The Detroit Lions finally filled their most glaring remaining need in free agency by signing former Baltimore Ravens safety James Ihedigbo. By signing a two year deal, the Lions shored up their secondary with a hard hitting player who is familiar with the style of defense that new coordinator Teryl Austin will install with the team.
Ihedigbo had his best season last year, racking up 101 tackles for the Ravens with Austin last year and brings some familiarity to the fold with Austin and will help him install the blitz packages the Lions will need to compliment their stellar defensive line. This also makes the draft pick seem more obvious in that the need that the Lions didn’t address through their free agent signing was and is cornerback. That doesn’t mean that general manager Martin Mayhew will definitely take a cornerback with the 10th overall pick, but it sure does seem logical.
Ihedigbo wasn’t at the top tier of the free agent safety’s available this offseason. Most of those signed to huge deals on the first day of free agency. With the Lions committing so much money to solidify their offense by signing Golden Tate and retaining Joique Bell and Brandon Pettigrew, funds were limited. Ihedigbo fits though and should be a solid player to go along with last years free agent safety find, Glover Quin. Quin and Ihedigbo will not exactly strike fear into opponents hearts, but they will certainly not be seen as a weakness either.
All in all, now that the free agent crop for Detroit seems to be complete, it would appear that Martin Mayhew did a solid job in filling the holes that the Lions needed to address this offseason. If he is able to complete a contract extension with defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, you would have to grade his work as well above average this year. The true measure of success will be whether or not the Lions reach the playoffs, but working with the money he had available Mayhew has done a fine job of giving coach Jim Caldwell the talent to reach their goals.