To get ready for free agency, we're going to take a look at each of the Detroit Lions' 2016 free agents. Next up, James Ihedigbo.
15 games (8 starts) | 63 tackles, 1.0 sacks, 2 passes defended, 1 interception, 3 forced fumbles
How he joined the Detroit Lions
Ihedigbo signed a two-year deal with the Lions back in 2014, re-joining his former secondary coach, Teryl Austin.
Case for re-signing him
First, let's be clear: rumors are the Lions have already decided to move on from Ihedigbo. Detroit has yet to comment on these rumors and Ihedigbo himself has not confirmed this report, either.
That being said, a case can be made for retaining Ihedigbo for another couple years. He still displays very good run-stopping abilities, finishing the season with the fourth-most tackles on the team (and the fifth-most tackles for loss). He also finished with the second-highest run defense grade among the team's defensive backs, according to Pro Football Focus.
While Ihedigbo's days as a starter are likely over, he can provide somewhat reliable depth and isn't quite the liability that some make him out to be.
Case against re-signing him
The Lions should re-sign Isa Abdul-Quddus instead, who played better than Ihedigbo across the board, while also adding more value in special teams. Abdul-Quddus is a younger, better player at this point, and should come at a similar price. Ihedigbo is already 32 years old. Time for the Lions to move on.
If the reports are true, the Lions have decided to move on from Ihedigbo and that seems like the right choice. Ihedigbo was benched in two consecutive seasons with Detroit and even had a puzzling contract dispute coming into the 2015 season. My best guess is that both sides wanted to move on when Ihedibgo's contract expired at the of the 2015 season. The Lions will be better served to move younger in the secondary, and Ihedigbo may be able to find a team more desperate of a veteran safety.
Previously: QB Dan Orlovsky, WR Lance Moore, TE Bear Pascoe, DT Tyrunn Walker, DT Jermelle Cudjo, DT Haloti Ngata, DE Jason Jones, DE Darryl Tapp, DE Corey Wootton, LB Tahir Whitehead, LB Travis Lewis, CB Josh Wilson, S Isa Abdul-Quddus