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2022 NFL free agency preview: 5 safeties the Detroit Lions should consider

With free agency opening today, the Lions could use an upgrade at safety. Who should they consider?

NFL: Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL’s free agency period kicks off Monday, and you can follow everything as it happens in real time with Pride of Detroit’s offseason tracker. Teams are able to begin legally negotiating with free agents on March 14 at noon ET. And with all of the sparks flying in the past few days, I think it is safe to expect free agency to be more of the same.

In our final installment of the series, we will take a look at the safety position, and how the Detroit Lions may be looking to bolster their ranks once the negotiating window opens.

In line with the rest of the Lions’ defense in 2021, the safety unit had their struggles. Tracy Walker finished the season as the unquestioned leader of the secondary, but is set to be an unrestricted free agent himself after playing out the final year of his rookie contract. Will Harris is entering the final year of his rookie deal, C.J. Moore was just re-signed, and both Brady Breeze and JuJu Hughes are under contract for 2022.

So while the Lions technically enter the new league year with four safeties under contract, the room could certainly use some competition.

Here are a few names to keep an eye on as things begin to get hectic today.

Previously

Marcus Williams

At this point, you are likely familiar with Williams and his connections to the Lions’ coaching staff. Williams spent time with both defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and coach Dan Campbell during his time with the New Orleans Saints.

For the Lions, he would slide seamlessly into their secondary, bringing plenty of range and playmaking to the table. And at only 25 years old, he would theoretically still be in his prime by the time the Lions are getting close to piecing this rebuild together.

He won’t come cheap, but this is one of the few players in this free agency class that I would feel comfortable handing a longer, more expensive deal to.

Marcus Maye

Going in a different direction with this option, Maye is a bit older than Williams at 28 years old, but possesses some of the same versatility. He would be at his best further away from the line of scrimmage, where he can use his experience as a deep free safety, but can perform adequately in other areas of the field as well.

Being a little older and less productive than some other players in this class, Maye would likely command less money than Williams, or our next player to watch.

Quandre Diggs

Another name Lions fans are really familiar with, Diggs returning to Detroit after being unceremoniously shipped out, would really be something.

Since leaving the Lions, Diggs has continued his ascent as a safety in the NFL. One of my favorite aspects of his game—you never have to take him off of the field. He can come down and cover in the slot, patrol the back end in Cover 2, come down and lay the wood against the run. Diggs does it all and does it well. He understands what is happening in front of him and would be an excellent leader both on and off the field.

Like Marcus Williams, Diggs has likely earned himself a payday.

Xavier Woods

Woods started all 17 games for the Minnesota Vikings in 2021, recorded 108 tackles, three interceptions, played close to 100% of their defensive snaps—all on a one-year contract worth $1.75 million.

Being just 26 years old and having only missed four games during his five NFL seasons, he should have more suitors this time around.

Justin Reid

At just 25 years old, Reid would give Aaron Glenn and defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant another young player to mold.

Reid has started 53 games during his time with the Houston Texans, so the experience is there. However, this signing would signal more of a reclamation project, rather than someone brought in to start right away.