Proposed Trade Has Seahawks Dealing 8-Time Pro Bowler to AFC Foe

Pete Carroll

Getty Head coach Pete Carroll's Seahawks have their hands full in the NFC West.

The Seattle Seahawks face a difficult decision regarding the future of star linebacker Bobby Wagner. The defender is one of the final remaining players on the Seahawks roster from the Legion of Boom era.

Wagner still has one year remaining on his three-year, $54 million contract with the Seahawks. The linebacker has been mentioned as a potential cap casualty this offseason as Wagner is slated to have a $16.3 million salary along with a $20.3 million cap hit for 2022, per Spotrac. Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine suggested a potential Seahawks-Chargers trade that would allow Seattle to at least get something in return for the linebacker.

“Just how far the Chargers are going to go with Justin Herbert at quarterback is going to depend on the type of defense they can put around him,” Ballentine explained on February 19. “The young quarterback is exciting, and the Chargers have plenty of weapons and a good offensive line. It was the defense that held them back in 2021. They ranked 29th in scoring defense, 29th in yards allowed per rush and 21st in yards per pass.

“Bringing in a veteran linebacker like Bobby Wagner would help tremendously. Wagner will be 32 next season, but he’s still playing at a high level, ranking as the 15th-highest-graded linebacker by PFF. At this point, Wagner is probably overpaid. He’s set to carry the highest cap hit of any middle linebacker at $20.4 million. That’s a high price to pay for the Seahawks, which are starting the offseason over the cap. The Chargers are among the teams with the most cap space, so it would be easier for them to build a roster even while overpaying Wagner.”

Ballentine makes some valid points on Wagner’s salary, but the Seahawks are projected to have $34.8 million in cap space even with the linebacker on the roster, per Over the Cap. The challenge is the Seahawks roster has plenty of holes, and the Seattle front office could look to use this money at other positions of need.

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Sherman Predicted the Seahawks Will Move on Wagner

To be clear, there is no guarantee that the Seahawks will move on from Wagner. Even when other stars like Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas were in Seattle, Wagner was the heart of the Seahawks defense. Yet, we have seen the Seahawks show a willingness to move on from veteran players despite their previous importance to the team’s success.

There are plenty of previous examples including Sherman, Thomas and most recently K.J. Wright, who the Seahawks declined to re-sign at a bargain rate. Sherman predicted that the Seahawks will move on from Wagner this offseason.

“I think at the end of the day, Seattle fans are going to hate to hear this, because it’s just, they hate accountability these days, but they’re probably going to get rid of Bobby [Wagner],” Sherman noted during his January 28 podcast. “And once you do that, that’s it. You’re in [a] rebuild, I don’t care if Russell’s there or not there, you’re in rebuild mode if Bobby Wagner is not there. …Because you either die the hero or you live long enough to become the villain and everybody’s learning that the hard way.”

If the Seahawks do explore trading Wagner, what could they get in return? Given Wagner’s high salary, the most the Seahawks would likely net is a mid-round pick for the linebacker.

Carroll: ‘I Would Love Bobby to Play Here Forever’

For his part, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll tried to quiet the rumors about Wagner playing elsewhere in 2022. Carroll noted that he wants Wagner to “play here forever” as last season came to a close.

“I would love Bobby to play here forever,” Carroll said during a January 7 press conference. “He’s been as solid as you could ever want a player to be. And we’ve kind of grown up as Seahawks together in this program over the years, and I’d love for him to be here. I don’t see why we’d be thinking anything else.”