Seahawks, star LB Wagner reunited for 2nd stint


SEATTLE — Bobby Wagner is coming back to where he built a Hall of Fame resume.

The free agent linebacker has agreed to a one-year, $7 million deal to return to the Seattle Seahawks, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Saturday.

The move reunites the Seahawks with arguably the greatest defensive player in franchise history and fills a significant need in their linebacker corps. And it signals that the fences have been mended following his messy departure last offseason.

The news was broken by Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs, who had been publicly stumping for Wagner’s return ever since Wagner and the Los Angeles Rams agreed to part ways earlier last month.

General manager John Schneider said before the start of free agency that he and coach Pete Carroll had spoken to Wagner about a potential return. On Thursday, Schneider told Seattle Sports 710-AM that the two sides remained in conversations.

“We’ve been talking to Bobby, and what I can tell you is we’ll see what shakes out, see how this goes,” Schneider said. “Everybody knows how much respect we have for Bobby … He had a great season this last year. We’ll continue to speak with him and stay in touch and see how this goes.”

Wagner is the second former Seahawks player to rejoin the team since the start of free agency, joining defensive tackle Jarran Reed. Seattle’s moves so far have been largely focused on bolstering a front seven that struggled mightily in 2022 while transitioning to a new 3-4 front without their longtime captain, Wagner.

In addition to Wagner and Reed, the Seahawks signed former Denver Broncos defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones to a three-year, $51.53 million deal. They released defensive linemen Shelby Harris, Quinton Jefferson and Al Woods.

The Rams’ release of Wagner on March 15 came just a year after the nine-time All-Pro linebacker had signed a five-year contract with the team. Wagner and the Rams mutually agreed to part ways, sources told Schefter.

Wagner, 32, joined the Rams after signing a five-year, $50 million deal with $20 million in guarantees on March 31, 2022. He earned second-team All-Pro honors after posting 140 tackles, a career-high 6 sacks, 2 interceptions and 5 passes defended while starting all 17 games. Pro Football Focus rated Wagner as the top linebacker in the NFL last season.

It was the ninth time in his 11 NFL seasons in which Wagner was named an All-Pro (six times on the first team, three on the second). That came after Wagner was released by the Seahawks last March after 10 seasons with the team. He voiced his displeasure both publicly and directly to the team’s decision-makers over how he had caught wind of their plans to move on from him before he had heard it from them.

The Seahawks moved Cody Barton into a starting role at inside linebacker alongside Jordyn Brooks. Barton signed with the Washington Commanders in free agency after an up-and-down season. Brooks tore an ACL in December, putting his availability for the start of the 2023 season in jeopardy. Seattle signed former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Devin Bush to a one-year, $3.5 million deal.

Wagner has 1,523 tackles, 29.5 sacks, 13 interceptions and 6 forced fumbles in his career.

ESPN’s Nick Wagoner contributed to this report.

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