Quin hopes secondary mate Ihedigbo returns to Lions

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Lions safety James Ihedigbo is not participating in the team's voluntary workouts, hoping to land a better contract.

Allen Park — Lions free safety Glover Quin had the best season of his career in 2014, and strong safety James Ihedigbo's physical presence played a key role in his success.

But, after a strong first season in Detroit, Ihedigbo is hoping for a raise and not participating in the Lions' voluntary offseason program, creating some doubt about his future with the team.

Quin and Ihedigbo formed one of the top safety tandems last season. Quin played in the Pro Bowl after leading the NFL with seven interceptions and said Wednesday that Ihedigbo helped create opportunities for him. Ihedigbo finished last season with seven tackles for loss, four interceptions, three forced fumbles and two sacks.

"He added a lot," Quin said. "You look at the playmaking ability that he had, and he's a physical force. He's a veteran guy, a leader, experienced, he's won a Super Bowl, so he brought a lot to the table for us. I'm not going to downplay it.

"He freed me up to not have to get in the box and play with those 400-pounders all day, get to run around on the back end and have some fun and catch a couple passes."

Ihedigbo — whom Quin called a "key part" of the Lions No. 2-ranked defense last year — was set to make $1.6 million this year on the second and final year of a deal he signed last offseason. That salary pales in comparison to other strong safeties around the league with similar production in 2014.

But the Lions are hesitant to give Ihedigbo a raise after seeing the 31-year-old play his worst two games of the season in Week 17 and in the playoff loss to the Cowboys.

Quin said he hasn't spoken to Ihedigbo since arriving Monday in Detroit for the offseason program, but the two talked nearly every day when they trained together in Houston, which they're doing for the second straight year. Quin thinks there's plenty of time for the two sides to come to an agreement.

"Obviously, he's got to make a decision for him and his family, and it is what it is," he said. "We're going to work and trust that when (Ihedigbo) comes in he'll be ready to go."

As much as Quin hopes Ihedigbo and the Lions can reach an agreement, he didn't want to project what might happen with any negotiations.

"He's a great friend of mine, great teammate," Quin said. "I had fun playing with him. so I would hope (he's back). But, like I said, I have no control over that from his standpoint and the Lions' standpoint. All I can do is control what I can control and that is my effort, my attitude and the guys that I'm here to work with."