Report: Ex-Eagles OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Lion Agree to 5-Year, $50M Contract

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IMarch 16, 2020

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 22: Halapoulivaati Vaitai #72 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on against the Baltimore Ravens in the preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on August 22, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Ex-Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai has agreed to sign a five-year, $50 million contract with the Detroit Lions once the new NFL year officially begins Wednesday, according to NFL insider Adam Caplan.

The 26-year-old was selected by the Eagles in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL draft. This was his first chance at free agency after playing out his rookie deal.

The Lions cut offensive tackle Rick Wagner last week, which saved $6.1 million against the cap.

Detroit Lions @Lions

The Detroit Lions announced today that they have released T Rick Wagner. https://t.co/pGihTqQAkC

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Source: The #Lions are releasing RT Rick Wagner, who was set to make $9M in 2020. A former free agent signing, as Detroit clears some space.

According to Pro Football Focus, Vaitai played 476 offensive snaps for Philly and allowed two sacks while committing four penalties across 16 games (three starts) last season.

The TCU product has appeared in all 16 regular-season games in each of the last three seasons after a sprained MCL limited him to seven contests during his 2016 rookie campaign. However, he only started 20 of his 55 games as an Eagle behind a stacked offensive line.

Zach Berman @ZBerm

Halapoulivaati Vaitai started 20 reg. season games and 4 postseason games for the Eagles -- including the Super Bowl. Has started at tackle and guard. Been a key reserve for the Eagles. Earned a big deal.

Zach Berman @ZBerm

As a junior at TCU, H. Vaitai walked through a Dallas-area mall with his cousin. "Hey, that's Jason Peters!" the cousin said. Vaitai approached him. Peters asked where Vaitai played. "Work your ass off," Peters said, "and you'll be up here."

Zach Berman @ZBerm

When Peters tore his ACL in '17, Vaitai replaced him for the Super Bowl. On the Tues. morning after Peters learned the diagnosis, he called Vaitai. Vaitai wondered if Peters had any advice. "Work your ass off," Peters said. Vaitai won a Super Bowl. Now has a $50M contract.

Lions starting quarterbacks last season—Matthew Stafford, Jeff Driskel and David Blough—were sacked 43 times in 2019. Stafford was limited to eight games and saw his streak of 136 consecutive starts snapped due to a back injury. Driskel stepped in for three games before suffering a hamstring injury, which led to Blough starting the last eight games for the 3-12-1 Lions.