Rams and LB Bobby Wagner part ways after 1st year of 5-year, $50 million deal

Bobby Wagner joined the Los Angeles Rams after spending a decade playing for the Seattle Seahawks. His Rams tenure ended up being quite a bit shorter.

Wagner and the Rams mutually agreed to part ways Thursday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, one season into the five-year, $50 million contract he signed to join the team.

A team and player divorcing after a single season usually means it was a season to forget, but the Rams definitely got what they would've wanted from Wagner, despite finishing the season with a disappointing 5-12 record.

The 32-year-old Wagner posted 140 total tackles (141 if you count his run-in with a protester), 10 tackles for loss, six sacks, five passes defended and two interceptions while playing all 17 games and earning second-team All-Pro honors. It was his ninth straight year making an All-Pro team. Meanwhile, Pro Football Focus graded him as the top linebacker in the NFL for the season.

The issue wasn't Wagner's performance so much as how his contract fit into the Rams' larger plans.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JANUARY 08: Bobby Wagner #45 of the Los Angeles Rams looks on before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field on January 08, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Bobby Wagner had a great year with the Rams. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Where Bobby Wagner's exit leaves the Rams

The Rams reportedly cut Wagner for some much-needed cap space, which isn't a surprise, given how they've been spending the past few years. Per Over The Cap, the Rams entered Thursday $14.9 million over the salary cap for the 2023 season.

Wagner's contract was set to pay him a base salary of $7.5 million in 2023, with $4 million in bonuses and $1 million from his prorated signing bonus, adding up to a cap number of $12.5 million. Releasing him leaves $7.5 million in dead money on the books, so the Rams will gain $5 million in cap space with the move.

That alone won't get the Rams under the line, though, so more moves should be coming. Given that the team struggled heavily last season and is now cutting at least one All-Pro, it's understandable Wagner would want to look elsewhere if his priority is winning another ring.

The addition of Wagner figures to shake up a free-agent linebacker class previously headed by Lavonte David, Tremaine Edmunds, T.J. Edwards and Tremaine Edmunds.