It took a little over four months, but Bob Quinn has made his first trade as Detroit Lions general manager. In trading a seventh-rounder for linebacker Jon Bostic, he made a move for a player he knows well and a franchise he has intimate knowledge of.
It shouldn’t be surprising Quinn made his first move with the franchise he’s most familiar with -- the New England Patriots. Much of what Quinn has done during his first few months as Detroit’s general manager has mirrored what he learned from his 16 years working his way up with the Patriots.
That includes some of the team’s draft strategy -- a year after the Patriots took a long-snapper in the draft, the Lions took one -- and Detroit did not chase many big-name free agents. Most of his moves had a similar bent to what the Patriots look for -- flexibility and the ability to play special teams.
In trading for Bostic, whom the Patriots acquired from the Chicago Bears in a trade last season, he’s adding a linebacker he knows and presumably trusts enough to try and have him compete for a depth roster spot behind DeAndre Levy and Tahir Whitehead. Depending how it goes, Bostic could end up competing for a wide-open SAM linebacker job as well.
There’s no guarantee Bostic makes Detroit’s roster, but he’ll have a good enough chance to since the position isn’t particularly deep at this point. He’ll bring speed to the linebacking corps. He ran a 4.61-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine in 2013 along with a 6.99-second 3-cone drill and a 4.24-second 20-yard shuttle.
The speed didn’t translate to good football in Chicago or New England. Bostic was barely used in New England, appearing in 11 games but playing only 40 snaps and making only one tackle. He wasn’t a special teams dynamo, either, having only one teams tackle as well. This, much like the Tavon Wilson signing, might be more of an attempt by Quinn to make the franchise younger while bringing in players who understand how to win and would be hungry for a second (and possibly last) chance with a franchise that needs depth.
And this is now the third team in four seasons for Bostic, who was a second-round draft pick by the Bears in 2013. This is also somewhat of a homecoming for his family. Bostic’s father, John, played three seasons as a defensive back for the Lions from 1985 to 1987.
The Bostic trade might also mean the eventual release of linebacker Stephen Tulloch, who has been with the team for three months despite being told he was not in the team’s plans for the 2016 season. Detroit has kept him around through the start of the league year, free agency and the NFL draft and both Quinn and head coach Jim Caldwell have said little about why he’s still on the team.
With OTAs approaching and Quinn trying to shape the roster to his liking, Bostic’s move might be the one that has the Lions officially cut ties with Tulloch. Or, considering other moves the franchise has made the past three months, maybe not.