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T.J. Lang will stay in NFC North and sign with Lions

The guard was being courted by other teams, but he’s landing in Detroit.

Green Bay Packers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Former Green Bay Packers right guard T.J. Lang, one of the more coveted players on the free agent market, is no longer a free agent, signing a three-year contract with the Detroit Lions. This marks the second straight year the Packers have moved on from a starting guard, after cutting now-Chicago Bears guard Josh Sitton last year.

Lang has been a key cog in the Packers’ offensive line for the past eight years, helping Green Bay win a Super Bowl in 2011 and earning Pro Bowl honors in 2016.

Over the past two years, the right guard has only given up 2.5 sacks, allowing quarterback Aaron Rodgers to move around in the pocket and continue his dominance as one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks. Lang’s impact in the run game was also felt through T.J. Montgomery’s smooth transition from wide receiver to running back late in the 2016 season.

The guard has been a durable player throughout his career, rarely missing time due to injury. Lang only missed five games over the past six seasons. He also offers versatility, having started at right tackle earlier in his Packers career.

With Lang out of the mix, the Packers will likely be looking for help at the right guard position, whether in free agency or in the upcoming draft. Meanwhile, the Lions’ acquisition of Lang solidifies their offensive line both in the passing game and in the run.

The Lions were solid on the left side of the line with the emergence of rookie tackle Taylor Decker and rookie guard Graham Glasgow. Lang and free agent acquisition Ricky Wagner should elevate the play of the right side of the line, also.