Detroit Lions Upgrade Defensive Line with Signing of Defensive End Israel Idonije

Looking for an insurance policy to help aid in the development of young Ziggy Ansah, the Detroit Lions made a solid move to secure their defensive line in 2013 by signing their former rival Israel Idonije to a one year deal.

Simply put, it was a stunning coup for the Lions to snag Idonije away from NFC competition like the interested San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears, where the defensive end had loyally played the first nine years of his career. With the loss of Kyle Vanden Bosch, the only element Detroit needed was some quality veteran help. There was no recent indication given that the Lions were planning to make another move on the line.

They’ll get veteran assistance and more from the hard working Idonije, who’s play has been remarkable over the past three seasons. Since 2010, he has collected 20.5 sacks, which nearly rivals the output of teammate Julius Peppers. Idonije has only missed one game since 2009, and is a durable workhorse with all of his experience coming in the NFC North. Of his 28.5 career sacks, four have come against the Lions, along with one forced fumble. If nothing else, the Lions have lost a tough opponent from two games during the year.

The move adds an additional element for opponents to fear when lining up against the Lions’ defense. In Detroit’s scheme, where rotation is key, Idonije will be able to stay more fresh and dangerous, perhaps helping Ansah and others with their effectiveness. Idonije can start at defensive tackle as well, providing him with the ability to play a variety of dangerous roles for the Lions and see the field with multiple other tough defenders just as he did in Chicago.

Less than 24 hours after the Chicago Blackhawks captured another Stanley Cup delighting Chicagoans, Detroit quietly managed to capture one of the Bears’ most underrated star defenders. Given the friendly rivalry between the two cities and the impact Idonije can make, it will be a move that’s welcomed by Michiganders while likely being greeted with scorn in the Windy City.

Max DeMara is the managing editor of Lions 101. You can find him on his personal Twitter account @SportsGuyTheMax or on this site’s Twitter @detroitlions101

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