With the team out of playoff contention, questions continue to surround many of the Seahawks’ top players, including the future of quarterback Russell Wilson. He has a no-trade clause in his contract, but that doesn’t stop trade rumors from swirling around as he keeps emphasizing to the media that he “hopes” to be back with the team in 2022.
However, one analyst — former Seahawks QB Brock Huard — believes that it’s another key leader who has potentially played his last home game in Seattle.
“Do I feel like this is [Wilson’s final game]? To be honest with you, and maybe it’s because unfortunately, Bobby [Wagner] played just one play, but I probably have more of that feeling for Bobby than I do Russell,” Huard told Mike Salk on 710AM ESPN Seattle on Monday, January 3.
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Selling High on a Top-of-the-League Talent
Wagner, 31, is widely considered one of the best linebackers in the NFL, dating all the way back to his first of eight Pro Bowl seasons in 2014.
He’s currently on a three-year contract extension worth $54 million, where he will be an unrestricted free agent come the 2023 offseason. With one year left on his deal and the future direction of the Seahawks uncertain, a trade out of the organization is plausible. One that could set him up for what could be the final contract of his career.
In 2022, Wagner’s salary cap hit is projected to rise from $17.1 million to $20.3 million, while his dead cap number — the amount Seattle would pay for releasing him early — drops from north of $20 million to just $3.75 million, per Spotrac.
Wagner amassed a career-high and franchise-high 170 (breaking his old record of 167 back in 2016) total tackles during the 2021 season. Those numbers are final for him as he’ll miss the final game of the season against the Arizona Cardinals after spraining his MCL and PCL on the first defensive snap against the Lions.
Wagner has served all of his professional football career in Seattle, where he was named a First-Team All-Pro six times in addition to team captain six times. He has an impressive resume, however, he earned a 70.8 defensive grade from Pro Football Focus in 2021, the third-lowest mark of his career.
If the Seahawks sense a decline coming, they could be prompted to move him while his value is still high, focusing on his stellar tackling and defensive instincts.
Seahawks Already Have Reinforcements
After selecting Jordyn Brooks with their first-round pick in 2020, the second-year linebacker is already biting at Wagner’s heels and single-season tackles record. Currently sitting at 165, Brooks will have a legitimate chance to set a new franchise high mark in Week 18 against the Cardinals.
He also has the third-highest tackling grade on the team, coming in at 78.2 according to PFF.
Other than total tackles, Brooks and Wagner are neck-and-neck in most other defensive stats as well. Brooks has eight total pressures, one sack, two QB hits and five hurries on the season compared to Wagner’s 10 total pressures, one sack, three QB hits and six hurries.
When Wagner went down against the Lions, linebacker Cody Barton also filled in admirably.
“As you saw Sunday, Cody did some really good things and Jordyn is certainly a linebacker of the future,” Huard mentioned on 710AM ESPN Seattle.
Barton earned an 84.4 defensive grade for the game, excelling in tackling just as Wagner would’ve liked.
With some defensive stalwarts in the midst for the Seahawks, this could possibly be the curtain call for the star linebacker Seahawks fans have known intimately since 2012.