FREE AGENT NOTEBOOK: Lions sign Tapp; meet with Ihedigbo; sign Martin

Posted Mar 13, 2014

The Lions add depth to their defensive line and move closer to getting a new starting safety

The Lions lost a defense end Thursday morning and gained another Thursday afternoon.

Darryl TappDarryl Tapp (Photo: AP Images)

With the news that former Lions defensive end Willie Young has signed a three-year, $9 million deal in free agency with Chicago, the Lions moved quickly to fill his spot.

The team signed former Washington, Philadelphia and Seattle pass rusher Darryl Tapp to fill the void. Tapp broke the news himself on Intagram, which read: "It was a honor and pleasure to play for my favorite team growing my journey continues in the "D"...#Lionblood"

Tapp will add depth to the Lions defensive end unit behind Ziggy Ansah, Jason Jones and Devin Taylor.

He played in 11 games in Washington last season with one sack.

Tapp has a couple seasons with 7 and 5.5 sacks, respectively, while with Seattle.

He has 267 career tackles and 25 sacks in eight seasons.


The Lions need to find a replacement for safety Louis Delmas and head coach Jim Caldwell and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin might choose a familiar face to fill the job.

The team met with free agent safety James Ihedigbo in Allen Park on Thursday. Ihedigbo left without a deal, but said he hopes to sign with Detroit after talking things over with his family.

The 6-foot-1, 214-pound Ihedigbo starting all 16 games for the Ravens last year recording 101 tackles with 11 passes defensed, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.

He is a terrific in-the-box kind of safety, who should compliment the better cover safety the Lions have in Glover Quin.

Austin spent the last two seasons with Ihedigbo as the Ravens' secondary coach, and Caldwell is familiar with him as well being the Ravens' offensive coordinator for the past two years.

Austin spoke glowingly of Ihedigbo in his introductory press conference with the Lions when asked about leadership.

“I think one of the things we did that helped foster leadership was we had a player mentoring program where I know in our room we had James Ihedigbo, he would take one of the younger safeties and say, ‘Hey, listen. Here’s how things are done. Here’s how we do it,'” Austin said.

“'This is right, this is wrong.’ We tried to mentor our guys that way and that helps develop leadership within the room. Once you get it within the room, the guys who have the strongest personality or best leadership qualities, they’ll kind of start taking over that way.”


The Lions also came to terms with free agent defensive tackle Vaughn Martin, who they hope can compete for their fourth defensive tackle spot behind Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and C.J. Mosley.

His agent confirmed the deal via Twitter. The team isn’t likely to announce the deal officially until Friday.

A fourth-round selection by the Chargers in the 2009, Martin spent four seasons in San Diego, starting 27 games his last two seasons there.

He signed with Miami before last season but appeared in just three games with the before suffering a hernia injury.

Martin (6-4, 300) recorded his best season in 2011, when he had 47 tackles and a sack in 15 starts.


Tom Lewand, on WJR-760 Thursday morning on the chain reaction effect of signing Tate.

“We’re always looking to make our team better,” Lewand said. “We start with those areas where we think a particular signing can make a huge difference and Golden Tate’s signing fits into that category. He can be the weapon on the opposite side of Calvin that defenses have to pay attention to. It gives Matthew another outlet. It gives us another dynamic to the offense that we haven’t had in quite a while.

“It accomplishes a lot of different things. As far as the chain reaction goes, the market’s now at a point in free-agency where there may be some opportunities in a “quote-unquote” bargain basis to add some guys that can come in immediately and give us that much more flexibility in the draft to get the best players in here regard of position.”

NOTE: New receiver Golden Tate will wear No. 15. He wore No. 81 in Seattle, but that number belong to a guy named Megatron in Detroit.