The Seahawks must decide if they can afford to make Bobby Wagner the richest linebacker in the game. They really can’t afford not to.
The Seahawks survived the contract extension crisis with Russell Wilson just fine, thanks. The Hawks handled the possible extension of Frank Clark a little differently, of course. That trade turned into a bonanza for Seattle, but we aren’t likely to see the same solution for future Hall of Fame linebacker Bobby Wagner.
Wagner has made it clear that he expects to be the highest-paid linebacker in the league. As Derek Lewis wrote for 247sports.com, the bar for Wagner’s contract was set awfully high when the New York Jets signed linebacker C.J. Mosley to a record-setting deal. I used the term “awfully” meaning this was an awful contract. Mosley got a five year deal worth $85 million with $51 million guaranteed. The contract is so bad that it’s been reported that it’s why Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan is now the former GM.
Mosley is good, make no mistake. He’s been to the Pro Bowl in four of his five seasons. Bobby Wagner probably thinks that’s really cool, with his five Pro Bowls and four All-Pro awards. Pro Football Focus ranked Wagner number one among all linebackers for 2018. It’s usually Wagner or the Panthers Luke Kuechly. The guy it never is? Mosley, who was ranked 22nd last season by PFF. They aren’t infallible, but I doubt that even Mosley’s mom believes he’s better than Wagner.
I don’t think I need to do any more to sell Wagner’s value to the 12s. It’s all a matter of the Seahawks ability to pay another top contract, like Wilson’s. According to the excellent site spotrac.com, Seattle currently has over $31 million in cap space for 2019. The team is projected to have almost $69 million in cap space for 2020. Wagner is making $10 million per year already. If they pay him $18 million per season, that cuts their cap room for this season to $23 million.
Now that the Seahawks can’t sign Ndamukong Suh, thank goodness, they have even more money to spend on one of the very best players in the league. Wagner is right. He deserves to be paid the best, because he is the best. And Seattle can afford to make him and the 12s very, very happy.