Should the Detroit Lions Trade for Cam Akers?
The Detroit Lions suffered a loss against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2 and also dealt with multiple key player injuries, including running back David Montgomery. Montgomery, who sustained a thigh bruise during the game, indicated that his injury might take a couple of weeks to heal, according to the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett. With the potential for Montgomery to miss several games, there’s speculation that the Lions may consider trading for a veteran running back. One potential target is Los Angeles Rams’ running back, Cam Akers.
Akers, a former second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, has had a successful career so far, rushing for 1,443 yards in 30 games. In the previous season, he recorded 786 rushing yards, 117 receiving yards, and 7 touchdowns. Akers was also the Rams’ leading rusher during the postseason, helping the team secure a Super Bowl title in 2021.
David Montgomery’s Potential Return
The Lions’ interest in trading for another running back depends on the severity of Montgomery’s injury. Although Birkett suggested that Montgomery might return earlier than expected, ESPN’s Adam Schefter provided a contrasting view. Schefter stated in a tweet that Montgomery mentioned it would take a couple of weeks for his quad injury to heal. This indicates that the veteran running back won’t be at full strength for the entire month of September.
Considering Montgomery’s significant role in the Lions’ offense during the first two weeks of the season, his potential absence poses a challenge. While rookie Jahmyr Gibbs can step up in Montgomery’s absence, the depth chart behind Gibbs lacks the same level of skill. Craig Reynolds briefly filled in for Montgomery during a game, but the Lions would benefit from the addition of a veteran running back like Akers, especially with two games in the next 10 days.
With the Lions’ Thursday Night matchup against the Green Bay Packers looming in Week 4, the chances of Montgomery playing in that crucial divisional game are estimated to be about 50-50 as of September 18.
How Cam Akers Could Enhance the Lions’ Backfield
Akers has experienced a roller coaster tenure with the Rams. He showed promise as a rookie, amassing 625 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns in 2020. However, his journey took a turn when he tore his Achilles tendon during training camp in 2021.
Despite the challenging injury, Akers remarkably returned for the latter part of the regular season and emerged as the Rams’ leading rusher during the playoffs. However, his relationship with the team became strained during the previous year. Akers had limited playing time in the 2022 season, leading to rumors of a trade request and subsequent benching in October. He later denied the trade request in November and made a strong comeback in the second half of the season.
In Week 1 of the current season, Akers started and had 22 carries, but he was inactive for Week 2. His future with the Rams remains uncertain. If Montgomery’s injury is truly short-term, the Lions might only need Akers for a couple of games. In such a scenario, the trade compensation for Akers would likely be low, making him a viable option for the Lions.
With Gibbs as the primary option in Montgomery’s absence, the addition of Akers would provide the Lions with extra depth in the backfield. Akers, with his experience and proven performance, would become the team’s most reliable running back while Montgomery recovers. This aligns with the Lions’ early-season approach of utilizing their backfield extensively.
Gibbs, though a first-round talent, has only had limited carries with mixed results through the first two games. The Lions involved Gibbs in the passing game during Week 2, highlighting their reliance on him. Facing the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3 with Gibbs and Reynolds as the projected ball carriers isn’t ideal for the Lions. This scenario opens the door for a potential trade for a running back like Akers to address their immediate need.
Dave Holcomb is a sports reporter covering the Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions for Heavy.com. Originally from Pittsburgh, Holcomb has covered college and professional sports for outlets including Fansided, Rotowire, and Yardbarker. Learn more about Dave Holcomb.