Brady HendersonESPN3 minutes of reading
SEATTLE — Bobby Wagner is getting back to where he built his Hall of Fame resume.
The free agent linebacker has agreed to a one-year, $7 million deal to return to the Seattle Seahawks, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Saturday.
The move reunites the Seahawks with the greatest defensive player in franchise history and fills a significant need in their linebacker corps. This suggests fences have been mended following his tumultuous departure last season.
The news was broken by Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs, who has been publicly stumping for Wagner’s return since Wagner and the Los Angeles Rams agreed to part ways earlier last month.
General manager John Schneider said before the start of free agency that he and coach Pete Carroll talked about the possibility of returning to Wagner. On Thursday, Schneider told Seattle Sports 710-AM that the two sides were in talks.
“We’ve been talking to Bobby, and all I can tell you is, let’s see what shakes out, see how it goes,” Schneider said. “Everyone knows how much respect we have for Bobby … he had a great season last year. We’ll continue to talk to him, stay in touch and see how it goes.”
Wagner is the second former Seahawks player to rejoin the team since the start of free agency, joining defensive tackle Jaren Reed. Seattle’s moves so far have focused on strengthening the back seven before struggling mightily in 2022, while transitioning to a new 3-4 front without their longtime captain Wagner.
In addition to Wagner and Reed, the Seahawks signed former Denver Broncos defensive end Dre’Mont Jones to a three-year, $51.53 million contract. They released defensive linemen Shelby Harris, Quinton Jefferson and Al Woods.
Wagner’s release from the Rams on March 15 came a year after the nine-time All-Pro linebacker signed a five-year deal with the team. Sources told Schefter that Wagner and the Rams have mutually agreed to part ways.
Wagner, 32, joined the Rams after signing a five-year, $50 million contract with $20 million guaranteed on March 31, 2022. He earned second-team All-Pro honors after recording 140 tackles, 6 sacks, and 2 fumbles. Had an interception and 5 passes defensed while starting all 17 games. Pro Football Focus rated Wagner as the best linebacker in the NFL last season.
It was the ninth time in his 11 NFL seasons that Wagner was named All-Pro (six times on the first team, three times on the second team). Wagner was released by the Seahawks last March after 10 seasons with the team. He voiced his displeasure publicly and directly to the team’s decision-makers about how he caught their plans to move on from him before he even heard from them.
The Seahawks moved Cody Barton into a starting role at linebacker alongside Jordin Brooks. Barton signed in free agency after an up-and-down season with the Washington Commanders. Brooks tore his ACL in December, putting his availability for the start of the 2023 season in jeopardy. Seattle signed former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Devin Bush to a one-year, $3.5 million contract.
Wagner has 1,523 tackles, 29.5 sacks, 13 interceptions and 6 forced fumbles in his career.
ESPN’s Nick Wagoner contributed to this report.