Commanders new cerebral assassin makes immediate impression

The experienced figure wasted no time in raising standards.
Bobby Wagner
Bobby Wagner / Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Commanders made a plethora of moves throughout one of the busiest roster turnovers in franchise history. Adam Peters gutted the playing personnel and molded things in a manner he believes can bring more short and long-term prosperity. It might not happen right away, but there is a genuine plan in place for the first time in years.

Of all the signings made by the Commanders in recent months, none caught the eye more than Bobby Wagner. The perennial All-Pro and future first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer opted to link back up with Dan Quinn after reaching a career-high in tackles with the Seattle Seahawks in 2023. The move represented a major statement of intent and one that saw those around the league begin to look at the franchise differently.

Wagner might be firmly in his career twilight, but last season's efforts indicate there is a lot of good football left before he calls time on a prolific stint in the NFL. Pairing him with Frankie Luvu at the defensive second level represents an upgrade of epic proportions for the Commanders, especially considering how the linebacking corps became a constant afterthought throughout Ron Rivera's wayward roster construction.

Commanders getting exactly what they want from Bobby Wagner

The former second-round pick wasted no time in making his presence felt when the entire roster got together for the first time at OTAs. This was a voluntary portion of the program, but Quinn reported a full attendance as everyone looks to hit the ground running under the new regime.

There's no doubt Wagner will be a hugely influential presence on and off the field. The cerebral assassin is one of the most intelligent players of all time, something reflected in comments made by stud offensive lineman Sam Cosmi that drew almost disbelief before he asked for information.

This was a sentiment echoed by Luvu, who's been keen to pick up as much information as possible from his teammate to take his game up another notch. The free-agent signing from the Carolina Panthers had nothing but praise for Wagner as the duo aims to become the glue that holds Washington's defense together next season.

"It's a blessing. For myself, being in a room with Bobby [Wagner], trying to pick his mind and see where I can be better at in my game, it a blessing for me and we got that work in [after the first day of OTAs]. The dude is like a treasure box, you never know what you're gonna get with him. He's just real at the end of the day. He's just always there trying to help all the young guys, myself, and the team as well."

In truth, nobody expected anything else from a player of Wagner's stature. He's a legitimate leader of men and someone everyone follows. He leads by example and through guidance in whatever way he can. Considering the vast alterations made across the roster, having this experience is going to be incredibly important.

Wagner may have lost a step in coverage, but Quinn will know exactly how to maximize his gifts despite the player's advancing years. His knowledge and willingness to help others is going to be an integral part of an important transition for many, which should bear fruit when the time for competitive action arrives once again.

The Commanders have high hopes for Wagner. More importantly, the player holds himself and others to similar standards and he isn't afraid to let people know when these standards are slipping.

It's early days, but Wagner already looks like a tremendous piece of business.