Every day we'll take a look at one of the Detroit Lions heading for free agency, what he has meant to the team before and a prognosis on whether he'll be back with the club in 2014.
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Free agent to be: Louis Delmas
Years in the league: 5
What he made last season: $1,215,000 (cap value); $1,715,000 (cash value); $715,000 (base salary); $1,000,000 (signing bonus); $1,750,000 (playing time bonus).
What he did last season: After signing a deal with the Lions prior to last season following an injury-plagued 2011 and 2012 seasons, Delmas played in every game in 2013 and almost every snap. He had one of the more productive seasons of his career, making 64 tackles, sacking the quarterback twice and grabbing a career-high three interceptions. He also developed a good rapport with Glover Quin, his safety partner, and it helped him have a good start to the season. Delmas struggled toward the end of the year with his paths to the ball and his reads. He also missed some tackles.
His potential market value: Decent. Delmas would have a much higher value if not for his knees, which will be a concern for any team that does choose to sign him. He was limited to one practice a week because of his ailing knees and the condition doesn't appear to be one that will magically become better over time considering he plays football. But he was available for every game, which was a major factor in him becoming potentially a priority free agent for teams. There appears to at least be some interest in him since he has visited with clubs since being released by Detroit last month.
Will he fit the Lions still: Probably not. When general manager Martin Mayhew discussed Delmas at the combine, it didn't sound totally promising he would bring the veteran safety back. There is a never-say-never thought process to it if Delmas can't find what he wants in free agency, but there is a decent chance a team will take more of a chance on him than the Lions will. Detroit will almost certainly bring in a safety either through free agency or an early round of the draft in hopes they can take Delmas' place. The other option would be Don Carey, who signed a three-year extension in December, or Isa Abdul-Quddus, who signed a one-year deal with Detroit after being released by New Orleans. Both have played safety in games before.
What happens: Delmas might not get all he is looking for in the free-agent market -- if he did, he probably would have already joined a team instead of just heading to Pittsburgh and other places for workouts -- but someone will sign him. He is a quality player with an injury history, so teams are going to be wary of that, as mentioned above, but he could be an upgrade over many other players on teams or a team looking for a strong third safety. If he is still sitting around in mid-to-late April, he could end up back in Detroit, but the thought here is that he will likely end up somewhere else before that.