After the Seahawks made the surprise move to release the eight-time Pro Bowler last offseason, Wagner signed a five-year, $50 million contract with the Rams. While Los Angeles plummeted following their successful Super Bowl run, finishing the 2022 NFL season with a 5-12 record, Wagner served as one of the team’s lone bright spots, recording 140 tackles, six sacks, five passes defensed, and two interceptions.
Wagner earned a 90.7 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, making the 33-year-old the highest-graded linebacker for the year, but the Rams released him after one season due to salary cap constraints. Wagner, who spent the first 10 years of his career in Seattle, re-signed with the Seahawks to much local applause, inking a one-year $5.5 million deal to return to the Emerald City.
As luck would have it, Wagner will face his former team in Week 1. Rams linebacker Ernest Young, who was voted as a team captain this season after spending a year studying under Wagner, sent a message to his ex-teammate ahead of their matchup at Lumen Field.
While Jones said he and Wagner usually text every week, per NFL Network’s Bridget Condon, “He hasn’t text me this week. So I know he’s locked in and ready to go and so are we. He’s gonna get those boys ready defensively. I’ll make sure our guys are ready. It’s gonna be a good show.”
The Rams entered the Week 1 matchup as 4.5-point underdogs, but after All-Pro wide receiver Cooper Kupp was ruled out with a lingering hamstring injury, the Seahawks are now favored by 5.5 points.
Bobby Wagner Shared Intel on the Rams With His Seahawks Teammates
While Seahawks linebacker Jordyn Brooks and wide receiver DK Metcalf wouldn’t reveal the kind of Rams intel Wagner has shared with them, per SI, the future Hall-of-Famer, who was also voted team captain this year, hasn’t been shy in sharing his opposition knowledge.
“I think it just makes the game more fun because you know them, and they know you,” he said of facing the Rams. “You got to pick their brain. I was asking them about things that they were doing against us when I was playing here. Who would’ve thought that I would’ve come back here. Now, will they use those things, will they not use those things? Will I switch something up, will I not? It’s all chess, but it should be a fun game.”
Wagner, who helped lead the Seahawks to a Super Bowl championship during the 2013 season, was a six-time First-Team All-Pro selection who produced 10 consecutive seasons with 100+ tackles before joining the Rams. Throughout his 11-year career, he’s recorded 1,523 tackles, 29.5 sacks, 13 interceptions (including a pick-six), 65 passes defensed and six forced fumbles.
Pete Carroll Is Not Sleeping on the Rams, Thrilled to Have Bobby Wagner Back
While few people will bet on the Rams to win in Week 1, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said during a September 8 appearance on 97.3 FM’s Seattle Morning News that he never counts out a team led by Sean McVay.
“This club since he’s been there has been really, really well coached and prepared and organized in all aspects of it,” Carroll said. “We only anticipate that they’re going to be at their best.”
As for the Seahawks, a 53-man team with 24 players who are rookie or second-year players, Carroll noted how “they really tried to formulate this preparation” during the preseason so the new guys don’t get overwhelmed. And of course, Carroll is thrilled to have Wagner back with the green dot on defense.
“It’s been pretty much perfect,” Carroll said of Wagner’s return, per Seahawks.com. “When I talked to Bobby and got a feel for what he was thinking, and trying to convey what we were thinking, there was a real, obvious, natural connection. It’s just exactly the right place for him to be right now. It’s exactly right for me to be coaching him, for him to be playing for us, and for him to be back here. He’s to be much celebrated about his willingness to come back and share in this opportunity again, and revisit all of the fans, and touch base on where home is for him. It’s been great.”