After playing against Bobby Wagner for 10 seasons, the Los Angeles Rams didn't initially buy his interest in signing with them as a free agent this offseason.
Rams general manager Les Snead told Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times that he thought the initial text message he received from Wagner in March was a hoax.
"I think he signed off as Bwagz," Snead said, "and I’m like, 'OK, is this real?'"
According to Klein, the Rams were one of several teams Wagner messaged who thought they were being pranked by someone with a fake number.
"Everybody thought it was a fake," Wagner told Klein.
One reason for the uncertainty is because Wagner, unlike most players, doesn't have an agent and chooses to represent himself.
Klein noted the Rams weren't initially planning to sign Wagner because they didn't have a spot for him, nor did they have the cap space available to add what he would command on the open market.
Snead eventually worked things out with the cap and got Wagner to sign a five-year, $50 million contract. Richard Sherman, Wagner's former teammate, tweeted the Baltimore Ravens "made a last (minute) push" to sign the eight-time All-Pro linebacker before Los Angeles closed the deal.
Wagner spent the first 10 years of his career with the Seattle Seahawks. He was one of the key players on the defense during the "Legion of Boom" years and continued to play at a high level after that group broke up.
With the Seahawks taking their roster in a different direction this season, Wagner was released by the team in March. The 32-year-old produced like one of the best linebackers in the NFL in 2021, earning second-team All-Pro honors after recording 170 combined tackles, three tackles for loss and five pass breakups in 16 starts.