The Seattle Seahawks released Bobby Wagner on Tuesday shortly after the Russell Wilson trade was announced, suggesting that the franchise will be undergoing a massive rebuild.
Wagner is one of the league’s most elite linebackers who needs no introduction, and Baltimore should have given him a call yesterday.
While the Ravens don’t usually splurge in free agency, a defender of Wagner’s caliber hitting the open market is ridiculously rare.
Baltimore pounced on offensive guard Kevin Zeitler when Zeitler was released by the New York Giants last offseason, and they could do the same now.
The Ravens shouldn’t think twice about signing Bobby Wagner
The Ravens have spent significant draft capital to acquire young, promising linebackers in Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison, but neither is ready to lead the linebacker corps just yet.
Baltimore has supplemented their young gems with seasoned vets like L.J. Fort and Josh Bynes, the latter of whom may be brought back on another short-term deal in 2022.
The Ravens were criticized for poor tackling and coverage in the middle of the field last season (their first blowout against the Cincinnati Bengals comes to mind), but Wagner would do wonders for a Super Bowl-aspiring Baltimore squad.
Ultimately, signing Wagner would be less about need than it is about talent.
Wagner’s decade-long tenure in Seattle saw him win eight Pro Bowls, six All-Pro honors, and one Lombardi Trophy. Whereas Queen and Harrison represent rawer, less developed players, Wagner embodies the finished product, an exquisitely chiseled championship-caliber defender who possesses a natural instinct in coverage.
His playmaking ability can impact the Ravens all over the field as Wagner has accumulated 23.5 sacks, 11 interceptions, nine fumble recoveries, and six forced fumbles throughout his Seattle career, not to mention he posted 100 tackles or more every single year in the league.
Wagner offers an upgrade for virtually every NFL team, but for the Ravens specifically, he can stabilize an unproven linebacker room that has been inconsistent and shaky all last season. Queen hasn’t yet lived up to the hype, and Bynes can’t fill in forever.
To regain dominance in the AFC North this season, the Ravens will need every premier defender they can get their hands on, and bringing on a generational talent like Wagner would revolutionize Baltimore’s game much like Ray Lewis did 20-something years ago.
There’s only one wrong choice here, and that’s passing on Bobby Wagner. The Ravens would be foolish to turn down this golden opportunity to elevate their defense for years to come.