Halapoulivaati Vaitai has had quite a month.
Vaitai agreed to a five-year, $45 million deal with the Lions early in the negotiating period before the start of the new league year and then greeted a new daughter on Sunday. He called it “a crazy moment” to be in a hospital for reasons unrelated to COVID-19 and said he’s “started to become a germophobe” in order to make sure that his family remains clear of illness.
That leaves plenty for him to think about beyond what will happen when he gets on the field with the Lions. Vaitai played a variety of positions while appearing in 55 games and making 20 starts for the Eagles over the last four years and he’s set to move up to a full-time starter after signing his new deal in Detroit.
“I played all positions so it really helped me in terms of the free agent market. . . . I had great guys over there. [Brandon] Brooks always told me you’ve just got to be patient,” Vaitai said, via the Detroit Free Press. “Same as Jason Peters; he was always telling me, ‘Hey, just be patient. You won’t get your moment now, but as long as you know how to work and double your work ethic, it’ll be great for you. Especially knowing I can play all positions I guess it really helped the stock a little bit. . . . Wherever they need me, I can help the team.”
With Rick Wagner gone, right tackle seems the likeliest spot for Vaitai to kick off his time as a regular with the first team.