Reports: Seahawks’ Wagner becomes NFL’s richest ILB

Field Level Media

July 27, 2019 at 4:18 am.

Not only did All-Pro Bobby Wagner of the Seattle Seahawks negotiate a contract extension, but he reportedly is now the NFL’s highest-paid inside linebacker.

The team announced Friday merely that Wagner signed a multiyear extension, but ESPN and NFL Network reported that he got a three-year deal worth $54 million, including $40.2 million guaranteed.

The $18 million average per season surpasses the $17 million average that C.J. Mosley received by signing a five-year, $85 million free agent deal with the New York Jets in March. According to Spotrac, the $18 million average puts Wagner in a tie for sixth with Detroit Lions cornerback Tre Flowers among NFL defensive players.

“I’m really excited to have this done, excited that I get to be a Seahawk for a long, long time,” Wagner said, according to the Seahawks’ website. “Like I’ve always said, I want to play my entire career here, and I feel like today is a step toward that. 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.”

Wagner, a middle linebacker, earned an average of $10.75 million after signing a 2015 extension.

“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,” Seattle general manager John Schneider said, according to Seahawks.com. “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, 29, has been selected to the Pro Bowl over five consecutive seasons and earned first-team All-Pro four times during that period. He has topped 100 tackles every season since Seattle drafted him in the second round in 2012 out of Utah State.

Finishing fourth in the league in tackles last season with 138, his five-season total of 656 leads the league over that period, according to ESPN. He had a franchise-record 167 tackles in 2016, among his team-record seven straight 100-tackle seasons. No. 2 in team history with 916 career tackles, he could be on his way to passing Eugene Robinson’s record mark (984) in 2019.

Wagner had other ideas about sports before getting drafted, once telling reporters, “I thought I was going to be the next Michael Jordan.”