LOS ANGELES (AP) — Linebacker Bobby Wagner agreed to a five-year deal Thursday to affix his hometown Los Angeles Rams.
The Super Bowl champions outmaneuvered a number of suitors for Wagner, one of many NFL’s high inside linebackers after his decade with the Seattle Seahawks. ESPN reported Wagner’s deal incorporates $50 million assured and could possibly be value as much as $65 million.
The Seahawks launched the six-time All-Pro anchor of their protection on March 9. Just over three weeks later, Wagner agreed to affix Seattle’s NFC West rivals, offering the pressure at inside linebacker that the Rams have lacked for a number of seasons.
Wagner was born in Los Angeles, and he graduated from highschool in suburban Ontario, California.
Wagner joins receiver Allen Robinson as essentially the most outstanding offseason additions to the Rams, who’ve as soon as once more confirmed their adeptness at becoming stars below the wage cap. Los Angeles misplaced a handful of starters and key contributors to free company, retirement and a commerce over the previous month, but additionally managed to retain two key offensive linemen whereas including Wagner and Robinson as veteran playmakers.
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Although Wagner performs a markedly totally different linebacking position, his arrival will assuage a number of the Rams’ disappointment at dropping midseason acquisition Von Miller, who took a barely increased provide from the Buffalo Bills slightly than working it again in Los Angeles.
Wagner has been chosen to the previous eight consecutive Pro Bowls, and he has racked up 1,383 complete tackles — essentially the most by any lively participant. He set a profession excessive final season with 170 tackles for struggling Seattle.
The solely lively participant with extra first-team All-Pro picks than Wagner is Aaron Donald, Wagner’s new teammate.
Wagner was launched by the rebuilding Seahawks as a result of he would have value them $20.6 million in opposition to the wage cap this 12 months within the closing season of his contract. He additionally turns 32 in June.
But Wagner had no scarcity of groups keen to select him up after his departure from Seattle. The Baltimore Ravens have been essentially the most outstanding among the many different groups who avidly pursued Wagner in free company, however the Rams closed the deal per week after Wagner visited the workforce’s coaching complicated in Thousand Oaks.
Wagner ought to step in instantly to assist a protection that has put collectively two excellent years regardless of missing a flexible, hard-hitting linebacker in the course of its scheme. A linebacker hasn’t led the Rams in tackles since 2019, when Cory Littleton parlayed his breakout play right into a free-agent take care of the Raiders.
The Rams largely used unsung Troy Reeder and rookie Ernest Jones as inside linebackers final season. While each are respectable tacklers, the relative weak spot of the duo’s cross protection abilities was apparent to opponents with the endurance to throw the ball usually to the center of the sector.
Jones, whose late-season enhancements have been interrupted by damage, is prone to be alongside Wagner in the course of LA’s 3-4 scheme below defensive coordinator Raheem Morris this fall.
Rams basic supervisor Les Snead has admired Wagner for the reason that linebacker’s school profession at Utah State. Snead nonetheless regrets passing on Wagner within the 2012 draft when he elected to commerce again for extra picks slightly than choosing a participant he knew could be a star.
Snead now not makes that mistake in drafts, calling it his “Bobby Wagner Rule.”
The Rams’ offseason enterprise additionally included a brand new contract for quarterback Matthew Stafford, and the workforce has confirmed it’s engaged on a brand new deal for Donald.
Los Angeles hopes to re-sign midseason acquisition Odell Beckham Jr., however the receiver’s upcoming prolonged restoration from knee surgical procedure complicates any deal.
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