Free agency will officially begin on Thursday at 4 p.m. ET, but we already have a pretty good idea what the Detroit Lions’ first move will be. On Wednesday, several sources reported that the Lions had agreed, in principle, to bring in offensive tackle Ricky Wagner for somewhere around $9 million per year.
The move spells the end for Riley Reiff’s time in Detroit. The veteran linemen had spent the five season as part of the Lions offensive line, starting 69 games total since 2012.
The move was a bit of a surprise by the Lions, considering general manager Bob Quinn had said last week that the Lions were speaking with Reiff and working towards a possible contract extension. Instead, the Lions are bringing in Wagner, who Jim Caldwell coached for a single year back with Baltimore in 2013.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
What grade do you give the Lions for signing Ricky Wagner this offseason?
My answer: A-. Though we don’t know the details of the contract to give the move a completely fair analysis, this signing makes a ton of sense. As mentioned in my article on Wednesday, not only does this signing improve Detroit’s offensive line, but it prevents Chicago and Minnesota from adding a talented player.
The money issue is not at all an issue to me. Some may be bothered by spending that much on a right tackle, but it was only a matter of time before right tackles started to get paid closer to what left tackles earn. The positions are getting closer and closer to synonymous on the field, but, regardless, the Lions only paid what the market value was, and they have plenty of room to spend that sort of money.
Overall, the only real issue I had with the signing is that I thought bringing Reiff back may have cost around the same and would have kept some of the chemistry intact from last year. The fact that Wagner is a slight upgrade at every facet of the game eases those worries.