Bobby Wagner feels disrespected by Seahawks: "I played there for 10 years & I didn’t even hear it from them that I wasn’t coming back."
What does Bobby's criticism and rumors about Russ's exit say about the franchise?
The reports about how the Seattle Seahawks handle the departures of key players in franchise history continue to reflect poorly on the history of the franchise. Richard Sherman has said it. Michael Bennett has said it. Earl Thomas has said it. Cliff Avril has said it. K.J. Wright said it on the Bussin’ with the Boys podcast last month. Reports about Russell Wilson’s final two years with the Seahawks have put Seattle in a position to have to defend themselves, but before they can even start to respond to why they traded the franchise quarterback, Pete Carroll and John Schneider also have to answer to this tweet from future Hall of Fame linebacker Bobby Wagner:
To quote Earl while he was still a member of the Seahawks: “The disrespect has been noted and will not be forgotten.”
I’ve covered the Seahawks since 2011 and sometimes it’s hard for me to separate what’s normal for every NFL team from what’s unique to Seattle when it comes to these rather standard business practices. Releasing Bobby Wagner this year or Wright a year before or Sherman not long before that—these moves do fall under the category of “standard business practices” in the NFL.
It should be expected that players will feel hurt, disrespected, or even blindsided by becoming a cap casualty. It’s hard to believe that Bobby Wagner could be anywhere near being BLINDSIDED by this release, since Seahawks fans (and this writer) have speculated for months that Seattle would have to consider parting with the 31-year-old inside linebacker in order to recoup $16.6 million in 2022 cap savings. In the salary cap era of football, many fans have understandably become obsessed with the salary cap, leading to the genesis of popular cap websites like Spotrac and OvertheCap.
These sites allow fans to play GM with the click of a mouse and surely anyone who has browsed Seattle’s page in the last two months has toyed with the naughty scenario of the Seahawks releasing Wagner and watching the team’s 2022 cap space mark go up by roughly 33-percent with that one move.
But of course, you and I also don’t have to go through the gut wrenching phone call, Zoom, or Starbucks meetup with Bobby Wagner to tell him that his decade-long run in Seattle is officially over. Is this really something that Pete and John avoided, as Wagner asserts?
I’m not some idiot with a death wish who would ever call Bobby Wagner a “liar.”
The track record from the painful departures post-Super Bowls to trading Russ and releasing Bobby speaks for itself. And I would add to that, even though I mostly cover the Seahawks, I’ve also covered the Rams, Chargers, Raiders, and generally written about every NFL team for a long time. There are probably teams that handle it better than others, but I can say for certain that players feeling hurt, disrespected, and ignored at the time a team—TAKES AWAY $MILLIONS$ UPON $MILLIONS$ IN BASE SALARY THAT THEY EXPECTED TO EARN—is not something unique to Seattle.
Jarvis Landry has sent tweets recently that imply an upcoming release by the Browns, but what Cleveland fan would be over the moon to keep Landry next season when the team gains $15 million in cap space by parting with a recently-injured, over-30 receiver?
The Rams have parted with numerous star players over the years and Todd Gurley has bad blood with the organization, apparently over not paying him what he was due in a certain amount of time. Former franchise pass rusher Chris Long has expressed extreme frustration with the Rams on his podcast.
Many Lions players, including Calvin Johnson, have little good things to say about their former franchise in Detroit.
I am of two minds when it comes to Seattle and letting go of these players who every Seahawks fan holds dearly to their hearts:
On one hand, you might look at this in a vacuum and say, “the Seahawks did Bobby dirty. They did Russ dirty. They have a history of this.” That may be a valid point and only looking at what’s reported about the players or said directly by them, what other conclusion could you possibly draw?
On the other hand, have we given Seattle proper opportunity to respond to this and do we need to give the organization the benefit of the doubt that they won’t be able to ever fully respond to this in public? Potentially even out of respect for Bobby.
Who do you side with? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS:
I find it IMPOSSIBLE that the Seahawks have not been in negotiations with Bobby’s camp over restructuring or renegotiating his contract over the last 4-6 weeks, at least. Therefore, I find it impossible to believe that Wagner was caught off-guard by his release, when the possibility of it happening has been covered for a long time. It is also standard to not only see legendary players get released by the teams for whom they became legendary, but also to see those players express a negative reaction to the move and to the organization.
That being said, I also often see players who will forever consider themselves members of their longtime organizations. One such example for Seattle being Walter Jones, and I think the same could be said for Shaun Alexander and Matt Hasselbeck. However, Sherman seems to pound the table for the 49ers. Earl doesn’t seem to have any affinity or affection for the Seahawks. And it’s unclear what the future rooting interests will be for players like Wilson, Wagner, and the rest.
Will the Seahawks struggle to bring in new free agents because of comments and reports like these?
“That’s not good for business.”
“That’s not good for anybody.”
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