12s should love K.J. Wright. Wright has been a very good linebacker for the Seahawks for 10 years, blows up a screen pass better than anyone else in the NFL, is a leader on the team, and, most importantly, is simply a good person off the field. But Wright is a free agent and Seattle has decisions to make in terms of maintaining some cap space.
Wright wants to come back and play with the Seahawks, per Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. But Seattle might not be able to afford the free-agent linebacker. In 2020, Wright made $7.5 million and in 2019 he made $8 million. 16 linebackers currently have a higher yearly average salary than Wright has averaged the last couple of seasons and Wright is much better than the 17th best linebacker in professional football.
Wright, of course, has to make the best financial decision for himself as well. He will be 32 years old when the 2021 season begins. If a team looks at the body of Wright’s work and doesn’t mind his age, there is some team that might offer Wright $10 million or more for a couple of seasons. Wright should take it because Seattle won’t offer him that much.
And the Seahawks probably shouldn’t offer Wright more than what they have been paying him the last couple of seasons and might even want to offer him less. According to Spotrac.com, Seattle is under a projected cap of $175 million by just $4.3 million. Sure, at least Seattle is currently under the cap, but Seattle also has decisions to make on several other players besides Wright, such as Chris Carson and Shaquill Griffin.
Seahawks business decisions
Carson and Griffin might be the greater need for Seattle to try to re-sign as presumably the Seahawks are going to run more next year and Carson has been Seattle’s best running back for several years now and it hasn’t been close. Griffin is a young cornerback who could be good for several more seasons and good for more seasons than Wright might be good for.
Seattle also drafted Wright’s replacement in the person of Jordyn Brooks. Brooks is a good tackler and fast and got better with more playing time as the 2020 season wore on. Brooks makes Wright nearly expendable even if Wright were still under contract.
Still, I don’t want to see Wright go. According to Pro Football Focus, Wright was the 8th-highest-graded linebacker in the NFL this season so he is still very good and productive and Seattle knows what they get with Wright. Again, Wright is also a good human being and the world needs good human beings and those good people are great to have as members of the Seahawks.
But at the end of it all, of course, the NFL is a business and both Seattle and Wright have business decisions to make about his return. If money is the biggest part of the decision for both parties, it’s likely K.J. Wright will be wearing another team’s uniform in 2021.