Just like that, they’re gone. No more Wilson, no more Wagner.
A duo that defined Seattle football for a decade shared a tenure to the very day.
On April 27, 2012, the Seattle Seahawks unknowingly changed the trajectory of their franchise. The team selected a pair of players during that year’s NFL Draft who would help turn the team into a perennial contender and eventual champion. Seattle took linebacker Bobby Wagner in the second round (47th overall) before nabbing a quarterback named Russell Wilson in the third (75th overall). Nearly ten years later, on March 8, 2022, the Seahawks removed both Wagner and Wilson from their roster, officially moving on from arguably the franchise’s two best players of all time and ending the team’s most successful era ever.
Seattle decided to pull the trigger on a trade that sent Wilson, and a 2022 fourth-round draft pick to the Denver Broncos in exchange for quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant, defensive lineman Shelby Harris, first- and second-round picks in the upcoming 2022 draft, first- and second-round picks in the 2023 draft, and a 2022 fifth-round pick. It is already being considered one of the biggest, most impactful trades in NFL history. Shortly after the trade was announced, the Seahawks released Wagner, seemingly admitting the team is undergoing a rebuild – against Pete Carroll’s wishes – making Wagner’s expensive contract an unnecessary financial burden.
Both players will, without a doubt, end up in the Seahawks’ Ring of Fame, and both have solid cases for the Hall of Fame. In the ten seasons Wilson and Wagner played together in Seattle, the duo helped lead the team to a pair of Super Bowl appearances in 2014 and 2015, winning in 2014 (over Wilson’s new team) for the franchise’s first and only championship. Wilson was named to the Pro Bowl nine times and was an All-Pro thrice (1st Team x 2), while Wagner had eight Pro Bowl nods and six All-Pro selections (1st Team x 3). The pair guided Seattle to a winning record in each of their first nine seasons, reaching the postseason in each of the first five years and eight times in all. It was easily the most successful decade in the team’s history.
It’s no surprise Wilson holds every significant passing record for the Seahawks franchise. He leads in yards (37,059) and touchdowns (292) while accumulating a 104-53-1 record as a starter, besting Dave Krieg’s 70-49 mark by a long shot. Wilson is even fifth in the team’s history in rushing with 4,689 yards and sits at seventh in rushing touchdowns (23).
Wagner posted more than 100 tackles in each of his ten seasons as a Hawk, including a career-best 170 this past season. He’s ranked No. 1 in team history since 2019 and has only added to it since. His total mark sits at 1,383, including 819 solo tackles and 564 assists.
To say it will be odd to watch the Seahawks without Wilson and Wagner donning the blue and green jerseys next season is an understatement. But Seattle fans cannot deny the pair’s impact on the franchise and their contribution to its success. Thanks to them, the Hawks quickly went from the NFL’s “lovable losers” to an example of consistency, perennial contenders, and ultimately champions.
It’s unknown where Wagner will end up as his career is clearly far from over, but one thing is for sure: Seahawks fans will be circling this upcoming season’s matchup against Denver when Wilson makes his 79th start in Seattle … but this time, in orange and blue.