The Detroit Lions are serious about fixing their right tackle problem, which we identified as their biggest offensive need this offseason. Earlier in the day, Mike Remmers’ agent confirmed that the Lions have reached out to him. Now it appears Lions have chosen to go elsewhere:
The #Lions and OT Ricky Wagner have agreed in principle on a contract, source said. It will eclipse $9M per year, setting a new market.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 8, 2017
Adam Schefter is also reporting that the Wagner “expects to become a Detroit Lion” providing that negotiations don’t break down.
Rick Wagner is considered by some to be the best right tackle option on the free agency market. Pro Football Focus listed Wagner as the seventh-best offensive lineman to hit free agency this year (Riley Reiff was not listed, for what it’s worth). Here’s what the advanced statistics site had to say about Wagner:
His best season came in 2014 when he just missed the top-10 in overall grade, but did rank eighth as a pass blocker, along with an above-average run-blocking grade. Wagner is coming off a similar performance in 2016, with just slight steps back in both aspects of blocking. Sandwiched between those two seasons was a disastrous year in which Wagner allowed a career-high 52 total QB pressures, 20 more than his next-highest season.
The Lions were expected to be in the mix to re-sign Reiff, but it appears they have chosen to move on. Wagner is only 27 years old, so the Lions are staying relatively young on the offensive line, and Wagner should provide some stability to the right tackle position for years to come.