Brad Holmes had been the Detroit Lions general manager for just a couple of weeks when he made the move that determined whether he would succeed at his new job—or set a woebegone franchise back even further.
Holmes’s counterintuitive idea to turn around the team began with trading away the team’s most valuable player. But the deal in 2021 that gave up quarterback Matthew Stafford didn’t send the Lions into the type of painstaking rebuild that can take years, if it ever works at all. It actually allowed them to short-circuit that process and become a Super Bowl contender faster than anyone imagined.
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