After finding himself one of the hottest names on the free agent market following the first wave of signings, six-time All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner has decided to remain in the NFC West and return to the Seattle Seahawks, the San Francisco 49ers‘ top rival in the division, on a one-year, $7 million deal, according to Adam Schefter.
Initially reported by none other than Quandre Diggs, the Seahawks’ starting free safety since mid-way through the 2019 NFL season, Wagner is heading back to the team that initially drafted him in the second round of the 2012 NFL draft, and in the words of Diggs, fans should rejoice his return.
“According to my sources future Hall of Famer LB Bobby Wagner has agreed to terms to return home to the Seattle Seahawks. Seahawks fill a huge need in the middle of their defense!’” Diggs wrote. “Reported by Quandre Diggs. 12’s rejoice!!”
Unfortunately, for the Niners, this is less-than-ideal as Wagner was one of the clear highlights of a very disappointing Los Angeles Rams team and, for the 12th season in a row, they will have to face off against the future Hall of Famer at least twice this fall.
Bobby Wagner Dominated Vs. the San Francisco 49ers in 2022
After winning the Super Bowl in February of 2022, Wagner decided to leave the Emerald City for Los Angeles in the hopes of adding another ring to his collection, but unfortunately, things didn’t turn out that way; the Seahawks finished out the regular season with four more wins than Los Angeles and joined the 49ers in the playoffs as a wild card team.
Adding Wagner to the Seahawks’ defense makes San Francisco’s top challenger for the NFC West all the more challenging, as not only did Wagner amass 15 tackles in his two games against the 49ers in 2022, but he actually finished out the season as the top-ranked linebacker in all of football according to Pro Football Focus with a 90.7 defensive grade, a 91.1 run defense grade, a 79.6 pass rush grade, and a 77.9 coverage grade, which ranked first, first, fifth, and 10th across the linebackers in PFF’s system, respectively.
If Wagner can keep up his typical level of performance reunited with Pete Carroll, Seattle’s defense, which allowed the third-most rushing yards-per-game in 2022, should take a major step forward.
Bobby Wagner is Excited to Return to Seattle
Discussing what it meant to the Los Angeles native to return to the team that drafted him in an interview with the Seattle Times, Wagner noted just how surreal it was to return to the team that drafted him.
“It was surreal,’’ Wagner said. “Because the last time I walked out of the VMAC, it was like packing up my stuff. And you’ve watched guys do that. I’ve watched guys do that for a long time and you never really anticipate me being one of those guys. I thought I was just going to be one of those that whenever I was done, I was going to be done playing football.
“So, yeah, that last time when I cleaned my locker out and got my stuff I wasn’t sure when I was going to walk back into that building (again). And so it was like a surreal moment to be able to come back into that building not just as a retired player but as somebody who still feels like he has a lot to offer and that the team is going to lean on and count on to help us win.’”
Will Wagner, who turns 33 before Week 1 be able to play at a high-level well into the future? Only time will tell but betting $7 million that he can be as good as he was in 2022 is a pretty safe wager for a Seattle team that vastly over-performed expectations in 2022 as they re-tool for the 2023 NFL season.