History proves Cowboys fans shouldn’t get hopes up about Bobby Wagner
By Jerry Trotta
Most Dallas Cowboys fans would take Lander Vander Esch back in a heartbeat (at the right price, obviously), after his resurgent 2022 when he finished second on the team in tackles and offered a steadying presence defending the run.
While Vander Esch was awesome this past season, what if Dallas had the chance to sign one of the NFL’s best linebackers? For the second straight offseason, Bobby Wagner is free to sign with any team.
A Cowboys target last offseason, Wagner and the Los Angeles Rams mutually agreed to part ways Thursday after one year together.
With the Rams in a transition period following their 2021 Super Bowl, Wagner is striving to join a contender in pursuit of a second ring. After earning second-team All-Pro honors with the Rams, Wagner will have no shortage of suitors, and he’ll likely cost a good sum of money entering his age-33 season.
The Cowboys will surely be in the mix for Wagner’s signature given the player’s ties to Dan Quinn, but their recent spending history suggests they’ll back off once the league’s big spenders swoop in with overwhelming offers.
History suggests the Cowboys won’t sign Bobby Wagner
Try putting those numbers into perspective.
The second-to-last place team in terms of spending since 2021 has spent nearly $300 more than the Cowboys. Despite being a big-market franchise, and having an owner who’s on record saying he’d write a blank check for a Super Bowl, Dallas has played the part of a small-market team as far as bringing in marquee players.
The silver lining here is Dallas showed real interest in signing Wagner last offseason, and Wagner himself admitted the interest was mutual. He ultimately inked a five-year, $50 million deal with the Rams, but his ties to Dan Quinn could be the Cowboys saving grace in terms of recruitment.
Quinn spoke to Wagner directly in 2022 about reuniting in Dallas. Quinn was Wagner’s defensive coordinator in Seattle for two seasons (2013 and 2024) during the Seahawks’ famed Legion of Boom era.
Wagner enjoyed maybe his best season as a pro in 2014. He was named a first-team All-Pro and finished fifth in MVP voting. The season prior, Wagner served as the heart and soul of Seattle’s Super Bowl-winning defense.
Though nearing his mid-30s, Wagner is still one of the game’s best linebackers. He started all 17 games for the Rams in 2022, logging 140 tackles, a career-high six sacks, 10 tackles for loss, 10 QB hits, five passes defended, and two interceptions. He was PFF’s highest-graded linebacker with a 90.7 grade.
Typically, a team knocking on the door of competing for a title would do whatever it takes to sign a player of that regard.
Maybe the Cowboys shock the world and sign Wagner, but it would be foolish of fans to expect it given the team’s recent spending history.
Please, by all means, prove us wrong.