Why cutting or trading Bobby Wagner is now a Seahawks offseason priority.

January 21, 2015 was a special night. Despite playing only 11 games that year due to a serious case of turf toe, Bobby Wagner had managed to achieve the near-impossible during the season’s campaign. With Wagner on the field the Legion of Boom allowed only 6.5 points per game- with Bobby on the sidelines the defense allowed an average of 20.4 points. No other player in the league made such a staggering difference to their team, and if not for the missed games he would’ve been a lock for DPOY.

So it wasn't entirely a surprise that when the AP NFL honors were announced on the evening of the 21st- that 1 MVP vote was awarded in his favor, shortly followed by the first 1st team Pro Bowl selection of Wagner's career. It would turn out to be but one of many in a resume for the ages.

Bobby Wagner is still a solid linebacker today, but not the elite force he used to be. For better or worse, Jamal Adams is now the spiritual leader of the Seattle Seahawks defense. Unfortunately Seahawks Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. has no idea how to appropriately use the mercurial, game-breaking Strong Safety- nor the other 10 men on the field either. But the staggeringly bad decision making and incompetence shown by Ken Norton has already been documented elsewhere, including what we all see plainly every Sunday afternoon, when Norton shepherds the team to yet another loss.

For now there is no smoke on the Seahawks’ defense, only fires raging out of control. Seattle is currently both the 31st worst passing AND run defense this season among all NFL teams. Gasping for air, several players have complained publicly in post-game news conferences, only for the team’s head coach to clamp down on dissent by punishing his own players. One need look no further than the obvious there- as Seattle cut Tre Flowers soon after he suggested nobody on defense knew where they needed to be- and Carroll threw Sidney Jones IV under the bus for not knowing his own responsibilities on the busted Deebo Samuel touchdown.

Unfortunately, with the 2021 season apparently in the tank- a major rebuild is in the offings. With perennial league MVP candidate Russel Wilson publicly signaling he’s had enough of Seattle’s coaching incompetence, every decision is now amplified in magnitudes of importance. And right now- one of the single most impactful decision the Seahawks must soon address- is just what to do with Bobby Wagner and his massively inflated contract.

Bobby Wagner is currently due a staggering $20,350,000 for the 2022 year- a season breaking sum for an unimpactful player declining into mediocrity. If the Seahawks cut or trade him, they only have $3,750,000 in dead money on the books, a much more manageable figure to deal with.

At this point there would be no noticeable difference between Wagner and just about anybody else starting at MLB- except the Seahawks save piles of cash… $16,600,000 in piles to be precise.

Seahawks 1st round draft pick Jordyn Brooks has been nothing but disappointing in coverage at WLB, and like Jamal Adams, also used poorly by the coaching staff to provide pass coverage rather than get after the quarterback or stuff the opposing teams’ run game. Moving Brooks to the middle this year or next is his destiny- which may end up happening sooner rather than later. Pulling the trigger now on the position change, or immediately after this season, makes much more sense than waiting 2 more years for the start of the 2023 season.

If the Seahawks can manage to find a trading partner for Wagner during the offseason, then netting a 3d or 4th Round Draft choice in exchange for delivering a proven leader and Team Captain would be a win/win situation. That 3 or 4 round compensation would allow the Hawks to draft the best available weakside linebacker to start developing behind Jordyn Brooks after his long-fated departure to MLB.

Under this scenario the Seahawks gain capital to draft for a more fleet WLB next year, and gain the salary cap space needed to sign a gamechanging CB ballhawk- something we haven’t had in years. Also, dumping that much salary off the books raises the tantalizing, and long overdue- option to finally invest in the offensive line, particularly a Braden Smith caliber Right Tackle to replace Brandon Shell. Imagine a loaded offensive line with the capability to consistently punch the holes for Chris Carson that are needed to effectively execute Pete Carroll’s favored offensive schemes.

While that capital might alternatively be earned by keeping Wagner- and instead trading Russel Wilson for a pile of treasure and initiating an offensive rebuild- using first round picks successfully has proven to be PC/JS’s weakest trait, and for that reason alone it makes much more sense to simply count on dumping the executive coaching and management staff.

The clear and obvious choice is to move Brooks to the middle now, & take that additional $16 million+ Wagner net gain and invest it into the offensive line next season, signing a Pro-Bowl caliber Right Tackle or potentially replacing Line-Stud Duane Brown if he doesn’t manage to improve over the second half of a marginally disappointing season from him. That will placate Russel Wilson, or in the frightening scenario that Seahawks owner Jody Allen lays her chips on Team Management- provide Russel’s replacement in the draft with a strong line to protect the Franchise Heir Apparent while he learns the Seattle system- unlike how we’ve seen the Bengals franchise manage an underprotected, and seriously banged-up Joe Burrow.

Either way there’s 16 million things this team could do with that much more money and (potentially) an extra Day 2 draft pick. But even if no other suitors are willing to pony up a pick in exchange for Wags’ massive contract, he will have to be cut. If Russell is going to stay, Bobby has to go. Now that Jamal Adams’ hefty contract is an inescapable fact of life for the next few seasons of Guaranteed Money, this undertalented franchise will need to find value somewhere in order to succeed over the next few years of any manner of potential rebuild- whether that begins with management or the players.

We all love Bobby for being a class act and career good guy- but cutting or trading Bobby Wagner is one of the single most important roster priorities this upcoming Hawks offseason.