Bobby Wagner Becomes "Highest Paid Middle Linebacker in NFL History"

Bobby Wagner Becomes "Highest Paid Middle Linebacker in NFL History"


Bobby Wagner Becomes "Highest Paid Middle Linebacker in NFL History"

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01:   Bobby Wagner #54 of the Seattle Seahawks is faced by Brandon Bolden #38 of the New England Patriots as he runs with the ball in the third quarter during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Bobby Wagner signed a four-year, $43 million extension with Seattle. Mike Garofalo of Fox Sports was the first to report news of the deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media added that $22 million was guaranteed (it’s as yet unclear whether this is of the “fully” or “for injury” classification of the word, though that’s likely semantical), and Mike Florio clarified that it’s an extension. This latter tidbit means that Wagner is actually locked up for five more seasons, including this upcoming one.

Earlier this week, Wagner sent out this ominous-sounding tweet in the immediate aftermath of Russell Wilson’s extension:

Evidently, his concerns were unfounded. As with Wilson, this is a team-friendly deal for the Seahawks in the sense that it would’ve likely cost much more to lock them up for this long — especially with a rising cap, and big spending teams out there — if they hit free agency. For Wagner, he insulates himself against injury risk, remains a key piece in a historically great Seattle defense where he’s comfortable, and is, per Rapoport, nominally the highest paid middle linebacker in league history.

Rapoport’s number is the case if you take the $10.75 million average of the four-year extension, but the figures become murky if you try to account for the five years of the deal, which is more practical considering that’s how long Wagner’s locked up. At that point you might be able to make an argument for Lawrence Timmons, NaVorro Bowman, or Brian Cushing, but even then these contracts are opaque and the back ends always seem to be non-existent or restructured. Nevertheless, this distinction is likely to be a moot point whenever Carolina gets around to reaching terms with Luke Kuechly.

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