The Detroit Lions released long time free safety Glover Quin last week, and not only did he leave a hole in the hearts of all Lions fans, but also in the teams secondary. Detroit is now left without a back end safety who can play center field in head coach Matt Patricia’s defense.
Today we will take a look at some of the safety talent that is available that can fit into Quin’s role. First, here are some names you might recognize that wont be on the list:
I’m told that Giants S Landon Collins cleaned out his locker today at the team facility and said his goodbyes to teammates, coaches and trainers. It doesn’t seem like Collins expects to be a Giant for much longer, per sources.— ig: josinaanderson (@JosinaAnderson) February 20, 2019
The Giants free safety may hit the open market after all, but would still be incredibly expensive and maybe out of the teams range with so many other needs to account for.
Tyrann Mathieu: The Honey Badger would be a welcome addition in Detroit but he would not fit Quin’s role, and Detroit already has the likes of Quandre Diggs and Tracy Walker to fill a similar role that he would.
Now for the list:
Earl Thomas (Seattle Seahawks)
The longtime Seattle Seahawk and founding member of the Legion of Boom is set to hit the free agent market. Thomas had a very public contract dispute with the Seahawks last season that resulted in him taking a “soft” hold out. He eventually suffered a season-ending injury and many believed that he would never take the field wearing a Seahawks uniform again.
Thomas is one of the greatest free safeties to ever play football. Even coming off of a fractured leg he will still command a huge market for his services. Unfortunately for Detroit, this makes him a very expensive option. The Lions may be a step behind the pack as well, as both the Kansas City Chiefs and Thomas’ hometown Dallas Cowboys were apparently close to trading for him last season and will be the front runners for him this spring.
Trey Boston (Arizona Cardinals)
Arizona landed Boston on a cheap, one-year deal last season and the safety impressed. He intercepted three passes and defended nine others and served as a bright spot on a horrible Cardinals team.
There should be a lot more interest in the safety this season compared to last, and he may earn a multi-year deal on the open market. Boston has some flaws but his range in the defensive backfield is great and a move back to free safety — played mostly as a strong safety alongside Mathieu in Arizona — could see him perform even better.
Lamarcus Joyner (Los Angeles Rams)
Joyner played on the franchise tag last season for the NFC Champion Rams. While statistically he was not great, only intercepting one pass and breaking up three others, he did fine in his role as a back end safety. Los Angeles has a lot of valuable free agents that they must re-sign this offseason, though, and Joyner could be the odd man out.
The 28-year old might be looking for one last long term deal before he hangs up the cleats and should have a decently sized market. His veteran presence would be valuable in Detroit as well.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Washington)
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was one of the top safeties in the league before the 2018 season. The safety was traded at the deadline from the Green Bay Packers to Washington and regressed hard. While some of it may be natural regression, the safety was playing out of position.
Clinton-Dix was a great back end free safety in Green Bay, but Washington’s abundance of safety talent forced him to play in the box. He struggled a bit, but a move back to the backfield in Detroit could help his career get back on track. The safety is young and may be expensive, but he would also be a long term solution for Detroit’s need in the secondary.
George Iloka (Minnesota Vikings)
Iloka was surprisingly cut by the Cincinnati Bengals late in the 2018 offseason and was quickly scooped up by the Vikings. He spent much of the 2018 season as a backup, but was incredible in his prior seasons for the Bengals.
The safety is an interesting, and maybe risky, option. While we do have six years of good film on him, the mysterious release from the Bengals and then lack of utilization by the Vikings are red flags. Has he regressed? Why aren’t teams putting his talent to use?
If all the other above options are taken or too expensive then Detroit may take a flyer on Iloka, but they will know the risks in giving him a long-term deal.