After big spending brought them a Super Bowl last season, the Rams are going the value route for another defensive superstar.
On Thursday, Los Angeles signed ILB Bobby Wagner to a five-year, $50 million contract worth up to $65 million with incentives, per multiple reports.
The move was a savvy play to economically bolster the defense after the departure of OLB Von Miller, who signed with the Bills for six years and $120 million. Wagner’s AAV ($10M) is half of Miller’s ($20M).
The former Seahawks star joins DT Aaron Donald and CB Jalen Ramsey to form one of the most formidable defensive trios in the NFL.
- Donald (6), Wagner (5), and Ramsey (3) have the three most Defensive First-Team All-Pro selections in the league since 2016.
- In 2021, L.A. had the fifth-ranked defense by DVOA.
- Wagner is the NFL’s active leader in career combined tackles (1,383) and fumble return TDs (3).
Adding an assumed $10 million for Wagner, the three combine for an approximately $60 million cap hit in 2022 — about 30% of the team’s total cap.
In order to free up space, the Rams declined to re-sign CB Darious Williams, G Austin Corbett, and DT Sebastian Joseph, among others, and traded WR Robert Woods to the Titans for a 2023 sixth-round pick.
They can also free up space by extending and restructuring Donald’s contract. Somehow, the 30-year-old is only the sixth-highest-paid defensive player in the league by AAV ($22.5M).