By Tim Booth
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
RENTON, Wash. _ Bobby Wagner was patient to a point.
The All-Pro middle linebacker was willing to sit back and let the Seattle Seahawks finish up their contract negotiations with Russell Wilson.
But once Wilson’s payday was taken care of, Wagner wanted to know if his future was in Seattle or if he would go into the final year of his rookie contract with uncertainty.
“I’m thankful for it. If I would have waited any longer I probably wouldn’t have been as patient,” Wagner said. “But you know it’s a crazy process and I’m glad it’s over.”
Two days after expressing displeasure at not having an extension in hand, Wagner was basking Sunday at being the highest-paid middle linebacker in football after signing a four-year extension worth a reported $43 million.
The deal was finalized and signed late Saturday night, yet another member of the Seahawks’ core group who is being rewarded for leading the franchise to consecutive Super Bowl appearances.
Wagner joins a list that includes Wilson, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, K.J. Wright, Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham all under contract through at least the 2016 season.
Wilson and Wagner are under contract through 2019.
It was and will remain a challenge for general manager John Schneider and his staff to keep the group together while trying to manage the constraints of the salary cap. But for now, the Seahawks’ front office has been undoubtedly successful.
“It’s kind of fit into our expectations. We’ve seen it happen. I kind of trust the way we’ve laid it out that John is going to be able to get it together and pull it off and we just have. We’ve done every single thing we’ve tried to do along the way,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
“I’m not surprised by it. I’m surprised there are so many questions. We have continued to do our work. We have a real approach, really no surprises if you’ve watched us now, which is a good thing. It means you have a philosophy and have a manner by which you can discipline yourself and do the work you say.”
Wagner was an All-Pro last season and finished second on the team with 104 tackles after missing five games with a painful toe injury _ and that was after having 140 and 119 the previous two years. Wagner has been Seattle’s starting middle linebacker since being selected in the second round of the 2012 draft.
Wagner said Friday that his deadline for an extension was “now,” and that he briefly considered holding out from training camp to make his point.
The deals with Wagner and Wilson came with a cost as veteran defensive tackle Tony McDaniel was cut on Sunday in a move that will save the Seahawks between $2.5 and $3 million against the salary cap. Since Friday, the Seahawks have committed $130 million should Wagner and Wilson play out the entirety of their contracts as currently constructed.
Having a career in Seattle was a surprise to begin with for Wagner. During his pre-draft visits in 2012 his worst visit came in Seattle. He was grilled by then linebacker coach Ken Norton Jr., and revealed Sunday having a kidney issue the Seahawks noticed during that initial visit.
Wagner also recalled writing down on a notebook in college wanting to be recognized as the best and highest-paid linebacker in the NFL. He still has the notebook.
“It’s definitely a weight off your shoulders off the field because off the field you think about it a lot and you wonder if you’re going to be here or not going to be here, but like I said I’m thankful to them for letting me be a part of this for four more years.”
Notes: Carroll said with Wagner’s extension done he’s hoping something can be worked out to get holdout strong safety Kam Chancellor into camp. Chancellor is unhappy with his contract. “Our focus is never off of Kam. He is such an integral part of this team and the guys love him so much,” Carroll said. “Since we’ve needed to turn our attention to it we have been but now we really can get after it. I’m hoping we can get him back here as soon as possible.” … FB Derrick Coleman will be held out for at least a week after straining his hamstring on the first day of camp. … FS Dion Bailey is expected to be activated off the physically unable to perform list on Monday.