The Detroit Lions had a need for a right tackle with Riley Reiff‘s contract expiring, and they have reportedly landed an upgrade.
The chances of Riley Reiff returning to the Detroit Lions are apparently gone. According to a report from Yahoo’s Rand Getlin, the Lions will be signing former Baltimore Ravens right tackle Ricky Wagner.
The Lions’ interest was earlier reported by Alex Marvez.
Wagner graded out as the 18th-best tackle in the league last season according to Pro Football Focus. PFF gave him more favorable grades for his pass blocking than his run blocking, but he came out ahead of Reiff, who ranked 48th, in both areas.
Getting an upgrad on the free agent market is never cheap, and this reportedly is no exception. Ian Rapoport adds that the deal is in the $9 million range annually.
There was speculation that it would take a deal at or near the top of the right tackle market to re-sign Reiff. That market had been set in the $6 million to $7 million range but Reiff’s performance didn’t line up with the level of guys like Ryan Schraeder and Mitchell Schwartz who got those kinds of deals.
Wagner, however, does compare favorably to those players, so it makes sense that he would get a market-setting deal (that’s just what happens in free agency). If you’re going to be spending some money, it’s always better to give it to the superior player.
Deals can’t become official until tomorrow since we’re still in the negotiation period prior to the official opening of free agency. The new league year begins at 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon, at which time Wagner can officially put pen to paper.