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Mike Valenti Ponders Trading T.J. Hockenson and Frank Ragnow

Lions flagship radio station offers suggestion for how the Detroit Lions should rebuild.

The Detroit Lions do not appear like a team that will be competing for a playoff spot anytime soon. Because of this, fans and pundits alike are floating out theories to improve the team.

In the case of one prominent figure within Detroit sports media, that solution may include trading tight end T.J. Hockenson and center Frank Ragnow.

Mike Valenti, co-host of “The Valenti Show With Rico” on 97.1 The Ticket, believes trading the young stars could help the organization during its rebuilding phase. 

The Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars have operated with similar mindsets and stockpiled draft assets in exchange for young talent.

“Guys, we’re nowhere close,” Valenti said. “So is it crazy to view it like when the Dolphins did what they did?”

In the case of Jacksonville specifically, the team traded away star cornerback Jalen Ramsey for a load of assets and now have one of the most promising young cores in quarterback Trevor Lawerence and running back Travis Etienne.

“They went from being in the AFC championship game, with a lead in Foxboro, in the fourth quarter,” Valenti said, “to in a two-year span, burnt down the entire house. All of it.”

Meanwhile, the Dolphins have gone from trading away offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil and defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick to becoming a playoff contender.

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Valenti pointed out the plethora of draft capital the Lions have at their disposal, along with the fact the organization is locked into head coach Dan Campbell with a six-year contract. There isn’t a ton of pressure to win right away.

“Your head coach has a six-year contract, your GM has a five-year contract,” Valenti said. “You have four first-round picks in the next two years. What if I could make that six first rounders in three years? What if I could make that three extra second rounders? What if we just built the war chest here?”

Hockenson has been the Lions’ most efficient offensive weapon in 2021, catching 16 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns in the first two games of the season.

“What is the wisdom of having T.J. Hockenson here?” Valenti said Thursday. “And wasting his entire rookie contract, only to then maybe be ready to win and have to pay him $20 million a year versus, what if they finish burning this down?”

Trading him away would deplete the offense of it’s top pass-catching threat, while moving away from Ragnow would leave Detroit without it’s best offensive lineman. When Beard mentioned trading Ragnow, Valenti responded, “Why not?”

“I’m talking about putting 10 to 12 really good, high-end young players into this franchise in the next two years,” Valenti said. “That puts me closer to winning than Hockenson having 78 catches for 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns and some sick lettuce.”

But would the compensation be worth the loss?