The Detroit Lions agreed to sign Halapoulivaati Vaitai on Monday, and that move was met with some skepticism on the outside given the length of the contract and the money that was dished out.
Detroit will reportedly give Vaitai a 5 year, $50 million dollar contract, and that’s something which former NFL general manager Michael Lombardi was none too pleased with. After the agreement was leaked, Lombardi took to Twitter to criticize the move, wondering if the Lions had paid attention to how Vaitai had played in 2019.
It wasn’t simply Lombardi wondering about the move, though. Peter Bukowski pointed out some stats which prove the tough season Vaitai had on the field in terms of pass blocking and how poorly he graded out for his work on the field.
The Lions will hope that Vaitai’s versatility and ability to be a solid run blocker will mean the most in the end. Still, that doesn’t chance the fact that several people aren’t exactly thrilled with the team’s big expenditure.
Lions Agreed With Halapoulivaati Vaitai
Monday, according to reports, the team agreed to terms with Vaitai, an offensive lineman formally of the Philadelphia Eagles.
NFL insider Adam Caplan revealed that the Lions would be signing Vaitai to a five year contract that would be worth $50 million dollars.
As Caplan also noted, Vaitai is likely to play right tackle for the Lions.
Vaitai will now replace the released Rick Wagner up front in Detroit, and will be charged to be better than some of the expectations folks have for him.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai Statistics
Vaitai, out of TCU, is only 26 years old and has 20 career starts under his belt from his time with the Eagles. Vaitai has also played in 55 NFL games in his career, and was a former fifth round pick of the Eagles in 2016.
Vaitai helped the Eagles win Super Bowl LII, and is an up and coming lineman. The team will now try to change their fortunes up front with a key free agent who can play either tackle spot or guard, even though Vaitai is an offensive tackle by trade.
That versatility was likely the huge selling point in the end for the Lions, as Caplan pointed out.
Lions Cap Space in 2020
Detroit will have a decent chunk of change to spend this offseason, having restructured Matthew Stafford’s deal and completed numerous releases to push their cap space to just over $50 million dollars for the coming season. With this money, the Lions will have multiple different needs to address including the defensive line, secondary as well as potential upgrades on offense.
The Lions could always open up more space with a few savvy moves, and there could be other cap casualties that might impact the team’s final salary number more dramatically during March.
Vaitai will cost a decent chunk of change, but Detroit’s other needs on offense and defense can still be filled effectively.
Many don’t seem to think that in the end, the Lions made the right move to add the offensive lineman.