In a cap-related move, the Detroit Lions announced Thursday that they’ve released veteran safety Louis Delmas. Delmas, who will be 27 once next season begins, was a second-round pick back in 2009. Last season, Delmas played in all 16 games for the Lions, recording 64 tackles and picking off three passes.
He’s struggled with health and consistency during his time in the league, but should draw plenty of interest on the open market. Tons of teams out there need help in the defensive backfield, and Delmas could be a relatively cheap plug-in.
The move saves the Lions $6M against the cap next season.
So, who might be interested in the veteran safety? The Lions reportedly are interested in bringing him back at a more reasonable price, but Delmas says he wants to test the market.
The Cowboys had, statistically, one of the worst defenses in the history of the NFL in 2013. A large part of that was terrible safety play, as rookie Jeff Heath was forced into action for the majority of the year. Adding Delmas would bring a much-needed veteran presence to the Cowboys’ defense. While he’s no All-Pro, he’s a good tackler with decent ball instincts, as well.
With the Cowboys likely (one would think) to go defensive line-heavy in the draft, addressing the safety concerns could be a free agency priority for them.
The Texans had the worst record in the league a year ago, and the failed Ed Reed experiment essentially sums up what went wrong in the secondary. Houston has needs all over the field, but they’re going to have to fix their safety problem at some point.
They’ve brought in an entirely new coaching staff, including Romeo Crennel as the new defensive coordinator. Despite the awful season, the Texans appear to still have a solid enough core of talent to conceivably compete for a Super Bowl in the not-too-distant future, especially if they can find themselves a capable quarterback.
Adding a player like Delmas would be a win-now type of move, which is what Houston should be looking for.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams are a team that appears headed down the right path, and they’re just a few pieces away from true contention. They ranked just 19th against the pass last season, which is a number they’ll need to improve upon if they really want to compete with the likes of Seattle, San Francisco and Arizona in that division.
They obviously won’t be drafting a safety with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, so perhaps they’ll hit the free agency wire seeking to fill the need instead.
The Titans may be more interested in a coverage safety than a hard-hitter like Delmas, but they could do a lot worse, as well. They’re another team that has a formidable young defense already in place that just needs a few improvements.
In a division with Andrew Luck and what could be two future stud rookie QBs for Houston and Jacksonville, respectively, the Titans should be looking to try and counter that with strong safety play.
The Bears’ defense was absolutely torn apart by injuries last season, and they’re also not getting any younger. Players like Charles Tillman could be on the way out, and Chicago will almost surely attempt to address their holes via the draft.
Having been with the Lions for years, Delmas is obviously quite familiar with the NFC North, and would be a pretty decent fit with a Chicago team notorious for hard-nosed defenses through the years.