Bengals Free Agency: Bobby Wagner would add serious juice to defense

Kristen Wong
Bobby Wagner #54 of the Seattle Seahawks. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Bobby Wagner #54 of the Seattle Seahawks. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

EX-Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner has the talents; the Cincinnati Bengals have the money. Could Wagner join Cincy’s defense in 2022?

As the Seattle Seahawks prepare for a full franchise rebuild, Bobby Wagner is just the first of presumably many Seahawks cap casualties to hit the open market. He also happens to be one of the greatest linebackers in the NFL in the past decade.

The Bengals would get ripped apart for spending a huge chunk of their cap space on a linebacker rather than an offensive lineman, but if Wagner comes at the right price, Cincy should absolutely bite.

Wagner’s career honors include eight Pro Bowls, six All Pros, and one Super Bowl, and at 31 years old he’ll probably want to chase another ring with a playoff contender in 2022. Cincinnati don’t exactly need an elite linebacker like Wagner, but they would be crazy to pass up on this generational talent.

Cincinnati Bengals could boast the best linebacker room in the league with Bobby Wagner

Wagner is uber-reliable, super productive, and has never caused any problems in the locker room in his ten years in Seattle. He has recorded 100 tackles or more in every single NFL season and can make a sizable impact anywhere on the field, racking up 23.5 sacks, 78 quarterback hits, 11 interceptions, and six forced fumbles during his Seahawks tenure.

The Bengals already have an established linebacker unit with Logan Wilson, Akeem Davis-Gaither, and Germaine Pratt, but none of those players possess Wagner’s playmaking ability or natural instincts.

Cincy’s interior defense held up well last year, as Wilson in particular excelled in blocking the run and maintaining consistent coverage in the middle of the field. Adding Wagner would immediately raise the Bengals’ defense to the next level and take some pressure off Joe Burrow to score on every offensive drive.

There was talk this past year that the Bengals defensive unit carried Burrow in the playoffs, and that indeed holds some truth. Should the Bengals get their hands on a top-tier defender like Wagner, the team’s chances of making another Super Bowl run increase significantly on the virtue of defense, and defense alone.

Yes, the Bengals have to fix their offensive line. Yes, Burrow still has to keep the offense humming.

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But a defense consisting of linebackers Logan Wilson and Bobby Wagner could be nearly impossible to stop, and everyone know defense wins championships.