SEATTLE (AP) Right on the heels of signing quarterback Russell Wilson to a contract extension, the Seattle Seahawks have locked up All-Pro middle linebacker Bobby Wagner.
The Seahawks and Wagner finalized a four-year contract extension on Saturday night, making sure Seattle keeps Wagner beyond the 2015 season when his rookie contract was set to expire. Team owner Paul Allen confirmed the agreement in a tweet.
NFL.com reported the deal is worth $43 million, which would make Wagner the highest-paid middle linebacker in football.
Wagner was an All-Pro last season and finished second on the team with 104 tackles despite missing five games with a painful toe injury - and that was after having 140 and 119 the previous two years. Wagner has been Seattle's starting middle linebacker since being selected in the second round of the 2012 draft.
Wagner said Friday that his deadline for an extension was ''now,'' and that he briefly considered holding out from training camp to make his point.
''It's important to be recognized as one of the best. It's not up to me. I let the people who get paid to figure that out, figure that out,'' Wagner said on the first day of training camp. ''My job is to go out there and make sure this defense is ran right and that's the best defense. And it will be the best defense that you guys see on this field - again.''
The stretch last season when Wagner was out only reinforced his importance to the best defense in the NFL. When he returned in late November, the Seahawks became immovable again. They didn't allow a fourth-quarter point from Week 12 through the end of the regular season.
Had it not been for the toe injury, Wagner likely would have been in the discussion for defensive player of the year. And he's getting rewarded for that performance.
''History shows that if you play well, you're supposed to get paid,'' Wagner said. ''That's the viewpoint, and we'll see if it holds up.''
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