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Detroit Lions inquire about Browns' T.J. Ward

The Detroit Lions are dipping a paw into the waters of free agency to test the temperature of the defensive backfield market.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Saturday that the Lions inquired about Cleveland Browns safety T.J. Ward.

The three-day negotiating period for teams opened Saturday, meaning Detroit now can discuss possible contracts with agents of players, like Ward, who will become free agents on Tuesday.

Ward makes sense for the Lions, who released hard-hitting safety Louis Delmas. While Detroit has expressed interest in bringing back Delmas at a cheaper rate, the safety has more that a few suitors.

Ward could slide into what was Delmas' role in Detroit, alongside 2013 signee Glover Quin (five-year, $25 million contract). Ward is better at filling the box against the run than in coverage. Pro Football Focus graded him its third overall safety for 2013. However, the 27-year-old can be exposed in the passing game.

As the second-rated safety on the market, the question is what will be Ward's price tag once free agency opens. The Lions don't currently have a ton of cap space, but they hope to create some by extending Ndamukong Suh and lowering his $22 million cap number.

Detroit also reportedly has interest in cornerback Alterraun Verner as the team tries to upgrade its mediocre secondary.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" picks the biggest free agent bargains and plays the revolutionary game: "Get my lunch."

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