Bob Wojnowski, John Niyo and Justin Rogers preview the Lions-Steelers game on this week's Lions Lowdown. Detroit News
Detroit — With the NFL’s trade deadline fast approaching, the Detroit Lions have received multiple calls on tight end Eric Ebron. That news was first reported by the NFL Network and confirmed by a team source.
Speculation has been swirling around the talented, but struggling tight end for some time. Almost every trade deadline analysis the past week has pitched the hypothetical of the Lions parting ways with the former first-round pick. But speculation steered toward reality before Tuesday’s deadline.
Selected with the No. 10 pick in 2013, Ebron has increased his production each of his first three seasons, culminating with a 61-catch, 711-yard campaign in 2016. But life has been rough this year, after declaring his Pro Bowl aspirations prior to the season opener.
Through six games, Ebron has caught 13 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown, per game averages on par with his rookie campaign. He’s had some issues with dropped passes and was booed relentlessly by the crowd during the team’s home game against Carolina.
Lions general manager Bob Quinn has shown a knack for working the trade market during his first two years with the team, most often dealing with his former employer, the New England Patriots. And he’s shown a willingness to part ways with former high-round draft picks made by predecessor Martin Mayhew, sending linebacker Kyle Van Noy to the Patriots at the deadline last year and guard Laken Tomlinson to the San Francisco 49ers before the start of this season.
In addition to Ebron, the Lions have also been getting calls about retired wide receiver Calvin Johnson, according to ESPN.
The Lions still hold Johnson’s rights following his 2016 retirement, but at least two teams have called expressing interest in attempting to lure him back to the NFL.
Johnson, 32, has been adamant he has no interest in returning to football, but the report indicates that the Lions have welcomed potential trade partners trying to change the future Hall of Famer’s mind -- a necessary hurdle to completing a trade.
In nine seasons with the Lions, Johnson amassed 731 receptions for 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns. His 1,964 yards in 2012 remains an NFL record.