JOHN CLAYTON

Clayton: Seahawks’ Bobby Wagner’s plan poised to pay off

Jul 16, 2019, 12:23 PM
Bobby Wagner, Seahawks...
Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner holds the franchise's single-season tackles record. (Getty)
(Getty)

Bobby Wagner doesn’t have an agent, but things are going well for him to get a great deal.

Seahawks training camp preview: Defensive line

First, the New York Jets took the price of top inside linebackers up to $17 million per year when they signed C.J. Mosley. Prior to that, most assumed those deals would be in the $15 million to $16 million a year range.

Then, Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett signed a four-year, $68 million deal just before Monday’s franchise tag deadline. Even though they play different positions, Wagner benefits here in that he is considered a better player at the moment.

Madden gave Wagner a 99 rating, one of the best in the league at any position. Many think Wagner has surpassed Luke Kuechly as the game’s top middle linebacker. The way his career is going, he could be a candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Wagner’s numbers are amazing. He’s had seven 100-tackle seasons. In seven years, he has 981 combined tackles. He’s been to five Pro Bowls. He’s also had 16-and-a-half sacks. Jarrett had 14 in his first four years; Wagner had 14 in his first five.

The numbers point to Wagner definitely getting more than $17 million a year, but the question is how much more. I don’t have an answer for that, but you figure Wagner will be fair, which is important because both sides would like to get a deal done before the first training camp practice next Thursday.

It’s important the Seahawks get a Wagner deal done so it doesn’t become a distraction. Russell Wilson put a deadline on getting a long-term deal done and it worked for everyone. Wilson got $35 million a year, and the Seahawks locked up their starting quarterback for four more years.

You can see the position results in the OTAs and minicamp. The offense rocked and rolled. Wilson had his best offseason. The team looked good running the football and throwing it. For the most, a Seahawks franchise known for its defense is an offensive team first while it tries to figure out where they are on the other side of the ball.

Wagner is the quarterback of the defense. He gets the plays to other defensive players. He’s a good teacher for the young linebackers. I wouldn’t be surprised if you see him blitz a little more this season while the defense figures out what it has for a pass-rush.

He has the ability to get five to seven sacks this season. He’s had four-and-a-half and five-sack seasons. For the Seahawks to succeed, the defense needs to get around 40 sacks. With such turnover and so many young options and the uncertainty of when Ziggy Ansah will be available, Warner can help manufacture some of the pass-rush in September.

There is the option that the Seahawks could wait this out and franchise him for a year or two, but that’s not going to change the equation. The franchise tag is around $15.2 million this year and will probably go into the $16 plus million range next year. After that, a second-franchise tag would be in the $18 million range.

Even though it’s debatable whether a player should be his own agent, Wagner appears to be on the verge of coming out of these negotiations okay.

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