Bobby Wagner Is Already Back With The Seahawks One Season After Signing A 5-Year, $50 Million Deal With The Rams
It really seemed like the Los Angeles Rams were going to make a serious push for back-to-back Super Bowls last season when they landed Bobby Wagner to take over the heart of their defense. Seattle unceremoniously released the longtime franchise cornerstone linebacker, and many believed the Seahawks were headed for a multi-year rebuild.
Well wouldn't you know it — the Rams became the worst defending champs of all-time, stricken by brutal injury luck and relative poor performance across the board. Meanwhile, John Schneider, Pete Carroll and Seattle's brass, on the heels of many awful draft classes, fucked around and brought in a rookie group that will likely rival Wagner's 2012 Seahawks group as one of the best in the organization's (and NFL) history.
We've now come full circle. Wagner is back in the Emerald City on the one-year deal Seattle likely intended him to play on last season. Thanks to Geno Smith's Comeback Player of the Year campaign, somehow the Seahawks are situated to be a legit contender. With the fifth and 20th overall picks and two second-round selections in the 2023, they can reinforce some problem areas of the roster and be ready to build on last year's stunning run to the playoffs.
Wagner is obviously the classic veteran leader in the locker room. That'll help with such a young core of Seattle players. I can't emphasize enough how fucking good he still is on the gridiron, though. In his age-32 season, with a new scheme and a new team for the first time in his Hall of Fame career, Wagner graded out as PFF's No. 1 linebacker.
Because he plays a less glamorous position, I feel like Wagner's career has been taken for granted to a significant degree. The Legion of Boom secondary and those loud personalities led by Richard Sherman got a lot of shine during the apex of Carroll's Seattle tenure. Then of course, you had the dual-threat dynamism of quarterback Russell Wilson at the center of many Seahawks-related stories and buzz.
Through all of that was a steady, consistently dominant presence who was the key to Seattle's front seven in Wagner. He had (still has) the prototypical skill set of a Tampa 2 MIKE linebacker who can cover the entire middle of the field, but back in his earlier years, had the luxury of playing a ton of Cover 3 thanks to the scheme and skill set of the Seahawks' defensive backfield. Such a lethal combination.
Congrats to Bobby Wagner. Furthermore, props to him for not being a jaded vet who could've spurned this homecoming and shut out Seattle forever based on how things went down last offseason.
PS, this is further proof NFL contracts and the salary cap aren't really real things. Pretty easy to maneuver around just about any transaction if you're inclined to. In this instance, while it would've been interesting to see the Rams at full health with Wagner and a fortified offensive line in 2023, something feels cosmically correct about him being back in his familiar Seahawks digs.