According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Rick Wagner will be joining the Packers and signing a contract with the team. The move almost certainly points to the fact that Bryan Bulaga, the team’s long time right tackle and a fellow free agent, will also be moving along.
The reported contract courtesy of ESPN’s Field Yates? A 2 year deal for Wagner, which would be worth $11 million with $3.5 million in base salary.
This move will represent a return home for Wagner, who went to the University of Wisconsin and played his college football there. Wagner is also from West Allis, Wisconsin, so he will quite literally be getting to play for the team he likely grew up watching.
Lions Faced Difficult Roster Choice With Rick Wagner
Will the team move on from Rick Wagner this offseason? That was the major question, and was called something to watch according to Bleacher Report. Writer Brad Gagnon put together a list of the toughest contract decisions every team will have to make, and according to him, the Lions have a big choice to make with Wagner.
Detroit has to decide whether or not to keep Wagner in the mix. Here’s what Gagnon wrote about the decision:
“Quarterback Matthew Stafford isn’t going anywhere with his dead-cap number ($32 million), and the Detroit Lions have already admitted they’re looking to trade cornerback Darius Slay ahead of a contract year. That leaves right tackle Rick Wagner’s contract as the most interesting deal on the payroll.
Wagner is due to make $11.9 million in each of the next two years, but the team can save $6.1 million by parting ways right now. The right tackle is on the wrong side of 30, he’s missed time in each of his three seasons in Detroit and he’s been far from reliable of late.
Are the Lions trying to contend? Or rebuild? It’s a little confusing considering rumors regarding Stafford, Slay trade chatter and last year’s decision to jettison starting safety Quandre Diggs. Regardless, they’ll have to decide if it’s worth keeping Wagner around for the experience and continuity that he brings to the line, or if they’re better off pocketing more than $6 million and getting younger at that position.”
Now that the team has officially released Wagner, it opens a big hole up front along the offensive line that will have to be dealt with in Detroit.
Why Rick Wagner Became Lions Roster Casualty
The Lions haven’t gotten great results out of Wagner since signing him to a lucrative contract a few years back, and he’s seen injury as well as other troubles get in the way of him becoming a fantastic player. That’s tough too, considering Wagner’s contract status. He’s got an $11.9 million dollar cap hit this season, which is a high total. If the Lions want to save some money, they could release Wagner, even though it would open up another hole up front. They’ll have to weigh the potential savings against what Wagner has done on the field as they try to make their decision.
If the team was to replace Wagner, they would have the choice of either signing a free agent, going young with a player they’re developing like Tyrell Crosby or drafting another player at tackle in order to pitch in and start up front. Those are the options they’ll face now.
Now, Wagner will be joining a key division rival, and get a chance to grab revenge on Detroit a couple times a year.
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