November 22, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions free safety Louis Delmas (26) walks off field after a game against the Houston Texans at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions Face Big Decision with Louis Delmas

The Detroit Lions released their first injury report of the week yesterday afternoon and, not surprisingly, it included one very familiar name: Louis Delmas.

The situation with Delmas appears that he won’t ever be 100% this season and will continue to miss practices and play limited snaps on game day. It is what it is and probably doesn’t really matter considering the current state of the Lions season.

What the Lions need to get out of Delmas from here on out is a level of comfort that will determine what resources they invest in keeping him a member of the Lions. The Lions defense has a different attitude when Delmas is on the field but his inability to stay on the field is troubling.

Delmas, now in his fourth year in the NFL, has never played a full 16-game schedule. He did start 15 games in 2009 and 2010 but saw that number dip to 11 last year and can max out at only nine this year. It’s not the kind of trend that instills the kind of confidence necessary for giving a player a new long term deal.

Of course, the Lions don’t have to reach a long term agreement with Delmas to keep him in Detroit. He’s been mentioned in the past as a potential candidate for the franchise tag and that is certainly an option to consider. The one-year deal would pay Delmas the average of the top five safety salaries in the league. Is Delmas worth top-five money even when healthy? Maybe, but maybe not.

What the Lions do with Louis Delmas is one of the most important questions they will have to answer in the offseason. The matter is complicated by the fact that the Lions will once again have salary cap constraints to deal with and they have a need at safety even with Delmas on the roster. The whole situation feels like a tug-of-war between competing interests. Which side will win is anyone’s guess.

How should the Lions approach the Louis Delmas contract situation?

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