The Buffalo Bills lost Pro Bowl linebacker Tremaine Edmunds prior to the official start of free agency, but could have the chance to bring on an even more accomplished replacement.
Edmunds bolted from Buffalo, joining the Chicago Bears on a four-year, $72-million contract that includes $50 million in guaranteed money. The Bills lost one of their key defensive leaders, the play-caller on the field and a steadying force in the locker room.
Shortly after the Bills re-signed safety Jordan Poyer on March 15, Nate Geary of WGR 550 advised the team to seek out linebacker Bobby Wager and further improve the defense.
“Great, great news. Go get Bobby Wagner and you might have actually gotten BETTER on defense…,” Geary wrote.
Bobby Wagner Seen as Top Free-Agency Prize
The 32-year-old Wagner had a productive season with the Rams in 2022, making 140 tackles with six sacks and two interceptions. He made a reputation as one of the league’s best linebackers through his first 10 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, when he made the All-Pro team six times and the Pro Bowl eight times.
Wagner hit the open market in February when he and the Rams mutually agreed to part ways. As ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, Wagner’s release gave the Rams some much-needed cap space and allowed the veteran linebacker to find a new team with a better chance to win his second career Super Bowl title.
If the Bills want to land Wagner, they may have some tough competition. ESPN’s Ed Werder reported that other teams are in the mix as well, though Wagner is not rushing the process.
“The #Cowboys have contacted LB Bobby Wagner about their interest in signing him for the second time in as many years. Seahawks interested too,” Werder tweeted. “Source tells me Wagner decision not imminent as both seek to determine his current value.
Bills Have Hole to Fill at Linebacker
The Bills will be in the market for a linebacker after the departure of Edmunds, who made 565 tackles, 32 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, five interceptions and two forced fumbles through his 74 games with the Bills. As the Chicago Bears’ website noted, Edmunds recorded at least 100 tackles in each of his five seasons in the NFL.
Former Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who was a member of the Chicago Bears defense on the 1985 Super Bowl team, shared some praise for Edmunds as he left for the Bears.
“They’re getting a tremendous player, a guy who has been to a few Pro Bowls, so that tells you that he’s played at a high level,” Frazier said. “And he’s still a very young player; five years in the league and he’s 24 years old. He’s really ascended. He’s not a guy who’s reached his peak by any means.
“And he’s a tremendous leader as well. Not only is he a good football player—a guy who can make plays—but his teammates, they really gravitate to him, and they look to him to lead, both on the field and off the field, in the locker room and the classroom. He’s that type of guy. They’re getting a special player who’s a tremendous leader and who’s also a great person. His parents did a great job of instilling in him the importance of integrity and just being a high character individual.”