Linebacker Bobby Wagner had a short but productive stay with the Rams.
Wagner, the team’s leading tackler last season, and the Rams have agreed to part ways, people with knowledge of the situation said Thursday. The people asked for anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about a situation that will not become official until Wagner is released in mid-March at the start of the NFL’s new league year.
Wagner, 32, signed a five-year, $50 million contract last April, but it was essentially structured as a one- to two-year deal. He was scheduled to carry a $12.5 million salary cap by 2023 overthecap.com.
Wagner will be partially released to create cap space. The limit for the 2023 season is $224.8 million. The Rams are currently about $15 million over the limit, according to overthecap.com. Wagner’s release before June 1 saves $5 million, though it also brings in $7.5 million in dead money, according to the website.
Wagner signed with the Rams after the Seattle Seahawks released the six-time All-Pro the same day they traded quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos.
An 11th-year pro, Wagner had a team-best 140 tackles, a career-high six sacks, intercepted two passes and provided wise leadership. But that wasn’t enough to help the Rams avoid a 5-12 finish, the worst season-after performance by a Super Bowl champion in NFL history.
Wagner mentored linebacker Ernest Jones, a third-year pro who is expected to play a pivotal role on defense in 2023.
The Rams are expected to make more roster moves as they prepare for the start of free agency and the draft.
“I truly embrace and appreciate every moment now because I never know what the future holds,” tweeted cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who the Rams expect to explore the trade. “It was a real dream come true playing on the same defense as you @Bwagz! Lots of love & respect!
“Excited for the next chapter for you!”