For three seasons, Cody Barton has had no home on defense. He played fewer than 16 percent of snaps each season. The Seahawks had veteran linebackers entrenched as starters. Mostly that has been Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright but in 2021, Jordyn Brooks replaced Wright. Barton has been decent in short stretches but Wright and Wagner were better.
But the Seahawks have a huge decision to make this offseason in regards to Wagner. Seattle’s future likely first-ballot Hall of Famer is due to make $20.350 million next year. I would be shocked if Seattle brings Wagner back at that contract. Wagner is still good – he made the Pro Bowl again this season – but few players are worth that amount of cap space on their respective teams who aren’t quarterbacks.
Wagner was injured early in Week 17 this season and Barton replaced him. And Barton was pretty good. Against the Lions, Barton was in on 7 tackles, had 1 quarterback hit (Wagner had only 3 QB hits in 2021) and a tackle for loss (Wagner only had 3 TFLs this year). Wagner had to miss Week 18 and Barton replaced him and Barton finished with 11 tackles.
Barton is due to make $1,186,031 in 2022 in the final year of his current deal. Wagner is doing to make $19 million more dollars than that. Releasing Wagner saves Seattle nearly $17 million. This means if Barton replaces Wagner in 2022, Seattle will basically be saving $16 million by trading out starters. Is Wagner $16 million better than Barton?