ALLEN PARK — Brad Holmes, the Lions general manager, insisted on Wednesday that he would have traded tight end T.J. Hockenson even if the Lions 1-6 record was reversed.
The 25-year-old Hockenson was traded to the Vikings for a second-round pick (2023) and a third-rounder (2024) on Tuesday, the NFL trade deadline day.
“This move was not reflective of our record. If our record was reversed and it made sense for us we would have still done it,’’ Holmes said during Wednesday’s practice “It wasn’t anything of that nature, it made sense for us and we’ll move forward with it.’’
Hockenson, a 2019 first-round pick, had 26 catches for 395 yards and three touchdowns in the first seven games.
“I think that we’ve proven that our offense can score a lot of points, I’m sure he was a part of it. But the deal would have made sense, it was not based on record whatsoever,’’ Holmes reiterated. “I think it was a good deal for the future of our team and that’s my job, I’ve always got to have a laser focus on the current and also the future.’’
Holmes said this is not a sign that the team has given up on the season after losing five straight games.
“We’re working hard every single day to win as many games as possible. We’ve still got 10 games left and that’s what we’re working hard to do,’’ Holmes said. “Just because we’re in that phase of rebuilding doesn’t mean we can’t go out and work as hard as we can and win some games.’’
He said it is archaic thinking that trading in the division is a bad thing.
“When we make these kinds of decisions I’m totally at peace. T.J. is a good football player and the next time we play him he’ll still be a good football player, he’ll make a play or make some plays and score a touchdown or whatever he does. The camera will be in my face, I’ll look at it and wave,’’ Holmes said.
Hockenson is in the fourth year of his rookie deal. The Lions picked up his $4.9 million fifth-year option, putting him under contract through 2023. He is eligible for an extension.
Holmes said that many factors went into the trade decision and wo9rking on an extension for Hockenson was just one of them.
The GM also thanked Hockenson for his contributions to the team.
“I want to publicly express my appreciation for everything T.J. did for us. We’ve had a great relationship since I’ve been here. I wish him all the best, besides when we’re playing him, going forward,’’ Holmes said.
(Up next: Packers (3-5) at Lions (1-6) at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6)