The Los Angeles Rams have released All-Pro inside linebacker Bobby Wagner after just one season with the club, according to a report by Adam Schefter of ESPN.
The Rams are in search of more cap space agreed to a mutual departure with the 32-year-old Wagner, who is looking for a chance to win another Super Bowl. He had agreed to the 5-year, $50 million contract last offseason with the Rams coming off a Super Bowl victory, but a 5-12 season and questions about the future of head coach Sean McVay have significantly changed the outlook for Los Angeles.
Wagner had been set to count for $12.75 million against Los Angeles’ salary cap this season, with $7.5 million in salary. His salary for 2023 would have guaranteed on March 19.
Instead, the Rams will accumulate $7.5 million in dead salary cap space, which will either all be paid in 2023, or spread between 2023 and 2024, depending on when they make his release official.
The Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly had interest in Wagner last year before he signed with the Rams. The Steelers ended up singing Myles Jack to man one of their inside linebacker positions, but the team’s co-starters at the other position, Devin Bush and Robert Spillane, are both set to hit free agency this offseason.
New Steelers inside linebackers coach Aaron Curry was a coaching assistant with the Seattle Seahawks for three seasons while Wagner was there.
A 6-foot, 242-pound Utah alum, Wagner first joined the Seahawks as a second-round pick in 2012 and quickly became one of the most consistent performers on their defense. He was an eight-time All-Pro, eight-time Pro Bowler, led the NFL in tackles in 2016 and 2019 and helped Seattle to a Super Bowl XLVIII victory after the 2013 season.
In his career, Wagner has 1,523 tackles, 78 tackles for loss, 29.5 sacks, 88 quarterback hits and 65 passes defended. Last season with the Rams, he set a career high with six sacks and added 140 tackles to easily lead the LA defense. He also had two interceptions and was named an All-Pro for the ninth consecutive season.
It’s unclear what kind of contract Wagner will demand on the open market. The free agent linebacker class includes Lavonte David (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Tremaine Edmunds (Buffalo Bills), T.J. Edwards (Philadelphia Eagles), David Long (Tennessee Titans), Bobby Okereke (Indianapolis Colts), Germaine Pratt (Cincinnati Bengals), Alex Singleton (Denver Broncos), Drue Tranquil (Los Angeles Chargers), Leighton Vader Esch (Dallas Cowboys) and Kyzir White (Eagles).