The Detroit Lions will enter the 2014 season with Glover Quin Jr. and offseason signing James Ihedigbo as their safety duos, as Ihedigbo will replace Louis Delmas, who joined the Miami Dolphins. Ihedigbo spent most of his career as a sub-standard safety due to being a liability in coverage, so his main contributions were as a locker room leader and on special teams. But last season as the Baltimore Ravens SS, things clicked for Ihedigbo under Ravens DBs coach Teryl Austin, who will be the veteran’s defensive coordinator in Detroit. Quin spent the 2013 season as the “strong safety” in name across from Delmas, but he’s a true FS as a converted CB, and the Lions didn’t use clearly defined safety roles last season. That will change under Jim Caldwell and Austin this year, because Ihedigbo is clearly an in-the-box safety, while Quin’s skill-set is best used in coverage (he can play a box role if needed).
Per a source close to ESPN NFL Nation’s Michael Rothstein, the Lions have restructured Quin’s contract today, and it’s a straight-up restructured deal that doesn’t involve any sort of extension. That makes things even more interesting, since Quin was easily the team’s best defensive back last season and won’t vanquish that title, unless if Darius Slay explodes in his second season.
Quin is due to earn just $3.5 million this season, and he is signed until 2018. I don’t see how the Lions could get away with paying one of the league’s most underrated safeties less money, so I wonder how exactly this restructuring his going down. Is he making more? I think the most likely answer is that they are allocating money to a signing bonus in order to shave off some cap space, but that’s all speculation at this point; it will be interesting to see what Martin Mayhew did here.
Update: Rothstein tweets that Quin isn’t making less money. As expected, the Lions are simply turning his base salary into a signing bonus in order to save some cap room, which is the most common form of restructuring.