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HOT TAKE ALERT!
So, you’re trying to tell me there are four more important players to the Seahawks’ chances of success in 2019 than our defensive captain and All Pro middle linebacker? The glue that keeps the defense together, who busts his ass day-in and day-out to ensure we’re always in the game and that we win more than we lose?
Look, that’s what I’m telling you. And I’ve got my reasons!
First and foremost, I know I’ve said this a lot over the years, mostly because the Seahawks have been super stacked over the years at linebacker, but this might be THE MOST stacked I’ve ever seen this team at one position. I pray to our lord and savior Jesus Christ every single day that we get to see this team with its full complement of linebackers healthy and in tip-top shape, because I’m excited to see what they can all do together.
But, since I never get what I really want, I’m fully expecting one or more injuries to derail this dream, just as so many have been dashed before in my sports fandom. Thankfully, the Seahawks are better able to weather a linebacker injury storm than at any time in this franchise’s history.
The starting three figure to be Bobby in the middle, K.J. Wright in his usual weakside linebacker spot, and Mychal Kendricks on the strong side. If Bobby were to go down, then Kendricks could slide over to the middle and we wouldn’t drop off nearly as much as we have at other spots. I would argue the dropoff from Wagner to Kendricks is less than the dropoff from Earl Thomas to Bradley McDougald! It wouldn’t shock me in the slightest if we didn’t miss a beat!
Besides that, our depth at linebacker is insane. The word on Cody Barton is that he could be someone really special. Which is where things get a little tricky for me. As we all know, Bobby’s on the final year of his deal, and the team is trying to get a long-term extension done. As we’ve found out in recent years, the team has grown ever more reluctant to give non-quarterbacks a third contract. I’m a little more flexible, in that I’m okay with the right deal at the right price, but as Wagner is the best middle linebacker in the game (who is representing himself for some reason), I don’t think that’s something that’s on the table.
Nevertheless, it shouldn’t be too difficult to add two more guaranteed years on top of this one and get it over with. But, I can also see why people might not be as excited about paying both a quarterback and a linebacker at the top of their respective markets. Linebacker always seems to be a position you can get good value from young guys, and it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest if Barton was able to start from day one, and be a quality player in the middle for years to come.
Blasphemy, I know. The truth of the matter is, for 2019, this team is CLEARLY better with a healthy and happy Wagner in the middle. And, indeed, with all the struggles I anticipate in both the pass rush and our secondary, it’s those linebackers (Wagner in particular) who are going to keep things afloat. When you factor in how well he’s able to blitz and put the occasional pressure on opposing QBs, that’s just something I don’t want to miss. Better safe than sorry, let’s get this thing done, huh?