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June 14, 2024



The numbers behind Bobby Wagner signing with the Commanders (1:04)

With star linebacker Bobby Wagner reaching a deal with the Commanders, see why he’s such a good fit in Washington. (1:04)

John Keim, ESPN Staff WriterMar 13, 2024, 05:48 PM ET


John Keim covers the Washington Commanders for ESPN. He joined ESPN in 2013 after a stint with the Washington Post. He started covering the team in 1994 for the Journal Newspapers and later for the Washington Examiner. He has authored/co-authored four books. You can also listen to him on ‘The John Keim Report’, which airs on ESPN Richmond radio, and follow him on Twitter @john_keim The Washington Commanders continue to turn over the NFL’s worst statistical defense, adding eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker Bobby Wagner on Wednesday, a source confirmed to ESPN.

Wagner becomes the sixth defensive player Washington has landed since Monday, hoping to bolster a group that ranked last in both points and yards allowed last season.

Wagner agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $8.5 million with $6 million in guarantees, according to the NFL Network, which first reported the news.

Washington also has added three defensive ends — Dorance Armstrong, Dante Fowler Jr. and Clelin Ferrell — plus linebacker Frankie Luvu and safety Jeremy Chinn.

Washington’s coaches are familiar with Wagner: Head coach Dan Quinn coached him for two years in Seattle as a coordinator, and linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. was Wagner’s coordinator for four seasons with the Seahawks.

One of the most decorated inside linebackers of the last decade and a future Hall of Famer, Wagner played in every game last season for the Seattle Seahawks and recorded an NFL-high 183 tackles, which also established his new career best.

Wagner, 33, added 3.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, 6 QB hits and 3 passes defensed while playing in every game.

In January, Wagner said he “100%” planned on continuing to play in 2024, which will be his 13th NFL season.

A second-round pick by Seattle in 2012 out of Utah State, Wagner manned the middle of the “Legion of Boom” defense that led the Seahawks to a victory in Super Bowl XLVIII and a near repeat in Super Bowl XLIX. He spent his first 10 seasons with Seattle, making eight straight Pro Bowls in that span while being named a first-team All-Pro six times.

He’s the Seahawks’ all-time leading tackler.

After being released by the Seahawks, Wagner spent the 2022 season with the Los Angeles Rams, with whom he mutually parted ways after the season. He returned to Seattle on a one-year deal that carried a base value of $5.5 million, though Wagner earned an additional $750,000 by making the Pro Bowl — his 11th career selection — on the initial ballot.

Wagner has been serving as his own agent for several years and has negotiated his past three contracts, including a three-year, $54 million extension in 2019 that made him the NFL’s highest-paid inside linebacker.

He has topped 100 tackles in each of his first 12 NFL seasons, recording 1,706 in all. He has 33 sacks, 13 interceptions, 6 forced fumbles, 10 fumble recoveries and 89 tackles for loss in 185 regular-season games.

ESPN’s Brady Henderson contributed to this report.

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