Bobby Wagner put pen to paper Monday afternoon, signing his contract with the Los Angeles Rams and officially becoming a member of one of Seattle’s biggest rivals.

While a chance to prove to Seattle twice a year that the team made a mistake in releasing him last month will provide one of the more intriguing story lines of the 2022 season, Wagner insisted that getting back at the Seahawks wasn’t his sole motivation for signing with the Rams.

“I don’t have that much hate in my heart,” Wagner told reporters in Los Angeles in a news conference to announce his signing. 

All things being equal, Wagner said the chance to play the Seahawks was “a cherry on top.”

And he insists that when he does — dates and times of games are expected to be released next month — he will show the Seahawks he is still the same player he always has been.

“I’ll make sure they know where I am,” Wagner said. “It won’t be a quiet game for me.”


The Seahawks released Wagner on March 8, saving $16.6 million against the salary cap, and felt that now at age 31 — 32 in June — he was no longer worth a contract that when he signed it in 2019 made him the highest-paid inside linebacker in NFL history at an average of $18 million per year.

While Wagner’s contract with the Rams was initially advertised as being a five-year deal worth up to $50 million with incentives that could take it to $65 million, the final numbers released after his signing Monday were a little less lofty.

As reported by NFL Media, Pro Football Talk and other outlets, the deal guarantees Wagner $6.5 million in the first year, which consists of a $5 million signing bonus and a $1.5 million guaranteed salary. The deal also includes a $3.5 million roster bonus due April 8, 2023.

The contract carries a salary cap hit of just $2.5 million for the Rams in 2022 — less than the $3.75 million in dead money that Wagner will count against Seattle in 2022. But Wagner then has cap hits of $12 million in 2023 and 2024 making it clear he will have to earn his way into staying with the Rams in following seasons.

And with no guaranteed money following the second season, the contract is functionally a two-year deal with total guarantees of $10 million, and worth $17.5 million overall with incentives that could push it to $23.5 million. The final three years include non-guaranteed roster bonuses and salaries. The deal also includes a host of incentives, including $1 million in any season in which he’s first team All-Pro.

And as reported by PFT, Wagner can opt out of the final three years if he makes the Pro Bowl in the first two.


Wagner, again serving as his own agent, reportedly turned down a better deal from the Ravens — a two-year contract worth $18 million fully guaranteed, according to Pro Football Talk — to sign with the Rams, a move that also represents a homecoming as he was born in L.A. and went to high school in nearby Ontario.

“The player kind of took it personally, but the agent went to work,” Wagner said of how he approached things after his release by Seattle, saying Monday that he was immediately contacted by Rams superstar defenders Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald about coming to L.A.

The Seahawks did not offer Wagner a restructured contract before his release nor a chance to return after he was cut, with general manager John Schneider saying at the NFL league meetings last week that the team was “moving on” with Jordyn Brooks and Cody Barton as its two inside linebackers.

Three days after his release, Wagner tweeted: “Crazy part about all this. I played there for 10 years & I didn’t even hear it from them that I wasn’t coming back.”

Schneider and coach Pete Carroll later each said they would take the blame for the lack of communication in letting Wagner know he had been cut. Carroll said one reason was he wanted the team to explore every option before making the decision, dragging out the process. 

Schneider noted that Wagner is serving as his own agent and that complicated issues somewhat, as well. He said a separate agent would have acted as “a buffer” for Wagner as the team considered its options, including trying to trade him.


“It’s always somewhat awkward when a player represents himself,” Schneider said. “… To approach somebody and say there may be a possible trade would you consider this? And then (the trade falls through and) that player comes back to you, you know, that’s not a good situation.”

In his first substantive comments on that issue Monday, Wagner said while he was “grateful” for what they said, he didn’t buy that excuse, calling it “weak.”

“I just think that after 10 years, it could have been a simple conversation,” Wagner told reporters in L.A. “Even if they wanted to go in different directions, I don’t think me representing myself played any part on my end. It was more on their end. Maybe they didn’t want to do it. Maybe they want to kind of burn that bridge. But I feel like through this process and the last process (his negotiation with Seattle for his 2019 contract), I’ve shown the capability of handling tough conversations throughout my tenure there. So it was easy to just pick up a phone and call. I shouldn’t have had to found out the way I found out. But it is what it is and I ended up in a great place and now I’m working on getting black jerseys here.”

That latter comment was an allusion to something Wagner had said was a goal of his with Seattle for the Seahawks to wear black jerseys.

If he gets that done in L.A., it will be in a different number. Wagner wore 54 with the Seahawks, digits that added up to his college number (9), which when he entered the NFL in 2012, he could not wear with Seattle. Rules have since changed. But No. 9 is taken in L.A. by quarterback Matthew Stafford and 54 by veteran outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. So Wagner has to wear 45, which still equals nine, and is a number he also wore at the Senior Bowl in 2012.