The Seahawks and Bobby Wagner are making progress in negotiations on a new contract for the linebacker, according to Rand Getlin of the NFL Network, who reports (via Twitter) that there’s optimism a deal could get done before the start of training camp. In a second tweet, Getlin classifies discussions between the Seahawks and Wagner as “very active,” with both sides working to ensure that the Pro Bowler remains in Seattle for the long term.
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 that 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.
While Wagner isn’t the Seahawks’ most notable extension candidate this offseason – that honor belongs to Russell Wilson, with left tackle Russell Okung also in the mix – he may be easier to lock up than some of his teammates. Wilson appears to be seeking a contract that will make him one of the league’s highest-paid players, if not the highest-paid. As for Okung, he’s representing himself without an agent, and may want to wait until after the season to focus on negotiations.
The Seahawks’ secondary has received much of the praise for the defense’s impressive performance in recent years, and players like Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, and Earl Thomas have already been extended. However, the club’s front seven has been very effective as well. With Wagner and Bruce Irvin both eligible for free agency after the season, and Michael Bennett said to be unhappy with his contract situation, the Seahawks will have some work to do on that side of the ball before the 2016 offseason, and locking up Wagner would be a good start.
A report in April suggested that Wagner figures to command more than $8MM per year on his next deal. Extending him now would also leave the franchise tag available to be used by the Seahawks on Okung, Irvin, or – most likely – Wilson in 2016.