Feb 5, 2024; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Commanders head coach Dan Quinn (L) smiles as Commanders general manager Adam Peters (R) speaks during Quinn's introductory press conference at Commanders Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Cap-rich Commanders reload with Dan Quinn as lead recruiter

With head coach Dan Quinn serving as lead recruiter, Washington utilized a league-high $92 million under the salary cap entering free agency to overhaul the roster in a rapid rebuild attempt under first-time general manager Adam Peters.

Quinn helped orchestrate the arrival of reinforcements reuniting with the former Cowboys defensive coordinator, Falcons head coach and Seahawks defensive coordinator, including linebacker Bobby Wagner (Seahawks), defensive ends Dorance Armstrong (Cowboys) and Dante Fowler (Cowboys) and center Tyler Biadasz (Cowboys).

Wagner, who reportedly signed a one-year deal worth $8.5 million, played for Quinn and current linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. in Seattle.

Linebacker Frankie Luvu (Panthers) and defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell (Raiders) are also on board and fill pressing defensive needs. Luvu’s teammate in Carolina, safety/linebacker hybrid Jeremy Chinn, brings a diverse playmaking reputation to Quinn’s crew.

Peters scored a few playmakers, too, signing former Chargers All-Pro running back Austin Ekeler to a two-year deal and bringing tight end Zach Ertz on board.

Former No. 2 pick Marcus Mariota agreed to a deal to join a Washington quarterback room in flux. Ferrell was the No. 4 pick in the 2019 draft and Fowler was drafted third in 2015.

In total, thirteen players agreed to terms before signings could become official at the start of the league year on Wednesday.

Peters also has five picks in the top 100, starting with the No. 2 selection, in the 2024 NFL draft. Washington currently has nine total selections in the draft.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2022; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights running back Samuel Brown V (27) runs for a touchdown against the Wagner Seahawks during the second half at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers thrives on ground, dismantles Wagner

Gavin Wimsatt ran for two touchdowns and passed for another as Rutgers handled FCS Wagner 52-3 on Saturday in Piscataway, N.J.

The Scarlet Knights (4-1) scored on every possession besides their drive at the end of the first half, returning to the win column after a loss at No. 2 Michigan last week.

Samuel Brown V, Kyle Monangai, Ja’shon Benjamin and Aaron Young all scored on the ground for Rutgers, with Monangai leading the Scarlet Knights with 19 carries for 87 yards. Wimsatt completed 12 of 19 passes for 146 yards and ran seven times for 15.

Wagner (2-3) mustered just 106 yards of offense. Rickey Spruill paced the Seahawks with 36 yards on seven carries.

Rutgers was held to a 44-yard field goal by Jai Patel on its first drive. But in the final minute of the first quarter, Wimsatt hit Christian Dremel on fourth-and-goal from the 4 for a 10-0 lead.

Rutgers then botched an onside kick and handed Wagner ideal field position, but the Seahawks’ Ryan Liszner missed a 38-yard field goal try early in the second.

Wide receiver JaQuae Jackson laid out to make a 41-yard catch down the right sideline on Rutgers’ next drive. Dremel later appeared to score his second touchdown, but on review he was ruled down at the 1-yard line. Brown punched it in on the next play for a 17-0 lead with 9:02 to go.

The Seahawks failed to convert a fourth-and-1 from their own 27, and, six plays later, Wimsatt scrambled into the end zone from 5 yards out with 2:50 to go.

Wagner’s Kobi Ray-Reed followed with a 67-yard kickoff return, setting his team up to get on the board. Liszner was successful from 29 yards with 1:23 left to cut the deficit to 24-3 at halftime.

Rutgers’ Rashad Rochelle returned the opening kick of the second half 88 yards to the Wagner 7. Wimsatt ran it in from there two plays later for a 31-3 lead one minute into the third quarter.

Monangai added a 4-yard rushing score with 3:41 left in the third, and Benjamin scored his 6-yard touchdown with 11:38 to play in the fourth.

Backup quarterback Ajani Sheppard guided a scoring drive for Rutgers in the final minutes. Young scored a 3-yard rushing touchdown with 13 seconds left.

–Field Level Media

Michigan defenders, from left, Derrick Moore, Michael Barrett and Josaiah Stewart rush against Rutgers quarterback Gavin Wimsatt during the second half of Michigan's 31-7 win on Saturday, Sept. 23 2023, in Ann Arbor.

Rutgers hopes to get back on track vs. Wagner

After its first loss of the season came in lopsided fashion, Rutgers will return home with the chance to get right against FCS visitors Wagner on Saturday in Piscataway, N.J.

When the programs met for the first time last season, Rutgers won in a rout, 66-7.

The Scarlet Knights (3-1) took a lightning-quick lead at No. 2 Michigan last week, scoring a 69-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the first minute on Gavin Wimsatt’s connection with Christian Dremel.
It was all Michigan from there, however, as running back Blake Corum and company rolled to a 31-7 win.

Wimsatt went 11-for-21 for 180 yards and the one touchdown and also threw his first interception of the year. He added 28 rushing yards.

“I just look at Gavin’s trajectory: As long as he keeps the nose up, he’s going to get to a level where we all want him to,” Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said Monday. “He’s learning every single game. … You can’t have any backslides. You can’t have any progress-halters right now because he’s on the climb and he’s got to continue to stay that way.”

Wagner (2-2 overall) sits atop the FCS Northeast Conference at 2-0 after a 30-27 win over Merrimack last week. The Seahawks led 17-7, but then fell behind twice before rallying both times.

Steven Krajewski’s 21-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Bonelli put them up for good with 4:35 to go. Wagner made a goal-line stand to force Merrimack to try a game-tying field goal, but the snap was bad and the Seahawks held on.

“I can’t speak enough about our guys and the way they handled things,” Wagner coach Tom Masella told the school’s athletics website. “Today was the first day we faced a lot of adversity and responded on all three phases of the game.”

Wagner played another FBS opponent earlier this month, falling 24-0 at Navy. But Schiano doesn’t see a cupcake awaiting Rutgers.

“The last time they played here, they were coming off a 21-game losing streak, and now they are coming off a two-game winning streak and they are sitting on top of their league in first place,” Schiano said. “So (Masella has) done an incredible job building that program.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 25, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams linebacker Bobby Wagner (45) in the second half against the Denver Broncos at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Rams, LB Bobby Wagner agree to part ways

The Los Angeles Rams and veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner agreed to part ways Thursday after just one season, ESPN reported.

The mutual parting comes after Wagner signed a five-year, $50 million deal Wagner signed with the Rams last spring. Los Angeles was looking to clear salary cap space.

Wagner, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, turns 33 in June.

Wagner recorded 140 tackles and a career-best six sacks in 17 games for Los Angeles in 2022. He also intercepted two passes.

Wagner spent his first 10 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks and developed into a big-play captain despite being just a second-round draft pick out of Utah State in 2012.

He flourished as part of the “Legion of Boom” defense in Seattle, leading the league in tackles in 2016 and 2019. Wagner has topped 100 tackles in all 11 of his NFL seasons.

In his career, Wagner owns 1,523 tackles, 29.5 sacks, 13 interceptions and four defensive touchdowns in 168 games (167 starts).

–Field Level Media

Jul 31, 2022; Irvine, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams linebacker Bobby Wagner (45) during training camp at UC Irvine. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Protester files police report against Rams’ Bobby Wagner for ‘blatant assault’

A male protester who ran on to the field and was pummeled by Los Angeles Rams linebacker Bobby Wagner has filed a police report against the 11-year veteran, according to multiple reports on Wednesday.

The man was running near the Los Angeles bench during a break in Monday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., when Wagner decked him to end the shenanigans.

The man reportedly visited the Santa Clara Police Department on Tuesday and alleged that he was a victim of “blatant assault.”

A San Francisco-area animal rights group named Direct Action Everywhere identified the two protesters on a Twitter post right after the incident happened.

“BREAKING: DxE activists just DISRUPTED an NFL game with smoke flares to raise awareness about the #SmithfieldTrial and the #RightToRescue. DxE activist Alex Taylor was TACKLED by Bobby Wagner and DxE activist Allison Fluty was tackled by security.”

The woman was tackled in the end zone, but the man made it across to the Rams’ side of the field as a security officer, Wagner and the Rams’ Takkarist McKinley were in close proximity.

McKinley approached the man, but Wagner beat him and delivered a fierce hit to the man’s body.

Wagner said Wednesday he is aware of the police report. He also said he was more concerned about a security officer that was injured during the chase.

“Can’t really focus on it,” Wagner told reporters. “I’m more concerned about the security guard that was hurt trying to chase him. … You just got to do what you got to do.”

Rams coach Sean McVay defended Wagner’s actions.

“I think that we all know where Bobby’s intentions were,” McVay said. “I support Bobby Wagner. That’s where I’m at with that. I don’t think anybody will disagree.”

Wagner is in his first season with the Rams after playing his first 10 NFL seasons for the Seattle Seahawks. He is an eight-time Pro Bowler.

–Field Level Media

Sep 23, 2022; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange wide receiver Devaughn Cooper (7) catches a pass against the Virginia Cavaliers during the second half at JMA Wireless Dome. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse hosts Wagner in search of first 5-0 start since 1987

After heart-thumping wins in each of the last two weeks, Syracuse wouldn’t mind a more relaxing victory Saturday when FCS foe Wagner comes to town.

The Orange are trying to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 1987. They trounced Louisville and UConn in their first two games before slipping past Purdue in the final seconds and then getting by Virginia 22-20 in the waning minutes last Friday.

Looking forward, this could be a “trap game” for the Orange, as they face ranked opponents in five of their next six games. The only matchup in that stretch against a non-ranked foe comes against Notre Dame, which was ranked as high as No. 5 earlier in the season.

“This game is, to me, a tricky game for us. Our team has to really stay locked in,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said.

He especially wants his team to focus on cleaning up its offensive execution. The Orange were thrilled to win against the Cavaliers despite committing four turnovers.

“We’re really fortunate to come out with the win. We’re excited about that,” Babers said after defeating Virginia. “The play was not perfect, that’s for sure. But the record is.”

The Seahawks’ record, meanwhile, is far from perfect. Wagner has lost its first three games by a combined 96 points. They have scored a total of 14 points in their last two games and are coming off a 27-7 loss to St. Francis (Pa.).

But the Seahawks are coming off a bye week, so coach Tom Masella is hoping the extra rest gives his team an advantage.

“I thought we had a good week of practice last week,” Masella said on the Wagner College TD Club Coaches Show. “We got some young kids some reps, but we had to get better fundamentally, and I thought our kids had a good week last week.”

The Orange, on the other hand, are averaging 33.3 points per game behind quarterback Garrett Shrader (eight touchdowns, one interception) and wideout Oronde Gadsden II (19 catches, 300 yards, three TDs).

That said, Syracuse already has lost four starters to season-ending injuries, so their depth could be challenged as the season moves along.

“We’re averaging losing a starter per game,” Babers said. “Backups who are now starters have done a really, really good job based off the people we’re playing, but starting with this week, if we’re gonna continue losing one a game, I don’t know how that’s gonna look. I don’t know how that crystal ball looks in the end.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2022; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights wide receiver Rashad Rochelle (18) runs with the ball against the Wagner Seahawks during the second half at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers rolls to convincing win over Wagner

Rutgers scored on all four first-quarter possessions Saturday afternoon as the host Scarlet Knights rolled to a 66-7 victory over Wagner in Piscataway, N.J.

Rutgers finished with 585 yards of total offense, including 323 on the ground, while improving to 2-0 for the second straight season.

Samuel Brown V rushed 12 times for 66 yards and two touchdowns. Al-Shadee Salaam rushed eight times for a team-high 69 yards and a touchdown while Kyle Monangai collected 58 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Rashad Rochelle added 11 carries for 36 yards and a touchdown.

As was the case in a season-opening win over Boston College on Sept. 3, Rutgers utilized three quarterbacks. Evan Simon was 10-of-13 passing for 156 yards and two touchdowns while Gavin Wimsatt and Johnny Langan each threw a touchdown.

The 66 points were the most for Rutgers since a 68-6 win over Colgate on Sept. 3, 1993 while the margin of victory was the Scarlet Knights’ largest since a 65-0 victory over Morgan State on Sept. 16, 2017.

Quarterback Nick Kargman was 12-of-23 passing for 92 yards and a touchdown pass to Jayvin Little for FCS member Wagner (0-2), which lost its 22nd straight game dating back to the 2019 season.

Christian Davis had an interception on defense for the Seahawks.

Wagner received the opening kickoff and drove beyond midfield before Kargman’s fourth-down pass from the Rutgers 38-yard-line fell incomplete. The Scarlet Knights ran the ball on every play of the subsequent 11-play drive, which Monangai capped with a 2-yard touchdown.

Wagner went three-and-out on its next three possessions. The Scarlet Knights answered with a touchdown pass each time — one apiece from Simon (40 yards to Aron Cruickshank) Wimsatt (41 yards to Chris Long) and Langan (43 yards to Isaiah Washington as time expired).

Kargman opened the second by directing Wagner on its lone touchdown drive, which ended with his 8-yard pass to Little. Jude McAtamney booted a 49-yard field goal with 4:31 left and Simon tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Langan — listed as a tight end — to put Rutgers up 38-7 at the half.

Salaam’s 25-yard touchdown run and Brown’s 2-yard scoring plunge capped consecutive third-quarter drives for Rutgers. Rochelle and Samuel scored on back-to-back drives in the fourth.

–Field Level Media

Sep 3, 2022; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights tight end Johnny Langan (21) runs the ball during the second half against the Boston College Eagles at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers using quarterback-by-committee approach vs. Wagner

No starting quarterback last week for Rutgers? No problem.

Rutgers will look to win a second consecutive game to open the season Saturday afternoon, when the Scarlet Knights are scheduled to host Wagner in Piscataway, N.J.

The Scarlet Knights overcame their own quarterback uncertainty and a nine-point second half deficit last Saturday to stun host Boston College, 22-21. Wagner, a Football Championship Subdivision squad, fell to visiting Fordham, 48-31, in an FCS duel last Thursday.

With projected starting signal-caller Noah Vedral out with an upper body injury, Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano mixed and matched at quarterback — where three different players took snaps on the opening drive — and relied on the running game to mount the comeback against Boston College.

Evan Simon, Gavin Wimsatt and Aron Cruickshank combined to go 13-of-22 for 110 yards and no touchdowns. Another player who lined up at quarterback, converted tight end Johnny Langan, didn’t attempt a pass.

“I wish I could say to you that it’s all planned with this many plays for this guy, but I don’t usually do that,” Schiano said. “We have a plan to start the game, but you never know. Every game is its own story.”

The Scarlet Knights rushed for 212 yards, including all 96 yards on the game-winning fourth-quarter touchdown drive. Al-Shadee Salaam capped the march with consecutive rushes of 23 and 22 yards to give Rutgers its only lead of the game.

The Scarlet Knights are looking to open 2-0 for the second straight season. They started last year 3-0 before finishing the regular season at 5-7 and eventually accepting an invitation to the Gator Bowl against Wake Forest as a last-minute replacement for Texas A&M.

Wagner, which plays in the Northeast Conference, enters Saturday on a 21-game losing streak. The Seahawks’ most recent win was a 24-14 victory over Long Island University on Sept. 28, 2019.

Wagner head coach Tom Masella has been optimistic since training camp began with 144 players. The Seahawks, who lost three games by 10 points or fewer last season, led Fordham 28-20 midway through the third quarter before the Rams scored 28 unanswered points.

“All these things are a positive compared to where we were a year ago,” Masella told the Staten Island Advance in late August. “It doesn’t get bad overnight and you don’t rebuild it overnight.”

Wagner was picked to finish tied for sixth with Long Island in the eight-team Northeast Conference.

Though the schools are located fewer than 30 miles apart and have both been playing football continuously since Wagner — located on Staten Island — began playing the sport in 1927, Saturday’s game marks the first between the programs.

–Field Level Media

Jan 8, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Ryan Kerrigan (90) rushes the quarterback as Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle La'el Collins (71) blocks the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Cowboys shop OT La’el Collins, angling for LB Bobby Wagner

Right tackle La’el Collins is generating strong interest on the trade market as the Dallas Cowboys weigh options to get below the 2022 salary cap, according to reports.

Collins has three years and $30 million remaining on his contract and moving him would free up enough salary cap space for the Cowboys to retain wide receiver Amari Cooper and pursue free-agent linebacker Bobby Wagner, according to reports.

Collins, 28, played guard and tackle for the Cowboys and played in 12 games last season. He missed the 2020 season with a hip injury that required surgery, but started all but one game the previous three seasons.

NFL Network reported Collins, undrafted out of LSU in 2015, has been coveted in trade discussions the Cowboys opened around multiple players.

ESPN reported last week that Cooper was “likely to be released” but multiple reports imply Cooper, owed $20 million on March 20, could stick around.

Wagner was released by the Seattle Seahawks, where he played for current Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. But Wagner reportedly has a robust market developing and several of his suitors will have more cash to offer than Dallas.

The Cowboys restructured multiple contracts this week, including $22 million worth of accounting gymnastics on the long-term deals for Dak Prescott and Zack Martin. But Dallas remains over the salary cap, NFL Network reported.

–Field Level Media

Nov 15, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars running back James Robinson (30) is tackled by Green Bay Packers linebacker Christian Kirksey (58) in the first quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Packers release LB Christian Kirksey, OT Rick Wagner

The Green Bay Packers announced Friday that they released linebacker Christian Kirksey and offensive tackle Rick Wagner.

The moves will help the team when it comes to the salary cap. Kirksey was slated to receive $5.6 million in 2021 salary and bonuses, while Wagner was set to receive $4.25 million in salary and bonuses.

Kirksey recorded 77 tackles, two interceptions and two sacks in 11 games (all starts) in 2020, his lone season with the Packers. He missed five games due to a pectoral injury.

Kirksey, 28, spent his first six NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns.

Kirksey has 561 tackles, 13.5 sacks, four interceptions, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in 84 career games (65 starts).

Wagner, 31, also was a newcomer to the Packers in 2020 and started nine regular-season games. He also started the team’s two postseason games at right tackle.

Overall, Wagner has started 96 of 118 games played in eight seasons with the Baltimore Ravens (2013-16), Detroit Lions (2017-19) and Packers.

–Field Level Media