Snatching a top free agent safety was a crucial part of the Detroit Lions offseason plans in 2014. After watching the likes of Jairus Byrd, Donte Whitner and T.J. Ward sign with other franchises meant that the team had to bring in James Ihedigbo to replace Louis Delmas and solidify the need at safety.
The news that Ihedigbo agreed to a two-year deal with the Lions was released by Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Ihedigbo will now be reunited with defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, who oversaw Ihedigbo the last two seasons when he was the secondary coach for the Baltimore Ravens.
“It’s Agreed upon! I’m a @DetroitLionsNFL,” Ihedigbo wrote on Twitter Sunday night. “I’m excited for what’s ahead and helping this team achieve greatness!!! #HeartOfALion #LionsNation.”
At 30-years old, Ihedigbo has played in the NFL for six seasons with three different teams. Starting in every game last year for the Ravens, Ihedigbo had a career-high 101 tackles, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.
According to Kyle Meinke of MLive.com, Ihedigbo is a “hard-hitter who is punishing on the blitz and occupies a lot of terrain in coverage.” Meinke also wrote that the UMass alumni is the front runner to win the starting strong safety spot alongside Glover Quinn in 2014.
By acquiring a veteran safety in Ihedigbo gives the Lions the opportunity to go out and address another need with the No. 10 pick in the upcoming draft. This now adds more speculation that Detroit could draft another wide receiver to complement Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate or a cornerback to upgrade the talent again in the secondary.