As a precursor to free agency and the NFL Draft, Pride Of Detroit will take a look at each position on the Detroit Lions roster. The series continues with a look at the safety position.
Under contract: Don Carey (through 2013), John Wendling (through 2013), Tyrell Johnson (through 2013)
Free agents: Louis Delmas (UFA), Amari Spievey (RFA), Ricardo Silva (ERFA)
It would be an understatement to say the Detroit Lions have a lot of questions at safety. Decisions need to be made about which safeties are going to be re-signed, and those are complicated decisions because of the injury concerns surrounding Louis Delmas and Amari Spievey.
Delmas has been the Lions' top safety over the last few years, but he has struggled to stay healthy. As a result, a long-term deal seems out of the question, and even if the Lions re-sign Delmas, there will be questions about his health.
Spievey's history of concussions may dissuade the Lions from re-signing him even though he's a restricted free agent. Spievey has been a starter at times, and he worked his way back into the starting lineup last season before he suffered a season-ending concussion. Like with Delmas, injuries will be a concern with Spievey if he is re-signed.
As of right now, Don Carey is really the only starting-caliber safety under contract. He emerged as a starter last season, and at the very least he's a serviceable safety. John Wendling showed some promise last preseason as a starter, but he is really just a special teams player. Ricardo Silva, though inconsistent, showed some promise as well, but is he ready to become a full-time starter? I don't really think so. The same assessment could be made for Tyrell Johnson, who was active for only four games last season.
Need going forward?
To me, this position is right up there with defensive end on the list of needs for the Lions. Even if Delmas is re-signed, a need will still exist because you can't count on him to stay healthy. Plus, the Lions probably need to do a bit better than Carey at the other safety spot. From that perspective, the Lions could really use two new starting-caliber safeties in addition to Delmas. Look for the Lions to take a serious look at free-agent safeties and the safeties in this year's draft class.