OMFG: The Seahawks Cut Bobby Wagner

On the very same day that they traded Russell Wilson, no less!

I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t see this coming. I thought there was no way the Seahawks would cut Bobby Wagner. Those feelings only solidified further after the Wilson trade; it seemed to me – to placate the fanbase, if nothing else – you wouldn’t shed your top two players/leaders in the same offseason, let alone the same calendar day. But, I guess it does make sense when you think about it.

There was no way the Seahawks could go into the 2022 season with Bobby Wagner accounting for over $20 million in cap space. Even bigger fans of Bobby than myself – if they had a rational bone in their bodies – could acknowledge that something needed to give. I believed – as many other bloggers did – that the Seahawks would shoot for an extension. Cut some salary cap for the short term, allow him to make his money, and hope in 2-3 years he retires as a Seahawk.

I had resigned myself to that, even though it’s not what I really wanted. What I wanted is what happened: a clean break. You know what we get in this scenario? We get to say we had a decade’s worth of games by one of the all-time greatest middle linebackers in NFL history. An 8-time Pro Bowler (up to and including his last year here), a 6-time All Pro First Team (including 2020), and a 2-time All Pro Second Team (including 2021). He was a tackling machine up through his final year here, and while there was a slight drop-off in recent seasons – at least, when it comes to highly impactful plays – there was not a significant drop-off in his all-around play. He was elite, he was durable, and he kept this defense afloat when most of the other superstars were jettisoned (or otherwise saw their careers cut short due to injury).

You know what we don’t get in this scenario? We don’t get that ugly drop-off in performance. We don’t get nasty injuries knocking him out of multiple games. We don’t get someone who is so overpaid he’s actually a detriment to a team’s salary cap. Say what you will about him being overpaid (and I have, in recent years), but at least he was out there performing to the best of his abilities. If he’s making north of $10-15 million per year all to sit on the rehab table, that’s a disaster for whatever team he goes to.

We don’t get the fans resenting him; we, as Seahawks fans, got the absolute best years out of Bobby Wagner. He was a model pro and a model citizen. And, to boot, he didn’t force his way out; if anything, we can get mad at the franchise for cutting him.

Is it a year too early? Maybe. But, the point is, it’s not a year too late. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been harping on this to be our motto. The Seahawks have been wildly inconsistent with this tactic in the Pete Carroll/John Schneider era, though, and it’s been frustrating to see. I’m glad we finally got to this point, and I hope to see a lot more of it in the coming years.

Now, we look forward to the Jordyn Brooks era at middle linebacker. He took a major step forward in his development in his second season last year, and now he’s ready to ascend. Brooks was second in the NFL in tackles, playing off of Wagner. It’ll be interesting to see if the Seahawks do slide him over, or if they go out and find another middle linebacker in the draft. Maybe they do both and convert the defense into more of a 3-4 than we’ve seen. That seems to be the belief, anyway, although I think the Twitterati have been over-simplifying things.

I’ve long believed that middle linebacker is a position you can skimp on and be okay. Like running back; find a guy in the draft and keep reloading that way every few years. There’s no need to sign a guy to a huge multi-year extension, especially beyond a second contract. That’s asinine! These guys pop up from out of nowhere all the time.

That’s been the Seahawks’ M.O. since even before the Mike Holmgren days, though. We’ve always managed to develop or acquire quality linebackers (The Boz notwithstanding) and then overpay them unnecessarily (The Boz very much withstanding). I would like to, once and for all, become a team that disregards the position, in favor of spending more along the lines, and at the cornerback spot.

Bobby, I love ya. But, it was time. Considering the Seahawks appear to be going Full Rebuild, I’m sure he’s not that upset. The best way to treat a veteran who has been so elite for you for so long is to let him go, as early as possible, so he can find his next destination. I hope he signs on with a great team and kills it in the years ahead.

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