Sources: All-Pro LB Wagner, Rams to part ways
- Covered Rams for nine years for stlouisrams.com
- Previously covered University of Missouri football
- Member of Pro Football Writers of America
After one season together, the Los Angeles Rams and linebacker Bobby Wagner are separating.
With the Rams approximately $13.7 million over the salary cap according to the Roster Management System heading toward the new league year, Wagner and the Rams mutually agreed to part ways Thursday, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
When Wagner’s release becomes official, the Rams will save $5 million in salary cap space, but they will also incur a $7.5 million dead money charge. Los Angeles also has the option of designating Wagner a post-June 1 release, which would save them $8 million, though that savings can’t be credited to their cap until this summer. If Wagner remained on the roster on the fifth day of the 2023 league year (March 18), his $7.5 million base salary and a $2.5 million roster bonus due in 2024 would have become guaranteed.
Wagner, 32, spent just one season with 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 first team, three on second). That came after 10 years leading the Seattle Seahawks defense and becoming the team’s all-time leading tackler with 1,383. He has posted more than 100 tackles in all 11 seasons.
Wagner’s arrival with the Rams closed the loop on one of the team’s biggest draft regrets. When Wagner entered the 2012 NFL draft, the Rams had hoped to select him with one of their three second-round selections.
As their pick at No. 45 approached, then Rams linebackers coach Blake Williams texted Wagner and told him to “be ready.” Instead, the Rams traded down five spots to add a fifth-round selection. The Seahawks selected Wagner at No. 47.
Now, Wagner heads back into the free-agent market. Although the new league year opens at 4 p.m. ET on March 15, Wagner is free to sign with any team he chooses after the Rams officially release him.
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