Bobby Wagner’s homecoming: a closer look at Seattle’s legendary linebacker


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Charis Jones, Staff Reporter

The Seattle Seahawks have re-signed linebacker Bobby Wagner to a one-year contract worth $5.5 million, bringing back one of the NFL’s most respected defensive players for the 2023 season.

After being drafted in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Wagner exclusively played for the Seahawks until joining the L.A. Rams in 2022. Though he spent a season away, his reputation was forged during his time in Seattle through many accomplishments, including making eight Pro Bowls, being named All-Pro First Teamer six times, and winning a Super Bowl ring in 2013. He even earned the distinction of being selected as Pro Football Focus’s top rated linebacker in the NFL last season.

“Is he the same player that he was when he was in Seattle? Probably not,” host of The Benchwarmers on 88.1 The ‘Burg Cash Brown said. “But he’s still going to be a very big boost to the linebacking core, especially just with what he can pass down to the younger guys.”

As reported by AP News, Wagner expressed gratitude for the chance to rejoin the Seahawks, even though he could have potentially earned a higher salary elsewhere. In comparison to other NFL linebackers of similar age and pedigree, Wagner’s contract of a guaranteed $5.5 million may be considered relatively modest. For instance, C.J. Mosley from the New York Jets is guaranteed $51 million, Demario Davis from the New Orleans Saints with $18 million, and Micah Parsons from the Dallas Cowboys with $17 million, according to Spotrac, the largest online sports team and player contract resource on the internet.

Although Richard Sherman, Wager’s former teammate, claimed that the offer Wagner received was a “lowball offer,” AP News reported that his decision to come back was greatly influenced by his desire to remain in Seattle, which could ultimately prove to be a notable advantage for the Seahawks’ defense. 

Brown spoke on the importance of Wagner’s reinstatement to the Seahawks, and how much he means to the city of Seattle. 

“He’s a veteran guy who knows the system pretty well, he obviously has a lot of ties to the city, and it’s especially [important because] we don’t really have any linebacker depth coming into the season,” Brown said. “We basically have Bush and Wagner as our only two solid linebackers,” Brown said. “So it’s going to be interesting to see what we do with that, but [Wagner’s return] was definitely necessary because as I said earlier, we really don’t have much depth outside of him.”

While the Seahawks were able to sign Devin Bush in the offseason, they lost both Cody Barton and Tanner Muse as they have signed elsewhere for the 2023 season. Not only this but Seattle’s starting middle linebacker Jordyn Brooks will be out for a substantial chunk of the upcoming season after tearing his ACL late in the 2022 season, so it is safe to say that Wagner’s services could be of use to the Seahawks.

While some may speculate that Wagner’s 12th season in the NFL could be his last given that he will turn 33 this summer, AP News has reported on his statement expressing his want to retire as a member of the Seahawks and continue playing beyond the duration of his one-year contract.

“If he does decide to hang up the cleats after this year, I won’t be surprised at all,” Brown said. “Could he play another year somewhere else? Maybe, but I think that he probably hangs it up after this year just to give his body some rest, he obviously plays a very physical position.”

Brown said that he anticipates Wagner’s exceptional on field abilities to be the main factor contributing to his legacy in Seattle once he eventually decides to retire.

“He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer,” Brown said. “He’s been to so many Pro Bowls, and he holds a lot of accolades at the linebacker position. He’s one of the greatest linebackers of all time and I think really more than anything, what he can leave behind is being able to be an elite linebacker throughout his entire career.”

In terms of what fans and followers should be expecting out of Wagner for the upcoming season, Brown advises against assuming that he will perform in the same way as he did during his previous years with the Seahawks.

“Obviously Seahawks fans know Wagner as being the greatest Seahawks linebacker of all time, but is he still gonna play at that level? Probably not,” Brown said. “ Really how he affects our younger guys on the team is going to be the biggest thing to keep an eye out for.”