Seahawks Extend Bobby Wagner

SUNDAY, 12:12pm: The deal is done, per the Seahawks’ official website.

SUNDAY, 9:33am: Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times writes that Wagner will receive $22MM in guaranteed money. Former NFL agent Joel Corry tweets that Wagner’s 2016 and 2017 salary guarantees will be for injury only at first, and then become fully guaranteed on the fifth day after the waiver period starts. Corry also notes (via Twitter) that, if Wagner’s signing bonus is based on the same formula the team used when crafting new deals for Thomas and Sherman, about $6-8MM of his guaranteed money will be in the form of a signing bonus. Both Condotta and Corry note that the club had just under $4MM of salary cap room after the Wilson extension, so it will be interesting to see how Wagner’s deal will be structured.

Rand Getlin of the NFL Network points out (via Twitter) that the $10.75MM average annual value of Wagner’s deal “blows the top off” of the inside linebacker market, making Wagner the highest-paid inside linebacker in league history (of course, the inevitable extension for Carolina’s Luke Kuechly will probably change that).

SATURDAY, 11:54pm: Wagner’s four-year extension will be worth $43MM, making him the highest-paid inside linebacker in the NFL, tweets Garafolo. It appears that, like Wilson’s deal, Wagner’s extension will be tacked onto his 2015 season, keeping him under contract through 2019.

SATURDAY, 11:34pm: A day after Russell Wilson agreed to a four-year extension with the Seahawks, Seattle has locked up another one of its key players. According to former Seahawk Michael Robinson (via Twitter), linebacker Bobby Wagner has agreed to a new contract with the team. A source tells Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (Twitter link) that Wagner is expected to officially sign his new deal tonight."<strong

Despite missing five games in 2014 with turf toe, Wagner racked up an impressive 135 regular season tackles and was named an All-Pro linebacker, in addition to earning a Pro Bowl nod. Pro Football Focus (subscription required) ranked Wagner fifth out of 60 qualified inside linebackers, grading him as an above-average contributor in pass coverage, as a pass rusher, and especially against the run.

We heard last month that Wagner and the Seahawks were making progress on an extension, and despite the fact that the linebacker ominously tweeted “Can’t keep everyone” yesterday following the Wilson news, head coach Pete Carroll strongly hinted the club would lock up Wagner as well.

It will be interesting to see the years and dollars on Wagner’s extension. An April report suggested the 25-year-old could command a deal north of $8MM per year, but that estimate rose to around $10MM by June. Currently, the largest inside linebacker contract in the NFL belongs to Lawrence Timmons of the Steelers, who is averaging nearly $9.6MM annually. Wagner’s contract figures to be in the same ballpark as Timmons’ deal, perhaps even exceeding it, but the Seahawks probably did well to secure their own standout linebacker before the Panthers extended Luke Kuechly — the Carolina star is expected to set a new standard for inside linebackers when he eventually signs an extension.

Wagner’s deal will add another sizable average annual salary to Seattle’s books. Although the linebacker was probably right when he observed that the Seahawks can’t keep everyone, they certainly seem to be trying. In addition to Wilson and presumably Wagner, Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch, Jimmy Graham, Michael Bennett, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Cliff Avril, and K.J. Wright are under contract through the 2017 season on contracts worth at least $6MM annually — and some are worth significantly more than that.

The Seahawks’ latest extensions leave the team with fewer contract situations to address, but there are still some notable players who will be seeking extensions or restructures. Bennett and Chancellor are both unhappy with their current deals, and the safety is holding out from training camp as he angles for a new contract. Meanwhile, left tackle Russell Okung and linebacker Bruce Irvin will be eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2016.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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