The Los Angeles Rams and Bobby Wagner are officially no more, agreeing to mutually part ways on Wednesday, March 1 — 14 days before the start of the league’s free agency period.
It’s the second straight year Wagner has been released before the start of a free agency cycle, as the Seattle Seahawks released him before the Rams could officially sign the perennial Pro Bowl linebacker. But with the decision to part ways with the All-Pro ‘backer, Rams head coach Sean McVay officially broke his silence on Wagner moving on.
“Bobby is an outstanding competitor and a leader that elevates everyone around him,” McVay said in a statement through the Rams’ team website. “His perspective, steadiness, and consistency set an example for our players, coaches and staff. We are grateful for Bobby and his contributions to our organization during his time with the Rams.”
Wagner Immediately Became Leader in ‘Rams House’
Wagner didn’t take long to establish himself as a defensive leader and locker room voice.
He was immediately voted a team captain by teammates once he got acquainted in his new digs. He became one of just six Ram players to start every game as the injuries mounted around him. And the end result was Wagner collecting 140 tackles for the second time in his career (matching his rookie mark in 2012). His 10 tackles for a loss was also the most since the 2017 season.
Wagner was also named team Most Valuable Player at season’s end and became ninth all-time in regular season tackles with 1,523.
His presence helped rub off of second-year linebacker Ernest Jones which propelled him to deliver his first 100-tackle season.
Wagner Already Linked to Division Rival: His Former Home
Already, there’s the rumblings of a reunion in the Pacific Northwest for Wagner as he seeks out a contender.
Gregg Bell of the Seattle News Tribune revealed that the Seahawks are “keenly interested” in luring back the longtime face of their defense on Wednesday.
“Multiple league sources told The News Tribune at the NFL scouting combine Tuesday the Seahawks are keenly interested in re-signing the 32-year-old Wagner to play again in the middle of their defense in 2023,” Bell reported. “The Los Angeles Rams reportedly have given the six-time All-Pro linebacker permission to talk to other teams about a new contract, in advance of the Rams releasing him and becoming a free agent.”
However, Bell adds that a short term deal could be more at play for the ‘Hawks to bring back the ILB who helped guide the franchise to their first Super Bowl win during the 2013 season. Bell also outlined some early hurdles Seattle must address before considering bringing Wagner back — including resigning starting quarterback and Pro Bowler Geno Smith. Followed by fixing the defensive front seven.
“Coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider said Tuesday in Indianapolis contract talks with Smith are ‘positive’ and that the team is closer to re-signing him before he could test free agency in two weeks. That leaves the defensive front seven needing rebuilt through the draft plus whatever salary-cap space the Seahawks have left. That is, after spending the bulk of their available $24.4 million in cap room on Smith’s seemingly imminent, multiyear contract,” Bell wrote.
If not Seattle, there’s chatter of Wagner potentially reuniting with his former defensive coordinator during that Super Bowl 48 run Dan Quinn with the Dallas Cowboys.