Things are starting to heat up on the safety market for the Detroit Lions. On Friday, free-agent safeties Chris Clemons and Thomas DeCoud both visited the Lions, and there was also some news involving James Ihedigbo, who visited Detroit last week.
Let's start with the two new visits. Adam Schefter reported on Friday morning that DeCoud was visiting the Lions, and Dave Birkett has since reported that DeCoud left without a deal. DeCoud was released by the Atlanta Falcons last week after following up a Pro Bowl year in 2012 with an awful 2013 season.
According to @PFF, 2012 Pro Bowl safety Thomas DeCoud was the worst defender on Falcons last year. -16. Yikes. Was a -3.1 his Pro Bowl year.— Scott Warheit (@swarheit) March 21, 2014
DeCoud, who played for the Falcons from 2008-13 and had 65 tackles and 2 passes defended last season, doesn't exactly seem like a very attractive option at safety. There are better options out there, one of whom is Chris Clemons. Clemons is also visiting the Lions on Friday, according to Jason La Canfora. Clemons was with the Miami Dolphins from 2009-13, and he had 93 tackles, 8 passes defended and 1 interception last season. On Pro Football Focus, Clemons was ranked 19th at safety in 2013, whereas DeCoud was all the way down at 83rd.
The Lions were expected to simply sign Ihedigbo to fill their need for a starting safety, but these two visits could be a sign that he is going to land elsewhere. Birkett reported on Thursday that two other teams were in the mix for Ihedigbo, and it seemed that re-signing with the Baltimore Ravens was an option. According to Aaron Wilson, however, the Ravens declined to match the Lions' original offer for Ihedigbo, who apparently has multiple contracts on the table right now.
These visits could be a way to create leverage with Ihedigbo, but DeCoud and Clemons could also be backup plans in case Ihedigbo signs with another team.