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Ravens’ Ricky Wagner set to blow the lid off RT market

March 9, 2017
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It’s not a good year to need offensive tackles. Many teams need offensive tackles.

The toxic potion of scarcity will allow the few solid veterans heading to the open market to hit the jackpot.

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When it comes to the right tackle market it appears Baltimore Ravens’ Ricky Wagner is this offseason’s prize.

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo said Tuesday on Good Morning Football  Jerseys that Wagner is “going to blow the lid off the right tackle market.”

Swiping out Lane Johnson’s outlier contract — he was paid as a future left tackle — the top of the right tackle market is Green Bay Packers’ Bryan Bulaga at $6.75 million per year. Last offseason the Chiefs signed Mitchell Schwartz jersey to a five-year, $33 million contract, which averages $6.6 million per season.

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According to Garafolo, Wagner will end up signing for more than $8 million per season.

The former fifth-round pick played exceedingly well in 2016, particularly as a pass blocker on the right side, after struggling in 2015. Since taking over the starting gig in his second season, the 27-year-old has missed just two games. Pro Football Focus ranked Wagner its 18th overall tackle (both left and right side) in 2016.

With a gaggle of teams in need of tackles and a plethora of salary-cap space, Wagner’s reps will have a boatload of leverage during the NFL’s free agency negotiating window — opening Tuesday at noon ET.

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Garafolo mentioned the Vikings are one team interested in Wagner’s services. Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman knows he must upgrade a debilitating offensive line, and could make a splash adding Wagner.

Nike Texans #15 Will Fuller V Navy Blue-Red Men's Stitched NFL Elite Fadeaway Fashion Jersey“I’m not enamored with any of the quarterbacks in this draft, that’s No. 1,” said Casserly, the former GM of the Houston Texans and Washington Redskins. “No. 2, Garappolo today is better than any quarterback in this draft. Now, he’s had three years of experience. You look at him coming out (of college), the guy had a quick release, he’s smart, he knows where to go with the ball. The guy is accurate, and he can make some plays on the move. You see all (those things of wholesale jerseys) in the NFL. His deep-ball accuracy, you’d like that (to be) a little bit better.”

Garoppolo indeed has been in the NFL for three seasons, but his playing experience doesn’t amount to much. He’s made two career starts, both of them to begin the 2016 season while Tom Brady served a four-game suspension. Garoppolo led the Patriots to a 2-0 start before suffering an injury, completing 42 of 59 passes for 496 yards, four TDs and no interceptions in wins over the Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins.

That’s not much of a body of work after three pro seasons, but then again, it’s more than what a rookie would bring.

“Garoppolo to me is not a special guy who will just raise the level of everybody around him. Like for example, an (Andrew) Luck. That’s a rare guy,” Casserly said. “But yet I do think all the characteristics I talked about, the ability to be accurate, get the ball out on time, I think he’ll do a great job there.”

There is certainly a building consensus that this isn’t the draft to find a franchise quarterback. NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock said last week that he would be “scared to death” to take one in the first 10 picks of the draft, and Kizer — at No. 18 — is the highest-ranked QB on NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s list of the draft’s top 50 prospects.

If NFL clubs see things the same way, the trade market for Garoppolo could be all the stronger for it.

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