Explaining why Bobby Wagner could be traded
Teams and players negotiate contracts based on the salary cap climate, as well as positional evaluations. As for Bobby Wagner, he was up for negotiation during the perfect time.
The world had no idea what COVID-19 was. CJ Mosley had just signed the largest linebacker contract by far, at $17 million per year. Wagner is a far superior MLB to Mosley. It only made sense for Wagner’s deal to top that figure.
Seattle didn’t have to think too hard on this one. With the upcoming TV deals and gambling rights agreements, it looked like this contract would be a steal in a year or two. Then COVID hit.
The Seahawks now have a 31-year-old middle linebacker who makes on average $18 million per year. If you remove CJ Mosley and Bobby Wagner’s outlier contracts, the average amount for the next top 5 MIKE linebackers is just $13.5 million. Is Bobby Wagner really worth 33% more than any of the other top paid players?
The correct answer is both yes and no. Is Wagner the best linebacker in the NFL? Wagner is by far the most complete linebacker in the game. He plays the run well. He plays the pass well. He can rush the passer, just doesn’t do it often. He can diagnosis the play on the fly and help others get into position.
Is he worth that much more than his top paid piers? The answer is no. At this point in his career, Seattle is paying Bobby Wagner to be consistent and a leader. He does both of those admirably. The gripe is that his play on the field lacks any of the truly game-changing plays. Seattle pays him like a true game-wrecker when he is more of a very successful game manager.
Bobby Wagner’s cap hits for 2021 and 2022 (the last two years on his contract) are very expensive. 2021 carries a cap hit of $17.15 million. 2022 carries a cap hit of just over $20 million.
With the Seahawks desperate to create cap space and acquire draft capital, they are going to have to give something of value to obtain these. With Bobby Wagner’s consistency and leadership, he will surely be a player with enough value to help remedy both these issues.
The Seahawks need to look to investing in the offense. They have so much money split between the sides that neither has the talent to truly thrive. If by trading Wagner, Seattle was able to acquire a top tier offensive lineman and a high potential player in the draft, wouldn’t you at least consider it?