RENTON -- The Seahawks and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner have reached an agreement on a three-year extension reportedly worth $54 million with $40.2 million guaranteed.
The agreement was first reported by Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report and was confirmed to 950 KJR Friday afternoon.
“I’m really excited to have this done, excited that I get to be a Seahawk for a long, long time. Like I’ve always said, I want to play my entire career here, and I feel like today is a step toward that," Wagner said in a story announcing the deal on the team's website.
“It feels amazing being here. I’ve watched people stay, I’ve watched people go, and to have the trust from the organization to continue to let me lead this team, lead the defense, it’s a great feeling. I’m excited to get back to work.”
The new deal for Wagner averages $18 million a season, which makes Wagner the highest-paid linebacker in the league. Wagner had made it clear he intended to set a new bar for linebacker contracts following C.J. Mosley's deal with the New York Jets earlier this offseason.
The Jets gave Mosley a five-year deal worth $85 million with $51 million guaranteed in March. At an average of $17 million a year, Mosley's deal massively raised the bar of contracts at the linebacker position in the NFL. Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers had been the previous benchmark at $12.4 million a year.
“I mean, the number is the number, the market is the market. That’s the top (of the) linebacker market,” said Wagner, who served as his own agent for his new deal. “That is the standard. And so that is the plan to break that.”
“I know my value,’’ he said. “Nobody has to tell me my value. I know my value, so no team, no person, no agent, can tell me my value and I believe in myself. I bet on myself and either way to me it’s a win. You get a contract, you win. You don’t, it’s a learning experience, so you win. A lot of people are not willing to take that chance. I am.’’
Wagner served as his own agent in negotiations with the team.
Wagner attended offseason voluntary workouts without taking part. Even without the deal he was seeking in place, Wagner wanted to show up and express his commitment while protecting himself against injuries that could have scuttled an extension.
“I will be here — that will be my participation,’’ Wagner said at the time. “I will be here helping the young guys, doing whatever I can. … You want to send the right message. You want to support the guys. I do feel like the quarterback of the defense is pretty important, so not having that piece would put a damper on the defense. I just feel like it’s important for our success, so I’m here."
The same philosophy translated to training camp with Wagner being in attendance but not participating in the first two days of camp. He looked on while wearing a sweat suit on Thursday before donning his jersey and helmet for Friday's workout.
It's far more likely Wagner will be participating in practice now when the team returns to the field Sunday after a day off. Sunday's workout will be the first practice of camp in full pads for the Seahawks.
Wagner's previous contract expired after the 2019 season and was set to pay him $10.5 million in base salary with an additional $1 million available in per-game roster bonuses, per OverTheCap.com. He is now under contract through the 2022 season when he will be 32 years old.
“We feel blessed that we were able to draft Bobby in 2012, keep him here on a second contract, and now to have him sign a third contract is a huge deal for us,” General Manager John Schneider said, via the Seahawks. “Everyone in the whole building is excited, I’m sure his teammates are going to be very excited. He exemplifies everything that we’re all about, his professionalism, intensity, the way he handles himself off the field. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll go down not only as one of the greatest Seahawks, but also as one of the greatest middle linebackers in NFL history. It’s a major deal for our organization moving into the future.”
Wagner is a four-time first-team All-Pro and a five-time Pro Bowl selection.
Photo Credit: GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 10: Bobby Wagner #54 of the Seattle Seahawks attempts to tackle Ty Montgomery #88 of the Green Bay Packers during the first half at Lambeau Field on September 10, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)