Veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner and the Los Angeles Rams reportedly parted ways with each other on Thursday according to ESPN.
It’s a surprising turn of events for Wagner, as he agreed to a five-year, $50 million deal before the start of last season.
But as ESPN points out, the Rams have been looking to create salary cap space. Before the Wagner trade, OverTheCap.com had the Rams about $15 million over the salary cap.
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Wagner was going to have a salary cap of $12.5 million in 2023, and since he’s looking to win, he’d rather try free agency again.
The Rams had just won the Super Bowl over the Cincinnati Bengals heading into last season, which drew Wagner to the club. But with devastating injuries across the roster, Los Angeles went 5-12 on the year to miss the playoffs.
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Wagner finished his 11th NFL season with 140 combined tackles (10 for loss) with six sacks, five pass defenses and two interceptions in 17 games as the Rams’ middle linebacker.
Before joining Los Angeles, Wagner spent 10 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, picking up a Super Bowl ring in 2014 and never having fewer than 104 tackles each season. That streak continued with the Rams.
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Entering free agency, Wagner should have plenty of teams requesting his services next season, as the 32-year-old hasn’t missed a game in the past four seasons and six of the past seven. As the saying goes in the NFL, availability is the best skill.
Wagner has also been named a first- or second-team All-Pro in 10 of his 11 NFL seasons, including the past nine.
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As for the Rams, they’ll need to make more moves if they want to get some space for free-agent acquisitions, as well as house their NFL draft class.