Bobby Wagner went back to the Seattle Seahawks over the weekend, signing a one-year $7 million deal after one season with the Los Angeles Rams.
I don’t think he will spend much time thinking about his 2022 season, like, I don’t think it will come up much during his Hall of Fame speech.
Signing Wagner was a coup for the Rams last off-season, and by all statistical accounts he played well. He was second-team All-Pro, had a career-best six sacks and led the Rams in tackles (tackles is an overrated stat though, because what good are tackles eight yards down the field?)
He was expected to captain an already-strong defense and the move brought him closer to where his family lived.
Like everything else the 2022-23 Los Angeles Rams tried, it didn’t work. The Rams went 5-12.
Wagner told the Seattle Times that his year with the Rams was well, meh.
“I think years from now I don’t know how much weight it will have. But it was definitely a learning experience. I thought it was really cool to be home and see my family more often, my family I grew up with more often, like I had family members that can’t travel anymore on planes and stuff and they were able to come to games and that part was cool.”
Wagner’s LA family will still be able to watch him play in person when the Rams host the Seahawks in 2023.
Wagner won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks playing there for 10 years before spending a year with the Rams.
Sometimes NFL writers overthink things, like, man, this wide receiver would look great in this (offensive scheme) when in reality NFL players are a lot like you and me.
They like working in places where they are comfortable, where they have had success, where they know the password for all the computers.
That’s why when you look at the current free agent list, it’s always wise to look at where guys went to college or grew up (Jalen Ramsey played college ball in Florida, so Miami made sense for him).
Also, it’s not like the market for a soon-to-be 33-year-old linebacker was super-hot. Wagner signed a 5-year $50 million deal with the Rams last year. He hinted that he took less to go back. He may be at the stage in his career where he gets subbed out in obvious passing downs (code for getting slower).
“I’ve made a lot of money over my career,” Wagner said — Spotrac says Wagner has made over $54 million in his NFL career. “So I think I’m at the point where I just want to go where I’m happy and so I was just really pulling for this to work out.”
That’s nice for everyone to say, but I’m sure if the Bears (or whoever) had offered Wagner $15 million a year he would have jumped.
What Are The Rams Losing?
It’s a good fit for Wagner to go back to Seattle because they lost linebacker Jordyn Brooks to an ACL tear on Jan. 1 in a game against the New York Jets, and another starter at linebacker, Cody Barton, went to Washington in free agency.
I thought Wagner played well in LA. I thought the Rams accomplished two things by signing him, beefing up their linebacker unit while also weakening a division rival.
Wagner obviously thought so too.
“Obviously, I thought the Rams situation would probably go a little bit different than it did, but I’m happy with the outcome,” Wagner said.
The Rams linebacker depth chart is still OK. They still have Ernest Jones, who was second on the team in tackles last year. Jones is only 23 and is probably expected to lead the unit now.
The Rams were 5-12. You don’t pay linebackers $50 million for going 5-12.
All’s Quiet On The Rams Front
And immediately after hearing the news of the Wagner signing, the Rams went out and signed….
Absolutely no one.
It’s funny, a bunch of NFL pundits have started to give out free agency “grades” for each team and of course the Rams grades are pretty low. Hard to get a grade when you haven’t even taken the test yet.
There are still free agents out there who could fit in with the Rams, like Yannick Ngakoue from the Colts, Jadeveon Clowney from the Browns.
With each passing day, their price goes down as they look for a team.
The Rams have $11.5 million left in cap space now. They need a big chunk of that to sign their rookies. However, cap space is just a term thrown around to sound smart. If there is a player out there who the Rams want, they’ll make a play for him and fit him under the cap. Cap space is just a concept.
If only there was a player who had been with the Rams…had said nice things about his experience with the franchise…was a bonafide game-changer, a headline waiting to happen and looking for a new start.
Bobby Wagner, meet Odell Beckham Jr.
I’m sure OBJ still knows all the Ram computer passwords too.