Why the Seahawks Could Cut Ties With 6-Time All-Pro Bobby Wagner

The Seattle Seahawks enter the 2022 offseason with several important questions needing answers. Russell Wilson’s future with the team is up in the air, but he’s not the only one. The front office must also decide what to do with All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner.

Wagner, who has spent his entire career in Seattle, is under a pretty hefty contract. While he has been highly productive, the Seahawks could create more cap space by releasing him. Parting ways with Wagner could signal the end of an era and the beginning of a full-on rebuild.

It’s time for the Seahawks to make a decision on Bobby Wagner

Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner runs onto the field before game against the Lions
Bobby Wagner of the Seattle Seahawks prepares to face the Detroit Lions | Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Bobby Wagner has been the consummate professional since entering the NFL. The Seattle Seahawks selected him with the No. 47 overall pick in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. The Utah State product wasn’t a big name coming out of college, but he quickly earned his respect at the next level.

10 seasons later, Wagner faces an uncertain future with the team that gave him his first NFL opportunity. In a recent episode of The Richard Sherman Podcast, the former Seahawks star cornerback suggested that the organization would likely move on from Wagner in the offseason.

The Los Angeles, California native is under contract through the 2022 season. He would make just over $16.6 million and carry a $20 million hit against the salary cap.

While still a really good linebacker, Wagner is no longer in his prime. Pro Football Focus gave him a grade of 71.8 for the 2021 season. That’s not an awful grade by any means, but it’s also one of the lowest of his career. Seattle must decide if the cap hit is worth the production it will get from the veteran linebacker.

Bobby Wagner will be 32 years old when the new season begins. The Seahawks don’t project as a Super Bowl contender, so releasing the longtime defensive stalwart is not farfetched.

Cutting ties with the All-Pro linebacker would mark the end of an era

If the Seahawks decide to part ways with Bobby Wagner in the offseason, it will mark the end of an era in Seattle. Wagner has been as loyal as it gets, pouring his heart and soul into the organization.

The eight-time Pro Bowler was part of a special 2012 draft class, including superstar quarterback Russell Wilson. The Seahawks were a below-average football team before Wagner and Wilson got there. However, they helped change the direction of the franchise dramatically.

Seattle reached the postseason five straight seasons under Pete Carroll from 2012 to 2016. The team made back-to-back Super Bowl, hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the 2013 season after beating the Denver Broncos.

Wagner played an integral role in transforming the Seahawks defense. Seattle boasted one of the most feared defenses in the league for several years. The unit featured the Legion of Boom, which described the secondary including Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Brandon Browner, and Kam Chancellor. Wagner, K.J. Wright, Cliff Avril, and Michael Bennett spearheaded the front seven.

Pete Carroll’s squad had the makings of a dynasty with talent at all three phases of the game. Now, the franchise has a lot of unanswered questions and is closer to a rebuild than a Super Bowl.

The 7-10 finish in 2021 was the first losing season since Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson arrived. Now, it’s unclear whether either player will be in a Seahawks uniform in 2022.

How Seattle could replace Wagner in 2022

It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Seattle Seahawks keep Bobby Wagner on board for the 2022 season. He’s not the player he once was, but he’s coming off another Pro Bowl campaign. He recorded 170 tackles in 2021.

If the front office opts to cut ties with the inside linebacker, whoever takes his place will have a pair of massive shoes to fill. Wagner has registered 1,383 tackles, 68 tackles for loss, 23.5 sacks, 11 interceptions, and six forced fumbles for his career.

Replacing Wagner won’t be an easy task, but the Seahawks would certainly have some options.

The front office could look to address the vacancy via free agency. Multiple talented inside linebackers will be available, including Kwon Alexander (Saints), Jayon Brown (Titans), and Anthony Walker Jr. (Browns). All three would come with a cheaper price tag than Wagner.

Seattle could also try to find another gem through the draft, just as it did with Wagner. The upcoming draft class has some promising prospects at inside linebacker. The Seahawks don’t pick until the second round. However, several quality names could still be on the board, including Wisconsin’s Leo Chenal. He’s a downhill linebacker who is fantastic at defending the run and can fly all over the field.

Bobby Wagner is a Seahawks legend and has a lot of football left, but it could be time to pass the torch in Seattle.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference and contract figures courtesy of Spotrac

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