Bobby Wagner should be the Cardinals top priority as the offseason begins.
Fresh off the landscape altering Russell Wilson trade, the Seahawks also cut ties with their 8 time Pro Bowl and 6 time All Pro inside linebacker Bobby Wagner this week.
Ian Rapoport listed every other NFC West team has having expressed interest in the recently dumped Wagner and the Cardinals should turn that interest into a working relationship.
The case for signing Wagner is four fold.
1. It prevents Zaven Collins from being gifted another starting job.
- Last year, Steve Keim infamously silver plattered a starting job for Collins immediately after the draft, going so far as to tell veteran Jordan Hicks he wasn't going to be allowed to compete for the starting job. You know the rest of the story; Hicks won the job and had one of the best seasons of any Cardinals defender. He was just cut by the Cardinals. Right now, Collins is being gift wrapped a starting job for the second year in a row. Even if he makes a big leap from his rookie season, he's not a player the team should be counting on. Bobby Wagner is 31 and had the fifth most solo tackles in the NFL last year. He's also going to be 32 next season so any commitment to Wagner would likely be only for a year or two, plenty of time to allow Collins to emerge as a viable NFL starter.
2. Wagner adds real juice to the locker room.
- When the Cardinals signed JJ Watt last season, it was largely viewed as a culture reset for a team that needed one. Wagner brings more NFL equity than Watt did. Wagner has the hardware and the universal respect along with his Hall of Fame resume. Watt was the bigger star and the splashier player but has dealt with injuries for the last few years. Wagner has started 15 or more games every year for the last seven seasons. He was the captain of the Seahawks and brings a knowledge and track record of success in the division that no other Cardinals player on defense has. Wagner helps the Cardinals in even more ways than Watt did.
3. Bobby Wagner helps Kyler Murray.
- They'll never share the field together as teammates but Wagner's arrival would indirectly benefit Kyler Murray. His success and professionalism could only improve the standard of acceptable professional behavior for all Cardinals players, including Kyler. I would't expect Wagner to have a direct mentoring relationship with the franchise quarterback but his insight into Russell Wilson's habits, winning in the NFC West and winning at the highest level should all be of significant value to the fourth year signal caller.
4. It keeps him out of SF and LA.
- Would you want to see Bobby Wagner behind Aaron Donald and in front of Jalen Ramsey? How about joining Fred Warner in a dynamic duo for the 49ers? Wagner brings tremendous value on his own to Arizona but keeping him out of the rest of the NFC West is reason alone to pursue the highly respected linebacker.
Signing Bobby Wagner sets a tone for the offseason that the Cardinals are serious about winning and serious about improving their locker rooms. While they're at it scooping up former Seahawks, why not call John Schneider to see if Tyler Lockett is available for a non-first round draft pick.
Who knew that Seattle could be the answer to the Cardinals biggest offseason questions.