What are the Commanders expecting from Bobby Wagner in 2024?

The veteran linebacker should make an immediate impact.

Bobby Wagner
Bobby Wagner / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

What are the Washington Commanders expecting from ferocious veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner during the 2024 campaign?

Bobby Wagner is one of the greatest linebackers of the modern era. He's stood the test of time and is a sure-fire Pro Football Hall of Famer when he eventually decides to walk away from the gridiron. However, the Washington Commanders believe he still has a lot of good football left after signing him to a one-year deal in free agency.

Wagner instantly legitimizes the ambitious plans being implemented by general manager Adam Peters and head coach Dan Quinn. He could have waited around for a contender at this stage of his career. Instead, he opted to reunite with his former defensive coordinator and assist this storied franchise in their quest for potential prosperity.

Commanders want Bobby Wagner to lead from the front

When discussing why the Commanders keyed in on Wagner when the free-agent frenzy began, Quinn highlighted his tone-setting traits and how he can help others reach their potential as reasons why Washington pulled the trigger based on comments via NFL.com.

"He's all that I love about football. He's a tackler. He's aggressive, he's tough, he's smart, he takes care of himself. So what I'm hopeful to see, and I'm certain it will happen, is he's a multiplier. Because 'This is how the standard is. This is how I operate. This is the process to go through.' So, if you're a young linebacker being around somebody, this is the exact type of linebacker you'd want to be around. Seeing that standard of how we operate, I thought that was really important, so that's why I'm so lit up about getting him here. It's been a long time since I've coached him. I coached against him a lot. I remember circling that number and said, 'Do not let this person ruin this game, you know, with 15 tackles.' It's really good to get a chance to work with him and some of the other guys."

Dan Quinn via NFL.com

Wagner is someone other players can go to for advice and guidance. Not many around the league boast his credentials - certainly not anyone on the Commanders. He'll command immediate respect and be someone who can lead from the front. Placing him next to an electrifying sideline-to-sideline force such as Frankie Luvu only raises expectations.

The perennial All-Pro might have lost a step in coverage, but his instincts and ability to be around the football consistently show no signs of slowing down. Wagner notched an eye-watering 183 tackles last season - anything like that number next time around is going to be a significant asset for a Commanders defense that once again flattered to deceive in 2023.

Quinn knows Wagner well. He'll know how to maximize his production despite the player's advancing years. But his contribution as a leader and mentor off the field will be equally as important.

This was a supreme vote of confidence in Wagner from his new head coach. His best days might be behind the former second-round pick out of Utah State, but if anyone can help him squeeze a little extra juice from his glittering career, it's Quinn.

If Wagner reaches expectations, the Commanders could surprise people next season.