SEATTLE — A day of franchise-altering events for the Seattle SeahawksThe team informed All-Pro linebacker Tuesday evening. Bobby WagnerAccording to a source, he is being released.
Schefter reported that the Seahawks had agreed to trade their quarterback hours earlier. Russell WilsonThe Denver Broncos. Seattle's two franchise cornerstones, who were both drafted on the exact same day in 2012, now leave on the same date 10 years later.
The Seahawks have released Wagner, their long-serving defensive captain and another player who has been a major contributor to the franchise's history.
This move will help the Seahawks save $16.6 million in salary cap space and cash, but it will also leave a huge hole in their defense. This is not surprising given Wagner's contract, age (he will be 32 in June), as well as the non-committal comments Coach Pete Carroll made at last week’s scouting combined.
Wagner wondered aloud what his future looked like as the Seahawks finished a disappointing 7-10 season. This led to many changes in Carroll's coaching staff. One of them was the firing Ken Norton Jr., Wagner’s former position coach who was one of his most loyal supporters.
It is not clear if a cheaper deal for Seattle is being considered.
Wagner was selected alongside Wilson on the second day in the 2012 draft. He was the last member of the star-studded defenses which led Seattle to its lone World Championship in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Wagner will become a first-time free agent in his career. This comes with an interesting twist. He will continue to be his own agent as he negotiated his $54 million, three-year extension in summer 2019. This record-setting deal, worth $18 million per year for off-theball linebackers, set the bar for any high-profile NFL player negotiating his own contracts.
This contract was signed two and a half decades later. It led to his release.
Wagner, the Seahawks all-time tackles leader was entering the final season of his contract with a non-guaranteed $16.35million base salary and an additional $250,000 in per-game roster incentives. Even though the Seahawks were in good fiscal shape, Wagner had a $20.35m cap that was too high. Wagner also had a 170-tackle year which earned him his eighth Pro Bowl nod.
Wagner achieved this personal best, even though he missed the last two games because of a knee injury. Carroll stated that surgery would not be necessary.
Carroll's conflicting answers to questions about Wagner in Indianapolis last week only reinforced the doubt about whether he would be returning in 2022.
Carroll stated that “We are excited to play with Bobby.” We love playing with Bobby. He has been a great player and had another fantastic season. It's this time of year that there are many guys who are in a position to help us figure out where everyone fits together. Bobby has been a constant part of this and we would love to be in his company. If that's possible, we'll do so.
Wagner's $3.75 million of dead money was left after Wagner's release. Seahawks have now saved $16.6 million and have approximately $50 million in cap space. Free agency will begin next week.
Wagner can be replaced by the most logical and practical candidate within the company. Cody BartonThe 2019 third-round pick, Barton has made five starts over three seasons. Barton was injured in Wagner's knee while trying to plant the ball on the Lumen Fiend's wet turf. He had been hurt the previous week.
Wagner had not missed a snap since 2021 before his injury. He was leading the NFL with 170 tackles in Week 17. This surpasses his 2016 single-season record. Teammate Jordyn Brooks(184) broke the record with Wagner as a sideliner in Week 18.
Wagner did not make as many impact plays in his last season, but he still recorded five passes defensed, an interception and a forced fumble in 2021, which led to him being selected for a second-team All Pro selection.
Wagner was one of 22 players named by the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the All-Decade Team in 2010. His Hall of Fame-worthy resume also contains six First Team All-Pro selections as well as two Second Team All-Pro selections. He also has eight Pro Bowls nods which is tied for second in franchise history.
Wagner's 1,381 career tackles are nearly 400 more than the franchise's record. Since 2012, when he was drafted by the Seahawks in the second round from Utah State, he leads the NFL in tackles.
Wagner responded in the affirmative in late December when asked if he was curious about his future in Seattle.
He said, “You think about that.” “You think about the next year and the future because this was not a season I thought we had planned for. We didn't expect the season to turn this way so there will be some changes.
Wagner stated that he was not considering retiring during that news conference. Wagner was more optimistic about his future with the Seahawks a week later.
Wagner stated that while Wagner acknowledged there are business aspects to this situation, he believes there is also a positive side. Wagner spoke in January. It's not something I worry about. Of course, I cannot control everything. Only I can control my part. My part is that I feel this city loves me. This team is my favourite. I love the Seahawks. So I wanted to be part of the good and bad times, and all the times in between. This team is one I would love the opportunity to be part for a long time.
“So, on my side, that's where it is, that I am a Seahawk until they tell I otherwise. This is my mentality. This is why I don't think it was my last game.
Wagner was asked what made him optimistic that he would return.
Wagner stated that he would like Wagner to state that he is a very good businessman, and that he has a lot of respect. “So I'm going to just go into my businessman mentality, and do some work.”