All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner spent the first 10 years of his storied career with the Seattle Seahawks, putting him in the conversation for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Prior to 2022, though, he was released by the Seahawks and wound up signing with his hometown Los Angeles Rams.
Wagner’s lone season in L.A. didn’t necessarily go as planned. Although Wagner did make the All-Pro Second Team — his ninth consecutive All-Pro selection — the Rams won just five games, the fewest in a Super Bowl championship defense season in NFL history. ‘
The Rams then chose to cut costs in the offseason as opposed to re-tool. One of the cap casualties was Wagner, who was released by the team on Feb. 23.
“I did not think that this was in the cards,” Wagner said. “I think it was just like how everything happened and just them wanting to go younger (with Brooks and Cody Barton) and things of that nature, I thought this wasn’t necessarily in the cards. And then, obviously, I thought the Rams situation would probably go a little bit different than it did. But I’m happy with the outcome.”
Wagner recounted his time with L.A. and spoke about the importance of playing for a different team at some point in his career.
“I think, years from now, I don’t know how much weight it (his year with the Rams) will have,” he said. “But it was definitely a learning experience. I thought it was really cool to be home and see my family more often, my family I grew up with more often, like I had family members that they can’t travel anymore on planes and stuff and they were able to come to games and that part was cool.
“And I think being in Seattle for so long, there was kind of a narrative that that was the only system that I can play well in, so being able to learn a new system and go through those growing pains and show that it doesn’t matter; the system, I can figure it out.”
Wagner most certainly proved that he can succeed in different places, finding a way to make the All-Pro team despite being on a team that went 5-12. His time with the Rams was short-lived, but he clearly was able to get some value out of it.
Now he returns to an intriguing Seahawks team that is looking to build on their surprise playoff berth from last season. In what was supposed to be a rebuilding year, the Seahawks made the playoffs behind Geno Smith and a youthful defense.
Now, they add Wagner to that defense as an elite veteran presence. Perhaps he can continue their momentum for another postseason appearance in 2023.
Taylor Rapp signs with Bills
One of the many other defensive losses for the Rams is safety Taylor Rapp. He signed with the Bills after spending the first four years of his career in L.A.
He was a standout performer in his first two years before suffering an injury. But he came back strong and started 33 of 34 games over the next two years.