The Los Angeles Rams reached the NFL mountaintop in 2021, earning their first Super Bowl title since 1999. However, that hasn’t stopped general manager Les Snead from adding even more talent to his roster.
Last week, LA brought in a familiar face the solidify their linebacking corps, signing former Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner to a five-year, $50 million deal. Now, Los Angeles boasts one of the better linebacking duos in the NFL, placing Wagner next to budding star Ernest Jones.
Jones and Wagner have very similar games. They both diagnose plays well at the line of scrimmage and they both have a nose for the football. Jones started seven games as a rookie in 2021, recording 61 combined tackles, one sack, two interceptions, and one tackle for loss. Giving Jones a mentor like Wagner should pay dividends down the line.
On the field, this duo should cause headaches for opposing offenses all year. With Wagner now in the fold, Jones will be able to operate more freely and focus on his areas of strength, primarily blitzing the passer. Last season, Jones posted a Pro Football Focus pass rush grade of 76.5, by far his highest mark from PFF in 2021. In the Rams Super Bowl win back in February, Jones had a crucial sack on third down late in the game. He has a knack for creating havoc in big moments, and now that he’ll be freed up by Wagner’s presence, Jones’ playmaking ability should only get better.
Prior to the Wagner signing, the Rams were buttoned up at pretty much every defensive position across the board. They have an elite corner in Jalen Ramsey, an elite defensive lineman in Aaron Donald, and safety Jordan Fuller proved to be a very solid starter last year, finishing the year as the 19th-highest graded safety in the NFL, per PFF.
Wagner brings the Rams defense full circle. They’re now borderline elite at every position on the defensive side of the ball. Even at 31 years old, Wagner hasn’t lost a step. He posted a career-high 170 combined tackles in 2021 while earning second-team All-Pro honors.
Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris has arguably the best assortment of defensive talent in the league to work with in 2022. His blitz-heavy scheme should pay off with Wagner and Jones taking turns rushing the quarterback.
Simply put, the Super Bowl champs just got even better. Even with the hefty contract, Wagner should be worth every penny.