With March Madness looming and the Scouting Combine just a weekend ago, NFL free agency has started.
Though teams cannot sign free agents until Thursday, it appears a former Wisconsin Badgers standout is headed back to the Midwest on a lucrative contract.
Right tackle Rick Wagner is expected to sign with the Detroit Lions, ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported on Wednesday morning. Minutes later, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport confirmed that Wagner and the Lions agreed in principle to a deal that will pay the UW product $9 million per year.
The 6’6, 310-pound Wagner will enter his fifth NFL season in 2017. He appeaerd in 62 games (47 starts) over four years after being selected in the fifth round of the 2013 draft by the Baltimore Ravens. In 2014, he was rated as the top right tackle by Pro Football Focus.
Alex Marvez reported earlier on Wednesday that the Lions had become a strong contender to sign the West Allis, Wis., native.
Wagner originally walked on to Wisconsin as a tight end before being moved to offensive line his first year in the program. He went on to become a starting left and right tackle for the Badgers, playing in 51 games over his career. He earned team captain, first-team All-Big Ten honors and was a second-team All-American selection by CBSSports.com in 2012. He also played in the 2011-13 Rose Bowls.
Wagner isn’t the only former Wisconsin lineman possibly on the move this offseason. Kevin Zeitler, a former first-team All-American and first-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, is also a free agent.