The Seattle Seahawks have decisions to make regarding some of the top young players in the NFL. And while Russell Wilson’s contract situation is getting more press, Pro Bowl linebacker Bobby Wagner is making it clear he wants a new contract from the team.
“I’ve heard nothing so until I get something to sign then I haven’t heard nothing,” Wagner said, via The Seattle Times.
When pressed about his timetable for signing an extension, Wagner simply responded with “soon.”
We can read between the lines here. Wagner isn’t too thrilled that he doesn’t have a viable contract offer available to him. And he isn’t afraid to display that publicly.
There’s a lot to look at here. If Seattle is unable to agree to a contract extension with either Wilson or Wagner before March, one of these young studs will hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent. For all intents and purposes, Wagner would be the odd man out in that scenario. There’s no chance that general manager John Schneider and company let their franchise signal caller test the open market.
Wagner, 24, is one of the best defensive players in the NFL. In 11 games this past season, he put up 135 tackles, four passes defended and two sacks en route to First-Team All Pro honors. That came one year after the linebacker netted over 150 tackles with two interceptions and five sacks. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Wagner graded out as the fifth-best inside linebacker in the NFL in 2014.
Needless to say, an extension won’t be cheap for a Seahawks team that needs to find a happy medium between keeping valuable young players and maintaining long-term salary cap flexibility. Since the end of its 2013 Super Bowl-winning campaign, Seattle has doled out over $112 million guaranteed to Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, K.J. Wright, Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. With Wilson slated to demand north of $20 million per season, it’s going to take some tricky work for Schneider to get something done with Wagner.
Looking at Wilson’s situation for a second, the unknown there could impact what Seattle does with Wagner. The two sides are said to be far apart on extension negotiations, a situation that could linger into the 2015 season. If that happens, Seattle will be forced to either cave into Wilson’s contract demands or franchise the quarterback. Again, this might set up a scenario where Wagner hits the open market as an unrestricted free agent.
This situation is definitely something to keep an eye on moving forward. Realistically, Seattle needs to lock one of these players up in order to guarantee itself that both players will be with the team beyond the 2015 season.
Photo: USA Today Sports