth sacrificing a chance at drafting an Aaron Brown or a Sammie Hill.
The only exception to this dog-eat-dog environment, where teams fight and scrap over every ounce of perceived value, comes when a team changes schemes—at which point, excellent young veterans are put to the curb with a “$5” sign propped up against them.
Whether the Lions may get him for less than the advertised fourth-round price, or simply sign him to an offer sheet the Seahawks won’t match, Sims would immediately step in as a all-too-rare foundational player, a young veteran just entering his prime. He’d bring the stability to the left guard position that hasn’t been there since . . . well, since I can remember. Does Dave Lutz count?