Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Bobby Wagner confirms mutual interest in Cowboys prior to joining Rams: ‘That was a real thing’

Bobby Wagner was still stinging from the Seattle Seahawks‘ decision to release him, including how they handled the move, but he knew he had to move forward and focus on identifying his next NFL landing spot. Once news hit the wire that the perennial All-Pro linebacker was a free agent, it wouldn’t take long for teams to reach out, but it was the Los Angeles Rams who wooed him into their uniform — on the heels of losing All-Pro linebacker Von Miller to the Buffalo Bills. There was another top contender as well, however, one that had a great chance at derailing the Rams’ plans, and that was the Dallas Cowboys.

As reported by CBS Sports in early March, the Cowboys not only privately expressed interest in possibly acquiring Wagner, but they reached out to him directly — Wagner acting as his own agent — at the behest of defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who coached Wagner during the famed “Legion of Boom” days in Seattle. Quinn jumped at the chance to reunite with his former linebacker, and Wagner now confirms he would’ve loved to see it happen as well.

But, speaking in a recent conversation with CNBC, he points at Dallas’ frugality as a key reason he’s in Los Angeles.

“That was a real thing,” said the eight-time Pro Bowler. “We had conversations. I love Dan Quinn and have a lot of respect for him, but between their needs and what they were willing to spend, we couldn’t agree. But there was mutual interest.”

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Interestingly enough, the Rams and the Cowboys were in a similar financial situation in the pursuit of Wagner, in that both were unable to retain their top free agent pass rusher — e.g., Randy Gregory — and subsequently having the extra coin to make Wagner a palatable offer. It was the Rams who’d land him on a five year, $50 million that buoys to $65 million if he triggers all of his performance escalators, but the Cowboys had a great shot at making him their blockbuster free agency addition in 2022, if only they had chosen to loosen the purse strings.

Had they done so, they would’ve entered next season with Wagner and All-Pro phenom Micah Parsons on the same team.

“Between the Rams and Cowboys — those are teams that have been around for a long time and have a lot of history,” Wagner continued. “Being able to be a part of any of those franchises boosts your notoriety. And I landed on one.”

As for the Cowboys, they’ve graded poorly in their overall mishandling of free agency, and now hope to rectify their errors by landing a stellar haul in the 2022 NFL Draft, with the linebacker position still a top need and no prospect guaranteed to become what Wagner already is.

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