Commanders are signing 6-time All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner, AP sources say

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Bobby Wagner is going to the Washington Commanders as they make a major splash in rebuilding their defense.

The six-time All-Pro linebacker has agreed to join the team, according to two people familiar with the deal. One person confirmed it’s a one-year contract worth up to $8.5 million with $6 million in guaranteed money.

The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because it had not been announced.

Wagner, who turns 34 this summer, led the NFL with 183 tackles last season. He becomes the centerpiece of the defense under Dan Quinn and is another player the new coach is plenty familiar with: Wagner played two seasons for him with the Seattle Seahawks in 2013 and ’14, winning a Super Bowl together in the process.

“Seattle, we’ve done this before,” Wagner posted on social media, referencing leaving the Seahawks in 2022 for one season with the Los Angeles Rams before returning in 2023. “You know what it is. It’s always love. Until we meet again. I’m around.”

Signing Wagner is one of many changes new general manager Adam Peters is making after going into free agency with the most salary cap space in the league. Also coming are running back Austin Ekeler, veteran backup quarterback Marcus Mariota, tight end Zach Ertz and several others, including linebacker Frankie Luvu, safety Jeremy Chinn, center Tyler Biadasz and defensive end Dorrance Armstrong.

Quinn has connections to Biadasz and Armstrong from his past three seasons as defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys. Ertz was sold on Peters, Quinn and new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury’s plan.

“These are guys that I truly believe are going to build long-term success at this place,” Ertz said on a video call with reporters Tuesday. “I’m extremely excited to get back in (Kingsbury’s) offense and also just help this team, help this organization kind of build success from the ground up.”

Earlier Wednesday, the Commanders agreed on a two-year contract with safety and 2022 All-Pro special teams player Jeremy Reaves, a person familiar with the deal tells The AP.

Among several social media posts, Reaves said he has been smiling ear to ear since getting the new contract. He added: “Commanders fans, I’m glad to be coming back HOME!” I got unfinished business!”

Part of that unfinished business is getting back on the field after partially tearing the ACL in his left knee on a punt return Oct. 5 during Washington’s fifth game last season. He went on injured reserve and did not return.

Reaves is the first player from the previous regime Peters opted to bring back.


AP Sports Writer Tim Booth in Seattle contributed to this report.