Heaps: Why All-Pro LB Bobby Wagner will finish his career with the Seahawks
With the salary cap decreasing by roughly $16 million from 2020 to 2021 and with the Seahawks having just three picks in next week’s draft, one player whose future seemed uncertain was middle linebacker Bobby Wagner.
Wagner, 31 in June, has been a major part of Seattle’s defense since he entered the league as a second-round pick in 2012.
A multi-time defensive captain and a seven-time All-Pro (six first-team honors), Wagner is, naturally, one of the Seahawks’ higher-paid players and he’s also the highest-paid inside linebacker in the league.
But at the start of the 2021 offseason, Wagner seemed like a potential trade chip as the Seahawks only have three picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, including none in the first round, and they’ve been pretty tight against the salary cap for most of the offseason.
But the draft is now just a few days away and Wager remains with the team and he’s still under contract for two more seasons. According to former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy, Wagner isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
“The only reason why this is a question is because Bobby Wagner’s contract is a massive outlier in the landscape of linebackers,” Heaps said of Wagner’s future in Seattle.
Heaps noted that Wagner makes a lot of money, which will cause speculation about his status due to salary cap restraints, but that doesn’t change Wagner’s importance to the Seahawks.
“I think Bobby Wagner, without question, finishes his career as a Seahawk, I really truly do,” Heaps said. “I think he is a mainstay, he is a staple of this program. He is a player that when you talk about John Schneider and Pete Carroll and everything they want in that building, Bobby Wagner exemplifies all of those qualities.”
When it comes to players who are “mainstays” of Seattle’s program, Heaps thinks Wagner, fellow linebacker K.J. Wright and quarterback Russell Wilson are “pure Seahawks.”
“That’s why they’ve been the longest-tenured Seahawks in the Pete Carroll era because they exemplify all those qualities,” Heaps said.
But it’s not just being a leader and a locker room cornerstone that cause Heaps to think the Seahawks will hold on to Wagner for the long haul. His play has continually been impressive, and he earned his sixth First-Team All-Pro nod last year, even if he may not be playing quite as well as he has in previous years.
“I do believe Bobby Wagner has slowed down a bit in certain areas, but I believe overall he’s one of the best middle linebackers in the game and I am optimistic that you will continue to see Bobby Wagner play at an extremely high level,” Heaps said. “I think you might even see him play more aggressive this year than years past. I still have high hopes for Bobby Wagner and his ability to have a game-changing impact in this league, and I don’t see the Seahawks parting ways with Wagner any time soon.”
Listen to the full conversation at this link or in the player below.