James Ihedigbo

James Ihedigbo Announces Retirement

Veteran safety James Ihedigbo is calling it a career. The 34-year-old announced his retirement this evening via an Instagram post.

The 2007 undrafted free agent out of Massachusetts ended up having a 10-year career in the NFL, including stints with the Jets, Patriots, Ravens, Lions, and Bills. The veteran’s best season came back in 2013 with the Ravens, when he finished the campaign with 101 tackles, 11 passes defended, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles.

Following his two-year tenure in Baltimore, Ihedigbo bounced between Detroit and Buffalo. His last NFL stint came in 2016, when he compiled 16 tackles in four games (three starts) with the Bills. Unfortunately, the veteran landed on the injured reserve early on in the season, ending his final season prematurely. The veteran failed to pick up a gig for the 2017 campaign, and he would have been required to serve a four-game suspension had he landed on a new team.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: 49ers, NFLPA, OBJ, Ihedigbo

Pass rusher Elvis Dumervil told Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area that he spoke with a “handful of teams” between his release from the Ravens in March and his signing with the 49ers this week. In the end, Dumervil’s familiarity with general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan helped direct him to San Francisco. Dumervil played with Lynch in Denver from 2006-07, when Kyle Shanahan’s father, Mike Shanahan, was the Broncos’ coach. The elder Shanahan drafted Dumervil, who has since racked up 99 sacks. Now, even though he’s 33 and coming off an Achilles injury that limited him to eight games last season, Dumervil feels “great” and believes he has “a few years left, for sure.”

More from around the league:

  • The NFL Players Association has taken issue with around 160 rookie contracts, believing those deals are in violation of the collective bargaining agreement, reports Dan Graziano of ESPN.com. The union is considering filing a grievance to void those agreements, with spokesman George Atallah stating, “The CBA explicitly prohibits players from some of the language that we have seen the clubs attempt to impose in these deals. We are considering all of our options to protect the players and enforce the CBA.” In the NFLPA’s estimation, the majority of the league’s 32 teams – 25 or 26 – have included prohibited language in rookie contracts this year.
  • Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. could land a $100MM contract eventually. For now, though, the Giants have all the leverage, observes Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com. Beckham’s on a dirt-cheap $1.8MM salary this season, and he’s controllable in 2018 via an eminently affordable fifth-year option ($8.5MM). After that, Beckham could get the $18.3MM franchise tag in 2019, meaning he’d only cost Big Blue $28.6MM over the next three seasons. Even if the Giants were to tag Beckham again in 2020, the four-year total would still be a more-than-reasonable $50.6MM.
  • Free agent safety James Ihedigbo was recently slapped with a four-game suspension and is coming off a season in which he landed on IR after breaking his leg, but he is optimistic about his chances of suiting up in 2017, as Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com writes. Ihedigbo says his leg is completely healed and that he has received interest from several teams in recent weeks.
  • Patriots receiver Julian Edelman‘s two-year, $11MM extension comes with $500K workout and roster bonuses in both seasons, $500K in available incentives in 2018 and $3.5MM in available incentives in 2019, per Tom Curran of CSNNE.com.

Rory Parks contributed to this post.

James Ihedigbo Facing Suspension

Free agent safety James Ihedigbo, linebacker Jason Fanaika, and long snapper Josh Latham will all have to serve suspensions if/when they sign with teams, according to Howard Balzer of BalzerFootball.com (on Twitter). They are all facing four-game bans, though the causes for each are not immediately clear. James Ihedigbo (vertical)

Last year, Ihedigbo hooked on with the Bills in November and became a starter almost immediately. Unfortunately, the veteran landed on IR weeks later and never returned. In February, the veteran expressed interest in returning to Buffalo, but we haven’t heard his name mentioned much otherwise this offseason. The 33-year-old (34 in December) may be past his prime, but he’s not all that far removed from his best career year which came in 2014.

Fanaika signed a futures deal with the Steelers in the winter but did not make it into the summer with Pittsburgh. Latham was picked up by the Jets in February but was released in late April just prior to the draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Rumors: Texans, Patriots, Ihedigbo

While upgrading at quarterback will be a priority for the Texans, reaching an agreement to keep A.J. Bouye in Houston will be the AFC South champions’ top priority, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle notes. This gels with what came out of Houston last week, with a report indicating the team eyes a Bouye re-up and a DeAndre Hopkins extension. Finishing behind only the Broncos’ standout pair on Pro Football Focus’ 2016 cornerback rankings, Bouye emerged as one of 2016’s top breakout players, and McClain Chronicle comrade Aaron Wilson expects the fifth-year player to secure a deal that pays him upwards of $13MM annually. Bouye comes in at No. 7 on PFR’s Free Agent Power Rankings.

Here’s more from Houston and some other AFC locales.

  • Bob McNair said the Texans will target a young quarterback in the draft after an investment in Brock Osweiler did not generate much this season. This means the team does not stand to be a player in the Tony Romo sweepstakes. At least, that was the last update coming out of Houston. But McClain expects the Texans to take a look at Romo if he hits free agency. McClain agrees with NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport by saying the Texans won’t be interested in trading for Romo, and the longtime Houston reporter notes the soon-to-be 37-year-old quarterback will have to take a big pay cut if he wants to play for the Texans. However, McClain doesn’t expect the team to bypass this potentially high-caliber stopgap solution entirely.
  • No surprise walkoff retirement appears to be in the cards for Tom Brady, with the 39-year-old passer relishing in the joy of the Patriots‘ most recent Super Bowl championship and saying on Instagram (via Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com) the mythical nature of winning championships is “why I’ll never stop as long as I’m able.” Brady insisted he wants to play into his mid-40s, and remaining a top-tier quarterback by that time would put him on uncharted terrain. Brett Favre serves as basically the only comparison of a 40-year-old high-end passer. The Patriots, though, aren’t counting on a slowdown soon, planning an extension after the 2017 season.
  • Malcolm Butler will be a restricted free agent, and Joel Corry of CBS Sports (via Twitter) expects the Patriots to place a rare first-round tender on their top cornerback. Corry anticipates that price to come in at nearly $4MM after settling in at just over $3.6MM last year. Another team would have to surrender a first-round pick to sign Butler in the event the Patriots don’t match the offer sheet.
  • James Ihedigbo became a starter almost immediately after signing with the Bills late in the season, and although the veteran safety ended his year on IR, he wants to return to the Bills, he told the team’s website. The 33-year-old Ihedigbo made three starts for the Bills, his fifth NFL employer, last season.

Bills Place James Ihedigbo On IR

The Bills announced that they have placed safety James Ihedigbo on injured reserve. The team has also released outside linebacker Bryson Albright while promoting safety Shamiel Gary and tackle Michael Ola from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. James Ihedigbo (vertical)

Ihedigbo was looking for work all season long before finally signing with the Bills one month ago. In his four games with Buffalo, the vet made three starts and recorded a total of 15 tackles with one pass deflection. Unfortunately, sustained an ankle injury during Sunday’s loss to the Steelers. Six of those 15 tackles came against Pittsburgh before his early exit. It has been an injury-filled season for the Bills and Ihedigbo is the latest notable to go down.

Gary joined Buffalo’s taxi squad on Dec. 1 after spending time on the Patriots’ p-squad. He has appeared in six NFL games in his career, all of which came with the Dolphins in 2015.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Sign James Ihedigbo

Finally, James Ihedigbo has found work in 2016. The veteran defensive back has signed with the Bills, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). James Ihedigbo (Vertical)

Ihedigbo comes to Buffalo roughly two weeks after safety Aaron Williams was placed on injured reserve. Williams’ neck injury left the Bills with a less-than-stellar group of safeties to draw from, leading the Bills to add a proven veteran in Ihedigbo. Although Ihedigbo did not play well in 2015, he is not far removed from his career-best season in 2014.

The veteran, who has history with Rex Ryan when they were both with the Jets, finished out 2015 as Pro Football Focus’ No. 64 ranked safety out of 69 qualifiers. The year before that, Ihedigbo was strong as he saw time at both strong safety and free safety. The Dolphins passed on him as a depth option last month, but he could be in store for a feature role in the Bills’ banged up secondary.

To make room, Duke Williams has been cut by Buffalo. The former fourth-round pick took to Twitter to thank Bills fans for their support on Tuesday afternoon. The safety appeared in every regular season game for the Bills last season but has not seen the field in 2016.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Work Out Jeron Johnson, James Ihedigbo

The Bills auditioned a group of safeties on this week, including Jeron JohnsonJames Ihedigbo, and Danny McCray, as Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. The Bills already signed Sergio Brown out of that workout, so it doesn’t sound like Johnson et al will be signing with Buffalo at this time. Jeron Johnson (vertical)

After serving as a reserve defensive back and a special-teamer for several years with the Seahawks, Johnson signed with the Redskins last year with the hope of getting more playing time. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the kind of burn he was hoping for. This yea, Johnson had a quiet offseason before hooking on with the Chiefs in August. They dropped him in September, leaving him to roam the workout circuit. Since then, Johnson has shown his stuff for the Giants, Ravens, and Bills but has not found a home.

After starting 21 games for the Lions over the past two seasons, safety Ihedigbo has been unable to find work this season and he hasn’t had much in the way of auditions either. His late October tryout for the Dolphins was his first known workout of the season and the Bills visit marks his second. Last year, the 32-year-old was ranked as Pro Football Focus’ No. 64 safety out of 69 qualifiers. However, 2014 was arguably his best season ever.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Working Out Safeties

The Dolphins are auditioning a group of safeties today, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). That bunch includes James Ihedigbo, Major Wright, and Sergio BrownJames Ihedigbo (Vertical)

After starting 21 games for the Lions over the past two seasons, safety James Ihedigbo has been unable to find work this season. In fact, today’s workout with Miami marks his first known free agent visit of the year. At the age of 32, it seems that Ihedigbo’s stock has gone down. Last year, his production slipped and he lost his starting job to Isa Abdul-Quddus later on in the year. The veteran finished out 2015 as Pro Football Focus’ No. 64 ranked safety out of 69 qualifiers. At the same time, 2014 was Ihedigbo’s best NFL season and it seems possible that he could get back to his old form just two years later.

Wright was cut by the Bucs in late August and we haven’t heard his name mentioned since he worked out for the Panthers days later. Brown, meanwhile, was cut by the Falcons around the same time. The safety played in at least ten games in each of his six seasons and is actually coming off of one of his best seasons. In 2015 with the Jaguars, Brown racked up 38 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

The Dolphins have been thinned out at safety after losing star Reshad Jones for the season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Safety James Ihedigbo

After starting 21 games for the Lions over the past two seasons, safety James Ihedigbo has been sitting on the open market since his contract expired this spring. And while he hasn’t yet taken any known free agent visits, Ihedigbo expressed confidence to SiriusXM NFL Radio that he’ll find a landing spot before the regular season begins.James Ihedigbo (Vertical)

[RELATED: Updated Detroit Lions depth chart]

“The thing about this part of the game and just the business aspect of it, teams are going to want to see if their young guys got it — they want to see guys that they drafted two years ago, if they can play at a high level, if they can handle the mental aspect of the game more than special teams, of playing offense and defense,” said Ihedigbo. “And then you have to account for the injury rate. It happens every year, the first week of training camp, guys go down or guys aren’t performing up to management’s expectation, and that’s when guys like myself get that phone call.

“Yeah, could my agent possibly get me a league-minimum deal with somebody right now? Yeah. But at the other end of it, you increase your value if you were to just patiently wait for that opportunity, which tends to happen every year.”

Ihedigo did say that he has received inquiries from clubs, with teams wondering if he’s staying in shape in the hopes of earning a roster spot. But Ihedigbo is probably correct in that he’ll have to wait for an injury before he garners any serious interest. That’s partly due to his age (32), and partly due to his production in 2015, when he lost his starting job to Isa Abdul-Quddus down the stretch and ultimately ranked as the No. 64 safety among 89 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus, grading much better against the run than the pass. As recently as 2014, however, Ihedigbo posted the best season of his career, so he’s not far removed from above-average play.

Ihedigbo said in May that he’d like to play for his hometown Texans, and that’s a match that might make sense on paper. Ihedigbo is a similar player to fellow free agent safety Donte Whitner, for whom I recently listed eight potential landing spots, so many of the fits I outlined could be logical for Ihedigbo, as well.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC South Notes: Ihedigbo, Texans, Conklin

James Ihedigbo is looking for work and he says he’d love to play for his hometown team, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle writes.

I would love to play for the Houston Texans,” Ihedigbo said. “I think it’s a great fit. It could be a great fit for both of us. I could definitely add to an already stout defense.”

The Texans currently have six safeties behind presumptive starters Eddie Pleasant and Andre Hal. It remains to be seen whether they would displace one of their reserves to give the 32-year-old a chance.

Here’s more from the AFC South:

  • First-round pick Jack Conklin is working at both left and right tackle in his early days with the Titans, Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com writes. Conklin is projected to start at right tackle this season, but he could also be the team’s top option in the event that left tackle Taylor Lewan gets hurt. Conklin, taken with the No. 8 overall pick, played at right tackle in his first three games at Michigan State before moving to left tackle primarily.
  • Bjoern Werner‘s minimum salary deal with the Jaguars gives him an $80K bonus if he makes the roster and an extra $300K if he reaches a certain sack total, Tom Pelissero of USA Today tweets. Werner, 25, inked a prove-it deal with Jacksonville last week. The former first-round pick appeared in 38 games over the last three years for the Colts, including 16 starts. In that time, the Florida State alum registered 77 tackles (61 solo), 6.5 sacks, five passes defensed, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries. However, the majority of Werner’s production came in his first two years in the league.
  • The Colts named Todd Vasvari as their senior player personnel scout, Matt Terpening as the assistant director of college scouting, and Brandon Brown as an advanced scout, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets. The Colts also named Chad Henry as their east regional scout and Joey Elliott as a pro scout (Twitter link).