The Seattle Seahawks ensured that one of their biggest defensive pieces won't leave anytime soon, signing linebacker Bobby Wagner to a four-year extension, the team announced Sunday. Seahawks owner Paul Allen posted a photo of Wagner signing the deal before Wagner released a statement:
CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco continues to be impressed with how Seattle retains its best players:
Bleacher Report's Luke Easterling wondered what kind of impact this news will have on other linebackers around the league seeking new contracts:
Through his first three years in Seattle, Wagner recorded 257 tackles, nine sacks and five interceptions. He earned a trip to the Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors after his performance in 2014, both of which are made more impressive by the fact that he missed five games. He even somehow garnered an MVP vote.
Wagner did his best to earn that vote in Seattle's Super Bowl XLIX loss to the New England Patriots. He made 12 total tackles and intercepted a pass in the defeat.
It was impossible to ignore Wagner's impact on the Seahawks defense when he was on the field. Stephen Cohen of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer provided evidence as to how much the unit improved when he played:
Wagner was originally set to become a free agent after the 2015 season. Although the Seahawks have undoubtedly been forced to make tough financial decisions following their success—letting cornerback Byron Maxwell walk, for one—it seemed highly unlikely Wagner would slip through the franchise's grasp.
Rapoport reported on June 8 that the two parties were hammering out the details on a new contract. On Friday, Wagner brushed aside any discussion about the potential for an extension, per the Seahawks:
Earlier in the week, the Seahawks agreed to a four-year, $87.6 million extension with starting quarterback Russell Wilson, per ESPN.com. Wilson and Wagner were both selected by Seattle in the 2012 draft and have been cornerstones of the franchise's success over the past three seasons.
Re-signing Wilson likely helped the Seahawks in their pursuit of a new deal with Wagner. The front office had a much better idea of what kind of money it could realistically offer the 24-year-old linebacker.
It never seemed a possibility Wagner would hit the open market. He's too valuable to Seattle for the team to let him go.
But now that he has officially committed his future to the Seahawks, fans can breathe a little easier.
The reality of the situation is that Seattle will lose more key players to free agency down the road since the team only has so much money to go around. Having Wagner on the squad will ensure the core of the Seahawks' devastating defense remains.