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Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner 'one hundred percent' certain he will play in 2024

Bobby Wagner returned to the Seahawks in 2023 via a one-year deal, with an understanding he wouldn't be an every-down defender at 33 years old.

He's played 98.2% of Seattle's defensive snaps in 2023. And he's entirely "one hundred percent" certain he'd like to continue playing football somewhere in 2024.

"There's no might," Wagner said Wednesday, via ESPN. "I never thought anything else outside of that."

Wagner ranks second in the NFL with 168 tackles, trailing Indianapolis' Zaire Franklin by just two tackles. Of the top seven defenders in tackles, only former Rams teammate Ernest Jones has more sacks (4.5) than Wagner (3.5).

Wagner just received his ninth Pro Bowl selection of his career on Wednesday. He can clearly still play quite well, and is certain he'd like to continue his Hall of Fame career beyond this season.

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It just might not be in Seattle, where Pete Carroll has been effusive in his praise of Wagner this season.

"He's had a fantastic season coming back to us," Carroll said, via ESPN. "His leadership and the example that he sets for other guys. He doesn't have to say much; he just does everything well and right and the fact that he's had a productive year and is making his plays and making a ton of tackles again, and his durability again, which is just so remarkable throughout his career, is just a statement of is overall conditioning and development and maintenance, all that it takes to do that.

"That's incredible he's played this much. One hundred and sixty-something tackles, that's amazing. He's done everything we could have hoped for, I think."

Carroll added Seattle "would love to have" Wagner back in 2024. Wagner, meanwhile, hasn't quite planned on sticking around, explaining he wasn't looking at a multi-year stay when he returned to the Seahawks on his one-year, $5.5 million deal in March.

"I didn't think too far," he said. "I just was trying to be present in the moment that I had and trying to make the most out of that and let the cards fall where they may."

If it makes Seahawks fans feel better, Wagner already knows what it is like to leave Seattle in pursuit of team success elsewhere. He joined the division rival Rams in 2022 and ended up finding himself on a roster that had little to play for at the end of the campaign, souring what was supposed to be a homecoming for the Los Angeles native.

Returning to Seattle was an easy move. But now, judging by Wagner's noncommittal tone, the Seahawks might have to bring a little more cash to the table to keep him around.

How much is a 34-year-old linebacker worth? Ideally, in the range of what he received in 2023. But most 34-year-old linebackers aren't coming off Pro Bowl seasons in which they compete with counterparts six years younger than them for the league lead in tackles.

Seattle is in some uncharted waters with this situation. But romantics will agree: It still seems as if Wagner's career journey is destined to end in Seattle.

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