Well, this comes out of left field: Safety James Ihedigbo is planning to hold out of the Detroit Lions' offseason workouts, according to WXYZ's Brad Galli. Why? Well, Ihedigbo apparently wants a new contract, and based on what his agent told WXYZ, the Lions shouldn't expect to see Ihedigbo for any of their voluntary workouts until a new deal is in place. From WXYZ:
The 31-year old does not plan to report to any Lions offseason activities until he and the team come to terms on a new contract, his agent said on Tuesday. [...]
Ihedigbo’s agent said he recently told the Lions they won’t see the safety at voluntary workouts, which begin April 20. OTA sessions take place from May 26-28, June 2-4, and June 8-11. Mandatory minicamp is June 16-18.
Ihedigbo had an excellent season overall, but it's not like he's being paid the veteran's minimum or anything. When he signed a two-year deal with the Lions last offseason, he got a $750,000 signing bonus, and he also got a $500,000 roster bonus this offseason. On top of that, each year of his deal includes $25,000 in workout bonuses, and he's set to receive a base salary of $1.1 million in 2015.
In other words, I'm just not sure why Ihedigbo thinks he's deserving of a new deal. He did grade out as the No. 14 safety in the NFL during the regular season, according to Pro Football Focus, and he had a penchant for creating turnover opportunities with four interceptions and three forced fumbles. However, the Lions actually benched Ihedigbo in Week 17 because of his inconsistent play, and he had a rough game against the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs as well.
Needless to say, I can't imagine the Lions have any interest in giving a new contract to a 31-year-old safety who struggled in the two most important games of the 2014 season. It's not like this is a top-five safety who is being wildly underpaid, so I'm really not sure what Ihedigbo and his agent are thinking. Blowing off offseason workouts doesn't seem like the right way to solve this. If anything, this may give Isa Abdul-Quddus a better opportunity to show that he is deserving of the starting strong safety job, and then the Lions would really have no reason to meet Ihedigbo's demands.