The cellar-dwelling 1-5 Lions could be sellers at the trade deadline, and one of the names making the rounds is tight end T.J. Hockenson.
Hockenson, a fourth-year player who is under contract through 2023, understands the chatter.
“Listen, I’m not stupid, I know what I can bring to another team and I know here that they could, if they want something, if they want to do things for the future then I’m not stupid in that sense,” Hockenson recently told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, via SI.com. “It is a business and whatever they have to do upstairs they’re going to do. And that doesn’t — there’s no hard feelings about it. There’s no, ‘Hey, I don’t like him personally’ or anything about that. That’s just how it is. So I’m not dumb or naive in that fact.”
Hockenson said he wants to stay with the Lions, and it would make sense for the Lions to keep as many good players as they can. The question becomes whether and to what extent they’ll be willing to reward him with a major contract before his rookie deal expires.
He’s due to make $9.362 million next year. The fifth-year option is fully guaranteed.
Hockenson has had one great game in 2022, with eight catches for 179 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Seahawks. In Detroit’s other five games, he has 15 catches for 136 yards and one touchdown.
If they’re not going to use him more regularly, maybe the team and the player and a new team would be better off with him. That way, the Lions could stockpile a draft pick or two for their inevitable next reboot.