LIONS INSIDER

Detroit Lions Free Agent Primer: Safety

Posted Mar 4, 2013

Which Detroit Lions are under contract, hitting free agency and who will be on the market?

The Detroit Lions have plenty of needs this offseason and will be shoppers when free agency begins a week from today.

General manager Martin Mayhew and his staff have identified nine of the Lions’ 23 unrestricted free agents as players they’re aggressively pursuing to return in 2013. Free agency is a way to fill in some of the other gaps and add depth and talent to a roster looking for a quick turnaround from a disappointing 4-12 campaign in 2012.

Over the next week, Detroitlions.com will take a look at positions of need for the Lions and who available in free agency might offer some help.

Position: Safety

Lions under contract: Don Carey, Tyrell Johnson, John Wendling

Lions free agents: Louis Delmas, Amari Spievey (restricted), Ricardo Silva (exclusive rights)

Who’s out there: William Moore, Dashon Goldson, Ed Reed, Kenny Phillips, LaRon Landry, Glover Quin, Patrick Chung, Chris Clemons

Louis Delmas

Analysis: If the Lions are able to find themselves a premiere cover safety, every other element of their secondary just got better – a lot better.

Delmas is the heart and soul of the Lions defense, and an impact player when healthy, but that’s just the thing - players can only make an impact when they're available. Delmas has missed 13 games over the last two seasons.

At the NFL Scouting Combine, Mayhew alluded to the fact that Delmas’ future with the team moving forward will be impacted by the status and medical prognosis of those troubling knees.

Ideally, the Lions would like Delmas back to pair him with a good cover safety.

Spievey is in the same boat as Delmas after suffering two concussions in less than a year and four total in his lifetime. It’s more a medical than talent decision.

As far as the free agents go, Moore and Goldson lead the bunch, but they’ll also be heavily pursued by their own teams and will come at a big price tag.

One of the big reasons the Atlanta Falcons dropped $18 million off the books last week with the release of Dunta Robinson, John Abraham and Michael Turner was so they could focus more resources towards signing some of their younger talent – Moore included.

Goldson just might be the all-around best safety in the game right now. He’s a ball hawk as well as a sure and willing tackler all wrapped up in the same package. He’ll likely get Eric Weddle money (5 years, $40 million), or something close, on the open market. The Lions probably aren't players in the market like that.

Clemons played more than 75 percent of his snaps out of the box in coverage, according to profootballfocus.com, but still recorded 98 tackles on the season with two interceptions. At 6-foot-1, 214 pounds, he fits the size profile the Lions like.

An extremely durable safety, Quin, 27, has started every regular season game for the Texans over the last three seasons. He proved to be one of those playmakers the Lions are looking for with 84 tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and a sack in 2012. He's a very underrated player.

Kenny Phillips, 25, is a terrific talent, too, but like Delmas, has a history of knee troubles.