Eight months ago, the Detroit Lions sent running back D’Andre Swift to the Philadelphia Eagles for fourth and seventh-round picks. With identical 11-5 records, both teams have done well since, but did either team “win” the trade?
Why Philadelphia won the trade
Thanks to the first 1,000-yard season of Miles Sanders’ career, the Eagles ran for the fourth-most yards in 2022. Had the Carolina Panthers not offered Sanders a four-year, $25M contract in the offseason, he’d likely still be in Philadelphia.
With a $1.7M salary for 2023, Swift fit much better under the team’s salary cap and for a fourth and seventh-round draft pick, it made perfect sense for the Eagles to bring home the Philly native. Running behind a strong offensive line, Swift has already shattered his career marks with one game to play.
D'Andre Swift records his first Eagles TD 👏
Philly leads the Vikings 34-21 with less than 5 minutes to go!pic.twitter.com/iILnfATBkr
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) September 15, 2023
Swift’s 229 carries are 78 more than he had in 2021 and his 1,049 yards are 432 more than he had that year. His current yardage total puts him fourth among running backs, but he could fall lower if he sits against the Giants on Sunday.
Why Detroit won the trade
The Lions already used Philadelphia’s seventh-round pick to draft North Carolina’s Antoine Green in 2023. So far Green has one catch for two yards in two games played, so Detroit will have to do better with the Eagles’ fourth-round pick in 2025.
When the Lions signed former Bears running back David Montgomery to their roster, most assumed Swift would be moved. When they took Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs 12th overall in the 2023 NFL Draft, people wondered where Swift would land.
Detroit rushed for 380 yards per game in 2022, fifth-best in the league and one spot behind Philadelphia who averaged 389.1 yards per game. This year, the team ran for 395.7 yards per game, five spots ahead of the Eagles, third-most in the league and a sign of things to come in 2024.
Montgomery leads Detroit with 975 yards and twelve touchdowns, but Gibbs isn’t far behind with 915 yards and nine scores. His 5.4-yard-per-carry average is better than all top-10 backs not named Christian McCaffrey, who also averages 5.4 yards per carry.
From a pure talent perspective, one could argue that Gibbs is a better running back than Montgomery or Swift. And with an average base salary of $1.03M over the next three years, Gibbs offers more value than Swift who can expect a salary in the $5M range for 2024.
Add it up and Detroit now owns the seventh and 15th-leading rushers in Gibbs and Montgomery. They also own the NFC North for the first time since 1993. No need for a do-over here.