Linebacker Bobby Wagner and Rams Agree to Part Ways
Just one year after signing a long-term contract with the Los Angeles Rams, veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner is hitting the free agent market.
According to Adam Schefter, Wagner, and the Rams agreed mutually to part ways today:
Wagner signed a five-year, $50 million contract with the Los Angeles Rams last April. Wagner’s deal with the Rams included $20 million in guaranteed money, $10 million of which was guaranteed at signing.
Wagner’s 2023 cap hit with the Rams was $12.5 million. Instead of restructuring, the cap-needy Rams decided to part ways with Wagner, who will become a big name on the free-agent market. Wagner is 33 years old but played well in his lone season in Los Angeles.
The veteran linebacker recorded 140 tackles (81 solo) and six sacks for the Rams in 2022. Wagner’s six sacks were a career-high. He also recorded 10 tackles for loss and two interceptions. His 90.7 defensive rating at PFF was the third-highest of his career. Wagner also posted a 91.1 run defense rating (the second-highest of his career) and a 91.0 tackle rating (the second-highest of his career).
The only area where Wagner was below 90 at PFF was in the pass rush (79.6) and coverage (77.9) grades. The notion that Wagner’s best football is behind him is severely exaggerated.
Over the Cap has Wagner’s 2022 valuation at $14.9 million. Wagner’s one season stop in Los Angeles might have earned him a raise. So while I can’t see Wagner getting another five-year deal, he will be in demand.
PFF has Lavonte David as the top-ranked linebacker in the free agency class. David is also 33, and PFF has him projected to get a two-year deal worth $11 million a year. Buffalo’s Tremaine Edmunds is right behind Wagner. Four years and $17.5 million a year is where PFF has the Bills linebacker. However, Edmunds will be 25 years old this season.
So, if a team wants to meet Wagner in the $12-14 million range for two years as a bridge player, Wagner is a fit. The Chicago Bears could use a run-stopping inside linebacker like Wagner. Wagner was phenomenal against the run. And as we know, the Bears most certainly were not.