James Ihedigbo to Lions: Latest Contract Details, Analysis and Reaction

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IMarch 24, 2014

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The Detroit Lions and veteran free-agent safety James Ihedigbo have agreed to a contract, according to The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson on Twitter:

Ihedigbo confirmed the signing on his official Twitter account: 

The Detroit Free Press' Dave Birkett reports that the two sides agreed to a two-year deal:

The 30-year-old defender has spent the past two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, starting 19 regular-season games since 2012. Prior to that, Ihedigbo spent four seasons in the AFC East with the New England Patriots and the New York Jets.

Last season was Ihedigbo's first full season as an NFL starter, and although the Ravens' secondary experienced a significant drop-off, the undrafted veteran finished the year with a career-high 101 combined tackles, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and 11 passes defended. 

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 5: James Ihedigbo #32 of the Baltimore Ravens hits Julius Thomas #80 of the Denver Broncos as he attempts to catch a pass in the first quarter during the game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 5, 2013 in Denver Col
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

According to Birkett, the Lions first offered Ihedigbo the two-year deal after he visited with them during the first week of free agency earlier this month. However, the former Massachusetts star decided to sit on it and keep his options open because he was in between agents at the time. 

Bleacher Report NFL Lead Writer Michael Schottey reacted to the signing as most, labeling it a smart move, but one that doesn't solve all of Detroit's problems on the back end: 

Although it remains to be seen whether Ihedigbo can revitalize Detroit's defense and help lead the Lions to the playoffs in 2014, there's no doubt this signing is a good move for both parties at the moment. As Birkett points out, Ihedigbo will be playing for a familiar coach in Teryl Austin, who takes over as the Lions' defensive coordinator following three seasons as the Ravens' secondary coach. 

Plus, Ihedigbo fills a critical need for the NFC North hopefuls. Detroit released Louis Delmas in February and ranked 23rd in fewest passing yards allowed during the regular season in 2013. 

With Ihedigbo on board, the Lions could go in any number of directions with the No. 10 overall pick in May's 2014 NFL draft.


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