James Ihedigbo's hard work has paid off.
The Detroit Lions signed Ihedigbo to a $3.1 million, two-year contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. The person, who said the deal included a $750,000 signing bonus, spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday on condition of anonymity because the terms had not been announced.
Ihedigbo earned a spot in the NFL after being an undrafted free agent and a walk-on in college.
The Lions plan to put him in the starting lineup next to safety Glover Quin to replace Louis Delmas, who they released last month.
Ihedigbo ranked second in tackles for Baltimore Ravens last season and had three interceptions after having one in his previous five years in the league. He will be reunited with first-year coach Jim Caldwell and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, both of whom were assistant coaches last year in Baltimore.
He started 12 games in 2011 for the New England Patriots and had 67 tackles, ranking fifth on the team. Ihedigbo made his NFL debut with the New York Jets during the 2008 season. He was cut by the Jets the previous year as an undrafted rookie, who went from being a walk-on to a standout at Massachusetts.
Detroit seems to have accomplished its major goals so far this offseason.
The Lions signed former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate and ex-New Orleans Saints fullback Jed Collins as free agents. They also re-signed running back Joique Bell, tight end Brandon Pettigrew and center Dominic Raiola.
The franchise will likely shift its focus on contract talks with defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who is scheduled to count more than $20 million against the salary cap in 2014.
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