Report: Lions agree with O-lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai, lose Graham Glasgow to Denver
Allen Park — The Detroit Lions parted ways with veteran right tackle Rick Wagner on Friday, but appear to found a replacement on Monday, reportedly agreeing to terms on a five-year deal with Halapoulivaati Vaitai.
NFL reporter Adam Caplan was the first to report the agreement, which totals $50 million. The Lions and Vaitai's representation did not immediately return request for confirmation. Contracts cannot become official until 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
The Lions will still have a hole to fill up front after guard Graham Glasgow agreed to terms on a four-year, $44 million deal with the Denver Broncos. Glasgow's agent confirmed the deal in a tweet.
A fifth-round pick out of TCU in 2016, Vaitai has spent his entire career with the Philadelphia Eagles. A versatile blocker, he's made 20 starts, playing at right tackle, left tackle and right guard.
Listed at 6-foot-6, 320 pounds, Vaitai served as a backup last season on Philadelphia's deep and talented offensive line, which included Pro Bowlers at right guard and tackle and six-time All-Pro Jason Peters at left tackle.
With Peters and right tackle Lane Johnson missing time due to injury, Vaitai still managed to see 477 snaps in 2019, primarily at right tackle. He thrived as a run blocker in that role, grading out as the ninth-best offensive tackle in the league among those who played at least 20 percent of their team's offensive snaps last season, according to Pro Football Focus.
That would be a welcome improvement for the Lions, who continued to struggle running the ball in 2019. The team's 4.1 yards per carry ranked in the bottom half of the NFL, and Detroit's leading rushers, Kerryon Johnson and Bo Scarbrough, were both near the bottom of the league in yards before contact.
Glasgow, a third-round pick out of the University of Michigan in 2016, spent four productive seasons with the Lions. He started 58 games at left guard, right guard and center during that time.
Despite his versatility and durability — Glasgow missed just one game to injury in four years — it became clear the Lions didn't have interest in paying the market rate for the interior lineman, preferring to invest the team's cap space in an offensive tackle.
The Lions have some low-cost internal options who can compete replace Glasgow, including Beau Benzschawel, an undrafted rookie from a year ago, and former first-round pick Joshua Garnett, who the team signed to a one-year deal in February.
The Lions could also presumably re-sign veteran Kenny Wiggins, a free agent who had a rotational role at both guard spots in 2019, before suffering a torn bicep. April's draft also figures to be an option if the team has eyes on a long-term solution.