The Seahawks may be in for a contentious summer as star linebacker Bobby Wagner tries to negotiate a new contract with the team. It's the topic of this week's conversation between KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel and Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.
"He's the quarterback of the defense," Thiel said. "He's the best in the game right now. And he deserves top-of-market consideration."
Thiel pointed out that there is money to pay Wagner top dollar. He said the team is $25 million under the salary cap, aided by the retirement of wide receiver Doug Baldwin. But there is the issue of his age.
"Wagner will be 29 next month," Thiel said. "And in football, 30 is the new 60, unfortunately, because players tend to age out of their contracts around age 30.
"The Seahawks have to figure out a way to get Wagner his cash but without burdening them in case he gets hurt.
"They don't want a repeat of the Kam Chancellor episode a couple of years ago when Kam just signed a new contract extension and then got hurt."
Wagner has been attending the team's voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) but he hasn't been practicing. He's also acting as his own agent in negotiations. Theil said it's a risky move, but he thinks it will work out in the end.
"Right now, Wagner has got a year left on his contract. I expect that he will be in (training) camp and practicing with the Seahawks and trying to finesse this deal without an actual holdout.
"And I think the parties have enough mutual respect to make the thing work."