Tampa Bay signed one of the Detroit Lions’ defensive backs, Eric Wright, as a free agent this offseason.
Now the Lions have returned the favor.
The Lions confirmed Monday that they’ve signed Tampa Bay’s unrestricted free-agent safety Sean Jones, 30, to a one-year contract. Safety Sam Proctor was released to make room for Jones on Detroit’s 90-man roster
Jones, who has 17 interceptions in his seven-year career, is expected to compete for a starting job with Amari Spievey at the safety spot opposite Louis Delmas.
The Lions are looking for more consistency out of the position than the up-and-down Spievey demonstrated in his first two years in the league. Spievey started 15 games last season, making 70 tackles, three interceptions and one sack.
Spievey, 24, was a cornerback in college at Iowa before being converted to safety by the Lions during his rookie year.
“Amari is still a young player,” coach Jim Schwartz said during the club’s recent mini-camp. “He’s still young at the position. He’s only been playing safety for about a year and a half. He played really well at times and had some games that he didn’t play as well. He needs to get that (inconsistency) off his resume.”
It will be interesting to see how Spievey responds to the challenge with a veteran player like Jones in the mix, trying to take his job.
Jones (6-foot-1, 220 pounds) gives the Lions more size in their secondary than Spievey (5-11, 195).
Jones has made 85 starts during his seven-year career, including all 32 games over the last two seasons at strong safety for Tampa Bay. He had 92 tackles, no interceptions, one sack and one forced fumble last season.
Jones was a second-round draft pick by Cleveland in 2004, but missed all of his rookie year because of a knee injury. He stayed with the Browns through 2008, spent a year with Philadelphia and then signed with Tampa Bay before the 2010 season.