RENTON -- Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner had plenty of reasons to be in a good mood on Sunday.
The four-time first-team All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler was back on the practice field for the first time in camp since signing a new three-year contract extension on Friday reportedly worth $54 million with $40.2 million guaranteed. Wagner represented himself in negotiations with the team and managed to command a deal making him the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL from an average annual value standpoint. His $18 million per year average surpassed the $17 million a year average of C.J. Mosley, who signed with the New York Jets in March,
"Being the highest-paid was dope," Wagner said with a laugh following practice on Sunday. "It was dope but my thing was to just make sure we got a deal done and that’s kind of what I was really focused on was getting a deal done and just trying to do better than the last one. In everything in life you want to be better, so I wanted to do better than my last deal and I feel like I accomplished that. I don’t really care about… I’m pretty sure people are going to come and they’re going to try to criticize it and things of that nature but I don’t care. I won.
"Not even from like the numbers perspective. Back when my mom passed, I thought about quitting football. I didn’t want to play no more. So for me to be in this position on my third contract, something that statistically nobody gets to do, I’m grateful. I’m humble. I’m blessed and there’s nothing that anybody can say to me that’s going to take that away from me.”
Wagner knows he could get criticized for not hiring an agent to handle his contract negotiations with the team. However, Wagner felt that it was important for him to own the process himself. He wanted to know every detail that was in his contract and challenge himself to learn about the business side of the game along the way.
"All of it was a learning experience," Wagner said. "I didn’t expect it to be easy because if it was easy then a lot more people would do it. I didn’t really expect anything to go exactly how you planned. I expected to try remain humble, try to remain level-headed and keep a level of class and professionalism because I feel like at the end of the day when you get done they’re going to remember how you went about your business. That’s important too is when you handle your business how you handle your business. I didn’t want to be messy and I didn’t want no drama. I just wanted to get the deal done. There was both respect there so I figured it would get done."
Wagner did not take part in practice for the first two days of camp as he continued to work on getting the deal done with the team while not putting his health at risk. The deal was finally completed around 5 p.m. on Friday evening.
"There was moments where you didn't think the deal was going to get done. It was what it was. When we sat down and just locked ourselves in a room and said, look, we both want to be here. Y'all want me here, let's get something done. We ultimately came to an agreement," Wagner said.
Head coach Pete Carroll was excited to see his star middle linebacker back participating on the field as well.
"He's a great guy to have on your club and to represent your franchise and if a guy is going to get paid, you want it to be a guy like this," head coach Pete Carroll said.
Carroll has been downright giddy about the idea of having Wagner, K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks on the field together this season. That enthusiasm continues to be exuded by Carroll after getting all three players on the practice field together for the first time. While Wagner was around all last season, knee injuries for Wright, and a suspension and injuries for Kendricks kept the three from being on the field together at any point last year.
"I’m real excited about that," Carroll said. "I’ve never felt the opportunity to have that much experience at that spot [linebackers]. Mychal brings a lot of background and a lot of savvy and natural play and all that to go along with what Bobby and K.J. can do. There’s no question that this defense has a chance to be pulled right around.”
Wagner's new contract runs through the 2022 season when he will be 32 years old. Wagner fully intends to negotiate that contract as well when the time comes.
"Yeah. I’m not going to hire an agent now. I think I did alright," Wagner said with a grin.
-- Rookie linebacker Cody Barton had a tremendous diving interception of a Geno Smith pass intended for tight end Jacob Hollister. Check out the video below...
-- Smith had one of the plays of the day as well when he fired a rocket into a tight window for a touchdown to receiver Daniel Williams in red zone drills.
-- Linebacker Justin Currie jumped in front of a Paxton Lynch pass for an interception only to immediately pull up due to what appeared to be a strained left hamstring.
-- Wide receiver DK Metcalf has a touchdown grab over the top of cornerback Tre Flowers during 7-on-7 drills.
-- Safety Lano Hill is expected to be sidelined a few more weeks as he gets back into football shape while recovering from a fractured hip that ended his 2018 season.
-- Safety Marquise Blair and linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven took part in individual drills but did not do team work in their first day back at practice after coming off the PUP list. Tight end Will Dissly had a bit more on his plate as well as he progressed to doing some 7-on-7 work in addition to individual drills.
Photo Credit: Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner speaks with reporters following practice on July 28, 2019. Wagner signed a three-year contract extension with the team on Friday. (photo by Curtis Crabtree / Sports Radio KJR)