When the offseason began, the Seattle Seahawks had four big contract situations to address, including quarterback Russell Wilson, defensive end Frank Clark, defensive tackle Jarran Reed and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. Wilson and Wagner are longtime Hawks who helped the team win one Super Bowl, and continue to represent the core of the both the offense and the defense for the team.
Clark and Reed, meanwhile, represent up and coming talent on a defense looking to rebuild in the wake of the dismantling of the Legion of Boom. Or, at least they were until the Seahawks traded Clark to the Kansas City Chiefs, leaving only the contract situations for Reed and Wagner to resolve. Even with both Reed and Wagner set to be free agents at the conclusion of the 2019 season, the team has the ability to all but ensure they remain Seahawks in 2020 through the use of the franchise tag on one and the transition tag on the other, but that is a different discussion for a different day.
In the wake of the linebacker market being reset during the 2019 free agency period, there has been significant discussion about whether or not Wagner would be willing to give the Hawks a hometown discount. According to reports from NFL Insider Tom Pelissero, that answer is no.
The #Seahawks want to keep Bobby Wagner and have the flexibility to extend his contract. The question is, what will it cost after C.J. Mosley reset the market? Those who know Wagner, who is representing himself, say don’t expect a discount. @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/d3GcyCXTB4— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 6, 2019
In short, while Wagner had been among the top three highest paid off ball linebackers in the NFL over the past four seasons since signing his contract extension in August of 2015, he is set to play the 2019 season as the sixth highest paid. Specifically, his contract is 58 percent lower on an average per year basis than the new highest paid linebacker, C.J. Mosley of the New York Jets. In fact, Wagner isn’t even the highest paid linebacker in the NFC West, coming in behind Kwon Alexander of the San Francisco 49ers.
In any case, the Seahawks will likely need to pony up far more money than had been budgeted for any Wagner extension than they would have even just a couple of months ago. I’ll take a look at what Wagner could command in terms of salary in the coming days, but for now it is enough to know that he will not be affording the Hawks any hometown discount (as he shouldn’t, he’s earned his money and should take every dollar he can in what is likely to be his last big contract).