Packers Bring Rick Wagner Home & Have a New Right Tackle
There are some people you remember from a past life. Rick, then Ricky, Wagner is one of them. He is a year younger than me, but the hype around him as a high school football player was real. West Allis Hale had not been known for their football program, but Wagner had the skill set to be special. At that time, he played tight end and was also a great basketball player. He went to Wisconsin and flourished as an offensive tackle putting on weight there. Wagner ended up drafted in the fifth round to Baltimore. After solid years with Ravens then a few with the Lions, Wagner struggled in 2019. Packers bought seriously low on him considering the tackle market. They’re expecting the former Badgers tackle to bounce back.
Wagner received a deal for two years and eleven million dollars. That is chump change in today’s NFL. There is some thought that Wagner took a hometown discount to return to Wisconsin and be among his friends and family. While that could be true, the numbers we saw other tackles get yesterday was absurd. George Fant, a significantly poorer tackle than Wagner, got three years and 30 million from the New York Jets. Packers gave Wagner a prove-it deal that could pay off in the long run.
The right tackle will start the year as Bryan Bulaga’s replacement. With the market being what it is, Packers could unlikely bring him back along with Wagner. Bulaga and Wagner have comparable numbers from 2015 to 2018. There is not much difference. Green Bay is betting on a bad year for the offensive tackle as Bulaga outshined him greatly in 2019. Even though the former Lions and Ravens tackle dealt with injuries in the last two years, he proved to be very durable in other years.
Green Bay will still keep an idea of drafting an offensive tackle early in the draft though. It is a good tackle draft, and if one or two of them fall, it could be a ripe picking for the Packers.