The Detroit Lions will add a safety in free agency, it’s just a matter of when and which one.
Their interest in James Ihedigbo has been well known and the fit is natural considering the team’s need and the presence of Teryl Austin as the Lions’ new defensive coordinator. Ihedigbo was in town last week but left without agreeing to a contract. Understandable considering he was between agents and needed to talk things over with his pregnant wife. The Ravens also had interest but are no longer in the mix according to a new report from the Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson:
The Ravens aren’t bringing back strong safety James Ihedigbo and weren’t inclined to match the Detroit Lions’ original offer to him.
Ihedigbo has drawn offers from three NFC teams, including the Lions.
While Wilson reports that Ihedigbo has offers from two other NFC teams, it seems significant to note that it is the Lions offer the Ravens are unwilling to match. It wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to therefore conclude the Lions have the strongest offer on the table and should be seen as the front-runners to sign Ihedigbo.
Even if the Lions are in a strong position to sign Ihedigbo, the Lions are still considering other options. Thomas DeCoud and Chris Clemons were in town for free agent visits with the Lions today. DeCoud met with the team early in the day and left without a deal. Consider him an extremem fallback option.
Between Clemson and Ihedigbo, Clemons is the more versatile player but the familiarity between Ihedigbo and Austin is likely enough to push Ihedigbo to the top of the Lions safety wish list. Ihedigbo posted the second-highest run defense grade of all safeties from Pro Football Focus but struggled in coverage. The Lions have the luxury of considering many different types of safeties because of the versatility of Glover Quin. So while Ihedigbo may be far better against the run than the pass, he can play strong safety while Quin takes on more of a free safety role. Should the Lions ultimately sign Clemons, Quin would be more of a strong safety.