Before you ask whether or not we’re discussing the entire line or just the guard position, obviously some players are capable of playing both guard and tackle and we have to look at the whole situation to make conclusions about the direction along the line or at a specific spot like guard.
If we were to summarize what we just went over, only four linemen have contracts that extend past this year, Decker, Wagner, Ragnow, and Crosby. Four more players are up for new contracts or could be let go after this season, Glasgow, Dahl, Wiggins, and Aboushi. Wagner could also be cut after this year with $5.8 million in dead cap to pay for doing so.
These players do not include all of the depth on the Lions roster but comprise the main players. There are seven other candidates competing for the reserve spots, Ryan Pope, tackle, Andrew Donnal, designated as simply “OL” or offensive lineman, Matt Nelson, tackle, MIcah St. Andrew, guard, Beau Benzschawel, guard, Leo Koloamatangi, center, and Luke Bowanko, also listed as a center.
Our first impression is that the Lions are not in a great position going forward if we’re talking about the ability to keep the cost down of their line. Only Ragnow and Crosby have multi-year deals that extend past next year that are not paying top dollar for the services of a lineman. Ragnow seems to be in a spot that the Detroit Lions want him at for the foreseeable future, center, and locks up one spot.
Crosby, as we mentioned earlier, is the main swing tackle but could play inside at guard or possibly stay at right tackle if he proves that he can perform there. If he looks like he can play at right tackle, the Lions would likely move on from Wagner’s big salary as he has had decent seasons but not necessarily wowed anyone after being signed as a free agent. However, he is a largely untested player through one season.