Offensive tackle Ricky Wagner is expected to sign a deal with the Detroit Lions on Thursday. The full terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed, but it is expected to be worth more than $9 million per year. Wagner spent the first four years of his career with the Baltimore Ravens.
The #Lions and OT Ricky Wagner have agreed in principle on a contract, source said. It will eclipse $9M per year, setting a new market.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 8, 2017
Report: Ricky Wagner To Sign With Detroit Lions
Wagner played in 15 games last season, missing one due to injury. Pro Football Focus (PFF) gave him a rating of 84.5 in 2016 which makes him the second-highest rated tackle available in the free agent market. He was ranked 36th overall in PFF’s list of the top 50 NFL free agents in 2017. His work against Cameron Wake in Week 13 helped the Ravens finish with 496 yards of total offense. The offensive line did not give up a single sack and allowed only one quarterback hit during this game.
Wagner is a four-year veteran and has been the Ravens starter for three seasons. His career as a Baltimore Raven has been somewhat patchy. In 2014, Wagner was considered one of the best blocking tackles in the NFL. PFF rated him 87.7. One year later, he ranked only 45.8 when his run blocking fell off from the previous season. Yards per average carry fell from 4.5 to 3.9 and rushing yards from 126 to 92. Last season, Wagner rebounded and was considered a top 20 tackle in 2016.
His 2015 season could easily have been attributed to the season-ending foot injury he sustained in the final game of 2014. It was after this that his play regressed. He began the 2015 season shaky and gave up three sacks and four hits in the first six games. In the final eight games that year, he did not allow a single sack or quarterback hit.
The 27-year-old has shown consistent quality play outside of his outlier year. His run blocking is satisfactory but he is an excellent pass protector. At 27 years of age, the 310lb tackle should have several seasons left in him before he begins to show any decline. This coupled with the lack of above-average offensive linemen for free agency this year has made Wagner one of the pricier selections.
The West Allis, Wisconsin native played 12 games as a redshirt freshman for Wisconsin in 2009 and got ten starts the following year. He earned All-Big Ten consensus honorable mention by the media and coaches for two straight seasons in 2010 and 2011. The Baltimore Ravens selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft.