By: Will Burchfield
This has to be music to Matthew Stafford’s ears.
The Lions, all of a sudden, have two of the best pass-blockers in football.
Detroit has reportedly agreed to terms with free agent right tackle Ricky Wagner, who spent his first four NFL seasons with the Ravens. He’ll team up with 2016 All-Rookie left tackle Taylor Decker to give the Lions two anchors on the offensive line.
Per Ian Rapoport, Wagner’s deal is worth $9 million per season. That will make him the second highest paid right tackle in the NFL in terms of average annual salary, trailing only Philadelphia’s Lane Johnson, who makes $11.252 million per year.
That’s a lot of money, no doubt about it. But talent doesn’t come cheap, and more importantly, Decker’s rookie deal helps balance things out.
Lions general manager Bob Quinn indicated he was open to making a big move in free agency, telling reporters last week, “I think there are some of those top-end guys that we would like to take a shot at.”
It appears he wasn’t blowing smoke. In fact, the second-year GM is proving to be a major player in free agency, having made two big-money signings in as many years at the helm. Last year, he handed out a five-year, $40 million contract to wide receiver Marvin Jones.
Wagner, 27, was the Ravens’ fifth-round draft pick in 2013. His arrival in Detroit likely spells the end for right tackle Riley Reiff, who looks poised to cash in as a free agent.
The Lions can’t officially sign Wagner until free agency opens at 4 p.m. on Thursday.