The Seahawks shocked the world in a few different ways last night. Shortly after Russell Wilson’s departure to Denver, it was reported that the team would be looking to release veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner. But should the Eagles go sprinting to the bank to secure his services?
Bobby Wagner released
There’s no doubting that the 31-year-old is among the very best to play the linebacker position. Even on the cusp of turning 32, Wagner turned in a 170-tackle season and led the NFL in tackles, earning his eighth Pro Bowl nod in the process. Could he continue this production for another few years? I wouldn’t recommend betting against it.
However, Wagner was set to enter the final year of his contract in Seattle that would’ve seen him earn a $16.35M base salary, and an extra $250k in incentives. It would be reasonable to expect that Wagner would want to both A) Go to a place he can contend and B) Make close to that amount with his new team, guaranteeing his future as he absolutely should do.
Should the Eagles pursue Bobby Wagner?
The Eagles are a team that has been starved of talent at linebacker for years now. The team let Jordan Hicks walk into Arizona and Nigel Bradham’s production would tumble off a cliff after an impressive few years. Since then, Howie has leaned heavily on extremely young and raw talent, with very few proven vets in the room to set the tone.
Linebacker just so happens to be the Philly’s biggest need coming into the offseason and it’s physically impossible to find a better player to fill that hole than Bobby Wagner. However, with three first-round picks, Howie Roseman might deem it more fitting to draft a top-20 level player and with Wagner in town, that talent wouldn’t see the field right away.
However, historically, the Eagles have always been reluctant to invest heavily at the linebacker position. Sure, spending heavy to bring Wagner to the City of Brotherly Love would be risky, but it would leave those three first-round picks to be spent elsewhere, allowing him the flexibility to bring in even more athletically gifted yet fundamentally raw players who could grow under Wagner’s tutelage.
It would cost the Eagles a significant amount of money to bring in a player of Bobby Wagner’s caliber, especially if it’s on a short-term deal as Howie would likely prefer. The Eagles have had plenty of issues when it comes to overpaying for ageing talent, but if the team could hypothetically move on or restructure some expensive 2022 cap hits, then it is definitely plausible that they could make a push.
At the end of the day, it’s not Howie’s decision to make. Bobby Wagner is absolutely the best linebacker in the NFL and he’s going to have his pick of the litter. Does he want to win another Super Bowl, or instead take on a mentoring role as he has for so long in Seattle? If the answer is A), then it comes down to how well Howie and Jonathan Gannon can make the case. The Eagles do have the necessary ammo to lure Wagner to Philadelphia, but whether they choose to do so, and he chooses to entertain that is a very different issue entirely.
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