Bobby Wagner

Latest On Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll

After an offseason in which Russell Wilson‘s long-term Seattle future suddenly became cloudy, the 10th-year quarterback suffered his first major injury. And he has not played to his usual standards upon return. The Seahawks will finish below .500 for the first time in his tenure.

Wilson is signed through 2023, though the events of this past offseason figure to put him back in trade rumors fairly soon. The decorated passer made an interesting comment regarding his Seattle status ahead of Week 17 as well.

I know you guys asked Bobby [Wagner] about ‘Could this be your last game?’ this and that and all that. I know for me personally, I hope it’s not my last game,” Wilson said of the prospect Sunday is his last home game as a Seahawk, via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta. “But at the same time, I know it won’t be my last game in NFL. So I’m just focused on the day and getting better today. And so that’s my focus. That’s my goal. I love this city, and I love this moment. I love these guys.”

Wilson, 33, offered this response unprompted, closing out 2021 with more uncertainty in Seattle. The Seahawks have some leverage with Wilson, having signed him to a four-year, $140MM extension in 2019. Wilson also holds a no-trade clause. Unlike Aaron Rodgers, Wilson did not stage a holdout this year. But the Seahawks are 5-10 and, barring a major trade, will not have a first-round pick in April.

Wagner’s comment about his Seahawks future centered around his $20.35MM cap number in the final year of his contract. The team is, however, projected to hold more than $55MM in cap space — a top-10 figure leaguewide. But, after the Seahawks entered this past offseason after a 12-4 season, they have bigger questions about their future a year later.

Pete Carroll‘s status may be somewhat in question, given this disappointing season coming after a slew of Wilson offseason headlines, but the 12th-year Seattle HC signed an extension barely a year ago. Carroll is locked up through 2025. The 70-year-old coach is also not viewed as ready to step away on his own accord, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. While this is Carroll’s first 10-loss season at any level since his first Jets slate in 1994, Breer adds ownership is not pleased with where the Seahawks football operation stands presently.

After Wilson listed the Raiders, Bears, Cowboys and Saints as teams he would approve a trade to, the Broncos, Giants and Saints appeared on a new list of sorts during the season. Wilson did call the initial report including these new teams a non-story. Nevertheless, how the Seahawks proceed will easily be one of the most fascinating situations to monitor entering 2022.

Indeed, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com says there is a “leaguewide feeling” that Wilson and Carroll will not be together next year. That’s not particularly surprising in light of everything we have heard so far, but as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk points out, Schefter’s report — which includes somewhat vague language — could be interpreted as a renewed attempt by Wilson’s camp to force Seattle’s hand. After all, it was Schefter to whom Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, released the statement last year that Wilson would be willing to waive his no-trade clause for a handful of teams, which is what precipitated the Bears’ efforts to acquire the seven-time Pro Bowler and the rampant chatter about his future.

One way or another, Florio believes the ‘Hawks will make a decision on Carroll before deciding how to handle the Wilson situation.

Rory Parks contributed to this post.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Notes: Fisher, Cannon, Wagner

The Colts were hoping for a Week 1 return for new LT Eric Fisher, who has been rehabbing from the torn Achilles tendon he suffered as a member of the Chiefs in January. According to Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star, Fisher had a real chance to suit up for the September 12 opener against Seattle, but his recent positive test for COVID-19 has seriously complicated matters.

Fisher’s positive result has forced him to quarantine for 10 days — which suggests he is not vaccinated — so he is unable to continue his rehab at the team facility. As such, there is no way for the Colts to comment on his availability until he is activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list. Until he is ready to go, Indy will roll with Julie’n Davenport at left tackle.

Let’s take a look at several other injury-related items:

  • Texans OL Marcus Cannon was recently activated off the PUP list, and as veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson tweets, there is optimism that Cannon could be ready for Week 1. Houston acquired Cannon in a March trade with the Patriots, but the 33-year-old underwent knee surgery in June and had been recovering ever since. For now, Houston is set to deploy second-year pro Charlie Heck at RT, but Cannon could push Heck for that job while also providing valuable depth at multiple spots along the O-line.
  • The Seahawks have been without LB Bobby Wagner for the past few practices, but there is no cause for alarm. Per head coach Pete Carroll (via Curtis Crabtree of Pro Football Talk), Wagner is simply recovering from a minor knee procedure similar to those he has undergone in recent preseasons. The future Hall-of-Famer has missed just two games over the past six years.
  • The fact that Broncos OL Brett Jones landed on IR prior to final cutdown day suggested that his season was over, and that turned out to be the case. Mike Klis of 9News.com recently tweeted that Jones suffered a torn biceps in the team’s second preseason game and required season-ending surgery. Jones, who appeared in 61 games (19 starts) with the Giants and Vikings over the past five seasons, just signed with Denver in July.

This Date In Transactions History: Seahawks Sign LB Bobby Wagner To First Extension

Hindsight is obviously 20/20…but we can definitively say that on this date in 2015, the Seahawks completed one of the best big-money contracts in recent memory. On August 2, 2015, the organization inked linebacker Bobby Wagner to an extension.

The former second-round pick had a breakout campaign in 2014. Despite missing a handful of games due to turf toe, Wagner still managed to compile 104 tackles and two sacks, leading to his first (of seven consecutive) Pro Bowl appearance and his first (of six total) first-team All-Pro nod. The Seahawks clearly prioritized the linebacker as a foundational piece, and after settling Russell Wilson‘s extension, the team ended up inking their star linebacker to a new deal.

The extension was for four years at $43MM, including almost $20MM in guaranteed money. At the time, this was a significant sum of money for a player with only three years experience; in fact, the move made Wagner the highest-paid middle linebacker in NFL history. While the move may have looked a bit pricey, the organization was clearly establishing Wagner as the leader of their defense for years to come. Of course, as we all know, that decision ended up working out great for Seattle.

Wagner only made second-team All-Pro during the final year of his rookie contract in 2015, but since his extension kicked in, he’s established himself as one of the best linebackers in recent memory. The linebacker has made a first-team All-Pro team and a Pro Bowl each year since 2016, averaging 147 tackles, more than 2.5 sacks, eight tackles for loss, and almost 11 QB hits per season.

Predictably, the organization once again made him one of the league’s highest-paid linebackers with his second extension. In 2019, the team signed Wagner to a new three-year, $54MM deal, including $40.2MM guaranteed. The deal lasts through the 2022 season.

Wagner had obviously shown flashes of brilliance through his first three years in the NFL, but his 2015 extension surely raised a few eyebrows when it was completed. Fast forward six years, and we’re now applauding the organization for the deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks Notes: Wilson, Wagner, Wright

While the Russell Wilson saga never reached the point when it looked like the Pro Bowl quarterback was on the cusp of being traded, the 10th-year passer’s comments about the Seahawks’ offensive line and his list of acceptable trade destinations caused a stir. Trade talks never progressed far, and although Pete Carroll confirmed his quarterback’s frustration, the 12th-year Seattle HC views the Wilson trade buzz as over.

It seems like really old news to talk about this because it’s been such a long time,” Carroll said during an appearance on the Rich Eisen Podcast (via Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams). “The little bit he said carried so much air time that it became bigger than life. Throughout the whole process, Russell, we’ve always been connected. We’ve always been talking. A couple things that came out got magnified and the questions came out, and there was a couple things. He was frustrated when he was talking, just like any of us can sometimes emphasize something that’s on the top of our mind, and it can be played differently than it really played itself out.

… What it amounted to was I think a refocusing, making sure that we were on the same page, making sure that we were clear so that we could withstand any of the scrutiny that would come towards us, and we did that.”

Wilson did not expect to be traded this year, though this matter could resurface down the line. The Seahawks shut down the Bears’ trade push, after Wilson included Chicago on his four-city destination list, and both Chris Carson and Carlos Dunlap indicated the soon-to-be 33-year-old QB would be back in Seattle this coming season. Here is the latest out of the Pacific Northwest:

  • Wilson and Bobby Wagner‘s cap numbers combine to comprise more than $49MM — certainly a sizable chunk of the team’s payroll. The Seahawks could have moved to restructure one of their stars’ deals, but Carroll said (via 710 AM Seattle’s John Clayton) no such moves will be necessary this year. Making only three draft picks, without a first-round contract hitting the books, the Seahawks completed that part of their offseason and still have more than $7MM in cap space. While restructures could have helped the team in free agency, they obviously would have moved more money onto future caps. They are not expected to add a free agent on a deal worth more than the league minimum before training camp, Clayton notes.
  • Unless the Seahawks reach another agreement with K.J. Wright, Wilson and Wagner will take over as the team’s longest-tenured players. No indications point to Wright coming back, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes. Wright said earlier this year he would welcome another Seattle deal, but the 10-year veteran linebacker also was not prepared to take a hometown discount. The 32-year-old defender remains in free agency. After Pro Football Focus graded Wright as a top-10 off-ball ‘backer in 2020, he should receive an opportunity for an 11th season. But a big-money deal is highly unlikely at this juncture.
  • The Seahawks are trying Darrell Taylor at a new position. The 2020 second-round pick is, for the time being, moving from defensive end to outside linebacker, Condotta adds. Taylor spent his rookie year on Seattle’s reserve/NFI list, after undergoing offseason surgery on his shin. But the Seahawks traded up 11 spots to land the Tennessee product. The second-year defender was on the field at the Seahawks’ rookie minicamp last week. Taylor will be vying to start alongside Wagner and Jordyn Brooks, but a role as a Bruce Irvin-type hybrid player in the team’s 4-3 scheme should be expected, Condotta adds.

Seahawks Notes: Wilson, Carroll, Dunlap

One of the reasons for the trade rumors swirling around Seahawks QB Russell Wilson — and perhaps the primary reason — is Wilson’s relationship with head coach Pete Carroll, which appears to be strained. Apparently, his relationship with Carroll’s sons hasn’t been much better.

According to a tweet from The Athletic, Wilson believes Carroll and his sons, Nolan and Brennan, answer to no one (Nolan serves as the team’s WRs coach, and Brennan had been working as the run game coordinator before accepting a position at the University of Arizona). And, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes, Wilson is 100% correct.

Former owner Paul Allen “stayed deep in the background” when he was alive, and his sister, Jody Allen, has largely done the same since she inherited the team. Some league sources believe the Seahawks are essentially run by the Allens’ parent company, Vulcan Inc., which in turn defers to the head coach as the club’s de facto CEO. So while Jody Allen could intervene in light of the Wilson trade rumblings, her track record suggests that she will not do so, and that Pete Carroll will ultimately be the one to decide whether to deal Wilson.

While Wilson himself has said he does not expect to be dealt, Florio believes the 32-year-old will ultimately request a trade either this year or next. If QB and HC do not mend fences soon, it’s easy to envision such a scenario.

Now for more from the Emerald City:

  • Unlike Florio, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com does not believe Wilson will be traded. One of the reasons for that is the fact that — as our Sam Robinson wrote several days ago in the piece linked above — a trade will leave $39MM in dead money on the Seahawks’ cap. While a post-June 1 trade will allow the team to spread out that hit and actually create $19MM in 2021 space, Seattle is lacking a first-rounder and third-rounder this season, so a Wilson trade might be more beneficial if it happened prior to this year’s draft and not after June 1.
  • Still, Henderson believes the ‘Hawks will make a trade that both sheds some salary — the team has less than $8MM of cap space relative to the $180MM floor — and adds some much-needed draft capital. There is no indication as of yet that Seattle will look to trade players like Carlos Dunlap, Bobby Wagner, or Jamal Adams, but Henderson could see it happening.
  • As of now, though, Henderson predicts that the club will cut Dunlap and look to re-sign him to a less expensive contract — the former Bengal is due to carry a $14.1MM cap hit in 2021 — while restructuring the contract of franchise icon Wagner and extending 2020 trade acquisition Adams.
  • Proven performance escalators for several 2018 draftees have played a role in Seattle’s cap crunch. Since he earned a Pro Bowl nod in his rookie season, punter Michael Dickson has a $3.384MM salary for 2021 — the amount of the second-round RFA tender — while cornerback Tre Flowers is due to earn $2.183MM since he met the snap count requirement for the Level One PPE (Twitter link via Henderson). If you need a refresher, OverTheCap.com offers a comprehensive explanation of PPEs.
  • Presently, the Seahawks’ highest draft choice is their second-rounder (No. 56 overall). Given the state of the club’s offensive line, and Wilson’s recent comments in that regard, most mocks have Seattle selecting an OL with that pick, as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times observes. Ohio State guard Wyatt Davis and Tennessee guard Trey Smith would be worthy Day 2 selections.

West Rumors: 49ers, Seahawks, Broncos

It’s been a long offseason for the 49ers, who have seen numerous key players deal with injuries throughout the spring and summer. Add more to the list of San Francisco talents set to miss the preseason. Jerick McKinnon and Weston Richburg are both unlikely to play until Week 1. Given $18MM guaranteed, McKinnon is still dealing with knee trouble after missing all of last season with an ACL tear. The sixth-year running back received a platelet-rich plasma injection on his knee and is expected to miss the 49ers’ August slate, Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com notes. The team activated him from the PUP list Tuesday, but Kyle Shanahan said his prized 2018 offseason signing experienced significant soreness after going through individual drills the past two days. Richburg, who remains on the active/PUP list after a January knee surgery, is being targeted a Week 1 return. So are Nick Bosa and Jason Verrett. The 49ers hope Dee Ford, who received a PRP injection on his injured knee, can play by the team’s dress-rehearsal preseason game.

Here’s the latest West news from outside of San Francisco:

  • With the Seahawks in desperate need of available pass rushers come Week 1, more blitz opportunities may be on tap. Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks (should he be on the field) are in position to be used more as rushers. “If we can play really good D, it’s going to be because of Bobby and K.J. and Mychal and the guys in the linebacker spot. We’re going to utilize them as much as we can to be a factor in all aspects, run and pass [defense],” Pete Carroll said, via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson. “Those guys are really good pass defenders, and they love coming off the edge too. We’ll plan on using those guys a lot.” After Frank Clark‘s departure, the Seahawks have Ziggy Ansah and L.J. Collier injured. Jarran Reed incurred a six-game suspension. Wright has not collected a sack since 2016, when he had four. Wagner had 4.5 that year but recorded 2.5 since.
  • Theo Riddick will earn a $2MM 2019 base salary with the Broncos, and $750K of it is fully guaranteed, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Another $250K will be available in per-game roster bonuses. Overall, Riddick signed for $2.5MM with $1MM guaranteed. This makes it a near-certainty Riddick will appear on the Broncos’ 53-man roster in September.
  • The Broncos are already down Todd Davis for multiple weeks; they will be without one of his top backups for longer than that. Joe Jones suffered a triceps injury this week, and a second opinion delivered more clarity on the inside linebacker’s timeline. Jones will be out between six and eight weeks, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweets. But he will not need surgery, which could increase his chances of making the Broncos. If Jones hits IR before the Broncos finalize their 53-man unit, the special-teamer will be ineligible to return for them this season.
  • Returning 2018 fifth-round pick Johnny Townsend would seemingly be in line to keep his job as the Raiders‘ punter, but Jon Gruden said rookie UDFA A.J. Cole has put himself in the conversation to unseat the incumbent, per Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (on Twitter). Cole would be an option to handle Raiders kickoffs as well.

Injury Notes: Wagner, Sheard, Cardinals

There’s some relatively good news on the injury front out of Denver. Mike Klis of 9News in Denver tweets that Broncos special teams ace Joe Jones won’t need surgery for a partially torn tricep. Still, the injury will keep the 25-year-old off the field for several weeks. Jones suffered the injury during his team’s preseason victory over the Falcons.

While Jones is known for his special teams prowess, the team could have used him for preseason linebacker depth. As The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala points out on TwitterTodd Davis is currently sidelined with a calf injury, and teammate Josey Jewell got examined today after he “tweaked his side.”

As a result of all the injuries, the team’s current depth at inside linebacker is down to four players: Alexander Johnson, Keishawn Bierria, Josh Watson and Joe Dineen.

Let’s take a look at some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • Seahawks coach Pete Carroll seemed to imply that Bobby Wagner had undergone some kind of procedure, as ESPN’s Brady Henderson writes. Carroll told reporters that the linebacker is “going to get a little break here just to get right,” although he didn’t specify where on the body the treatment took place. Wagner apparently had the procedure completed now so he could make it back to the field by the end of the preseason. The 29-year-old inked a three-year, $54MM deal early in training camp.
  • Colts defensive end Jabaal Sheard recently underwent a knee procedure that will keep him out indefinitely, writes Mike Chappell of CBS 4 in Indy. The 30-year-old was seen at the first day of practice in late July, but swelling in his knee has sidelined him since. Sheard started all 32 games for the Colts over the past two seasons, including a 2018 campaign where he had 50 tackles and 5.5 sacks. Al-Quadin Muhammad will take on a bigger role with Sheard on the shelf.
  • Cardinals right tackle Marcus Gilbert left today’s practice with an injury, tweets ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss. This further depleted the team’s offensive line corps, as left guard Justin Pugh and left tackle D.J. Humphries are both out of practice. Korey Cunningham and Rees Odhiambo have slid up the depth chart for the time being.

NFC West Notes: Rams, McVay, Seahawks

The Rams recently extended both head coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead through the 2023 season, and Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com reports club owner Stan Kroenke was the “driving force” behind the dual deals. McVay was set to enter the upcoming campaign as one of the lowest-paid head coaches in the NFL, and — given the youthful coach’s success — Kroenke wanted to reward him. Additionally, Kroenke wanted McVay and Snead’s contract to align and run through the same season, per Breer. It’s unclear exactly how far into the future Snead had previously been under contract, but it was for fewer than the three years McVay had remaining.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • Bobby Wagner became the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL under the terms of his new extension, and we now have some more details on the Seahawks star’s pact. Wagner’s three-year, $54MM deal will allow him to collect $24.5MM in 2019 instead of the $11.5MM he was due this year on his previous deal, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. Additionally, Wagner will secure rolling injury guarantees of $10.75MM in 2020 and $5MM in 2021 that change to full guarantees on the fifth day of that season’s waiver period. Former agent and current CBSSports.com contributor Joel Corry broke down the deal, which Wagner negotiated himself.
  • The Seahawks will work out running backs Chris Warren and Brian Wallace this week, per Brady Henderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). As Henderson notes, Warren’s father made three Pro Bowls as a Seattle running back from 1990-97. The younger Warren posted an excellent 2018 preseason but missed the entire regular season after suffering a knee injury. He was waived by the Raiders this week after struggling with conditioning issues.
  • In case you missed it, the Rams gave wideout Robert Woods a raise for the 2019 season. In a rare NFL occurrence, Los Angeles handed Woods an extra $1MM in base salary and a new $2MM roster bonus with no strings attached.

Seahawks Extend LB Bobby Wagner

The Seahawks have locked up one of the best defensive players in football. Seattle is signing linebacker Bobby Wagner to a three-year extension worth $54MM, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

In a follow-up tweet, Rapoport notes that Wagner will get $40.2MM in guaranteed money. At $18MM annually, Wagner is now the highest-paid inside linebacker in the game, eclipsing the $17MM that C.J. Mosley got from the Jets earlier this offseason. Wagner made it clear a few days ago he would attend training camp on time even though he didn’t have the new deal he wanted yet, as he wanted to be a good leader and locker room presence.

Wagner has been standing off to the side and observing practice at the first few days of camp, clearly waiting for this deal to get done. The Utah State product had been set to enter the final year of a four-year, $43MM extension he signed back in 2015. There’s now a huge gap between Wagner and Mosley at the top and the rest of the inside linebackers. Deion Jones is in third place with the extension he recently signed with the Falcons, which will pay him a tick over $14MM annually.

Wagner originally entered the league as a second-round pick back in 2012. He’s since firmly established himself as the league’s best off-ball linebacker, making the Pro Bowl in each of the last five seasons and being named a first-team All-Pro in each of the last three. One of the last remaining pieces of the Seahawks’ Super Bowl winning defense, Wagner is the team’s next most important player after Russell Wilson. He’s been a rock for them, starting at least 15 games in each of the past four seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Rumors: Seahawks, Broncos, Brock

As he did during minicamp, Bobby Wagner attended Seahawks practice but merely as an observer. Pete Carroll confirmed (via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson) the Seahawks and their four-time All-Pro linebacker are discussing an extension but did not elaborate on where the sides are in the process. Longtime Wagner linebacker sidekick K.J. Wright believes a deal is imminent, however. Any extension would probably have to make Wagner the highest-paid off-ball linebacker, and while Deion Jones‘ recent Falcons re-up bridged the gap between C.J. Mosley‘s $17MM-AAV pact and the field, the Jets linebacker still makes over $2.5MM per year more than any other traditional ‘backer. Wagner has confirmed he wants to exceed Mosley’s deal, and this may lead to the eighth-year standout continuing his hold-in strategy.

Shifting first to a former Seahawk who took a different contract-seeking approach last year, here is the latest from out west:

  • Earl Thomas skipped all Seahawks activities before making a pre-Week 1 return last year. Now with the Ravens, Thomas said (via ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson, video link) Carroll communicated to him the week of his season-ending injury indicating an interest in working out a long-term deal. The reason Thomas then flipped off Carroll as he was being carted away? The three-time All-Pro did not believe Carroll was being honest with him. He and Carroll have not spoken since. The Seahawks were not linked to a potential Thomas reunion this offseason.
  • John Elway praised Joe Flacco throughout the Broncos‘ offseason program. One of the reasons why Elway targeted him was a belief the Ravens did not surround him with enough talent or a good system, after Gary Kubiak left his OC post to become Broncos HC in 2015, during his latter years in Baltimore. New Denver OC Rich Scangarello‘s system is derived from Kubiak’s. “To me, he hasn’t had a great system and he hasn’t had great people around him,” Elway said, via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala (subscription required). “So he can have success when you have people around him and he’s in the right system, which I think he is because this is the system he’s had success in.” The Broncos, who relied heavily on Emmanuel Sanders and Phillip Lindsay last season before their year-ending injuries, are banking on second-year wideouts Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton making strides in Year 2.
  • While Mike Munchak lost out to Vic Fangio in the pursuit of Denver’s HC job, the Broncos’ offensive line coach has seen his role quickly expand. Munchak now has influence over the Broncos’ passing game and rushing attack, Jhabvala notes. Munchak worked as the Steelers’ O-line coach the past five seasons — each ending with a Pittsburgh top-10 offensive ranking.
  • The Cardinals are focusing Tramaine Brock on a role as a slot cornerback, Kyle Odegard of AZCardinals.com notes. Brock mostly played outside under Vance Joseph last season, prior to Chris Harris‘ season-ending injury. On the outside, second-round pick Byron Murphy and second-year corner Chris Jones are the top candidates vying to play opposite Robert Alford. This arrangement looks like the plan until Patrick Peterson returns from his six-game suspension.