The Detroit Lions have been busy putting together a new roster ahead of the 2020 NFL season, and the team has made tons of moves in order to try to help their fortunes on the field.
Several of the moves have been excellent, but not everyone is a fan of everything the team has managed to do. Bleacher Report writer Brent Sobleski put together a list of every worst move in free agency, and when it came to the Lions, one of their biggest signings made the cut.
According to Sobleski, Halapoulivaati Vaitai was the worst move for the Lions, and the reasoning had everything to do with the fact that Vaitai was swapped into a role quickly vacated by another former Detroit signing in Rick Wagner. As was written, the risk is mostly in the fact that Vaitai has not been a full time starter, and the Lions have a ton of money tied up at tackle with the departure of Wagner.
The hope is Vaitai will work out, but with nobody having seen him in a starter’s role for long, the simple fact is nobody knows how it might work out. That itself means that the headlines are likely to paint this move as a failure for the time being.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai Contract Ripped Elsewhere
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
Last 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.
The team only hopes the move turns out well for them to prove some of the naysayers wrong.