The Detroit Lions have completed the remake of the right side of their offensive line by finding upgrades in free agency with Rick Wagner and T.J. Lang.
It’s been a long time since the Detroit Lions had one of the NFL’s best offensive lines but that is shaping up to be the case in 2017. Taylor Decker proved an upgrade over Riley Reiff at right tackle immediately, Travis Swanson had a breakout season before suffering a season-ending concussion and the Lions have upgraded the entire right side of their line in free agency.
First, it was Rick Wagner signed to take over for Reiff at right tackle. Today, news broke that T.J. Lang will be signing to take over at right guard.
The news was announced by his agent on Twitter.
Lang had spent the last couple days on free agent visits. He left the Lions without signing a deal and spent yesterday with the Seattle Seahwaks. The Green Bay Packers also remained in the mix, with Lang declaring those three teams as the three he would make his final choice from.
Lang graded out as one of the top guards in all of football last season according to Pro Football Focus, ranking eighth. PFF graded out Lang as a competent run blocker but his strength is in pass protection, where only Marshall Yanda received a higher rating. Imagine Matthew Stafford having the kind of time to find a receiver that Aaron Rodgers often gets…
Signing Lang not only is big for the Lions for what he will do for them, but also for the big hole it leaves on the Packers offensive line. Green Bay was very interested in Lang’s return, and don’t have an obvious ready-made replacement. Whoever they do plug in will be a downgrade. The Lions improve at the expense of a division rival.
If there is cause for caution, Lang is recovering from offseason hip surgery that he expects to keep him out until training camp. However, Lang said that the medicals were a big reason to take visits and he got good responses from Packers, Seahawks and Lions team doctors.
It’s a homecoming for Lang, who played his high school ball at Birmingham Brother Rice before heading to Eastern Michigan University.