The Seattle Seahawks are moving on from two of their most accomplished players.
Just hours after the Seahawks agreed to a trade to send Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos, Seattle has made another key decision. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Seahawks have informed team captain Bobby Wagner that they plan to release the veteran linebacker.
“Seahawks informed eight-time All-Pro and Pro-Bowl LB Bobby Wagner, a franchise icon, that they are releasing him, per source,” says Schefter.
“Wagner arrived in Seattle on the same 2012 day as Russell Wilson and now leaves the same day, too. End of an era in Seattle.”
Wagner Remains Top Linebacker at Advanced Age
The 31-year-old Wagner became one of the greatest players in franchise history during his 10 years in Seattle. Wagner is an eight-time All-Pro selection, notching an All-Pro nod every year from 2014 until 2021. He was also an eight-time Pro Bowler during that time frame.
The move saves the Seahawks $16.6 million as Wagner was due a cap hit of over $20.3 million in 2022. The cap hit would have been the second-highest on the Seahawks, behind Wilson’s $24 million. Wagner’s release results in $3.75 million in dead cap money.
Despite Wagner’s advanced age, he remains a productive linebacker. Wagner posted a career-high 170 tackles in 2021 despite missing all but one snap of the last two games.
Towards the end of the season, Wagner stressed his desire to return to Seattle — but also knew that he could be on the move in the offseason.
“I understand there is a business side to this, but there is a lot of optimism on my end that I’ll be back,” Wagner said in early January. “So I’m not worried about it. Obviously, I can’t control everything. I can only control my part. And my part on this is I feel like I love this city. I love this team. I love the Seahawks. So I always wanted to be a part of a franchise’s good times and bad times and every time. So this is a team that I would love to be able to be a part of for a very, very long time.
The departure of Wagner officially ends an era in Seattle as he was the last remaining starter from the Seahawks’ Super Bowl team of the 2013 season. Defensive end Benson Mayowa is the last remaining member of that team on the roster.
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Seahawks’ Major Cap Ramifications After Wilson Trade
As the Seahawks begin their new era without both Wilson and Wagner, they do so at a major cost.
While the Wagner move will mostly save Seattle money, the trade of Wilson resulted in a major amount of dead money.
According to Henderson, Wilson’s trade will cost the Seahawks $26 million in dead money while saving them just $11 million in 2022. It’s the second-most dead money a team has ever incurred from the release/trade of a player.
“Cap ramifications: Russell Wilson was to count $37M in 2022,” said Henderson. “Seahawks save $11M in ’22 and take on on $26M in dead money. Per @ESPNStatsInfo, that’s the second-most dead money a team has ever incurred. Philly ate $33.8M in the Carson Wentz trade.”
Considering the salary cap ramifications and the decision to move on from arguably two of the best players in franchise history, it’s clear the Seahawks did not feel they could field a Super Bowl-winning team in the near future.