Pete Carroll’s “stuff for the future” may be K.J. Wright as Seahawks coach
K.J. Wright has made it clear that he wants to return to the Seahawks. I believe Pete Carroll has a different role in mind for K.J. than the former Hawks star expects.
It’s no secret that Seahawks demi-legend K.J. Wright wants to return to Seattle. Google the man’s name and you’ll find dozens of articles on the topic. For my money, none will be better than our own Lee Vowell’s take on Wright’s possible return.
I agree with Lee, mostly. The Seahawks are absolutely in the midst of a youth movement. It isn’t just that Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner are gone. The biggest names from last year’s Seattle roster that are still free agents are Duane Brown, Carlos Dunlap, Brandon Shell, and Benson Mayowa. All are 30 or over. K.J. Wright will be 33 years old at the start of the 2022 season, so he hardly fits in with the Hawks move to a younger team.
Seahawks see a bigger role in the future for K.J. Wright
At least, that’s what I think. As I said, I mostly agree with Lee, that there’s really not a roster spot for K.J. Wright. Except, I think it’s pretty interesting that the Hawks didn’t draft a pure linebacker this year. Yes, Jordyn Brooks is an absolute beast, the heir apparent to Bobby Wagner as the human tackling machine. Cody Barton looks like he’s more than ready to finally step into Seattle’s starting lineup.
The Hawks may not have drafted a pure linebacker, but they did snap up about 37 edge/LEO types. It’s very clear that Seattle will be using much more of a 3-4 look than in the past. Brooks and Barton are already lining up behind the line. Rookies Boye Mafe and Tyreke Smith will join Uchenna Nwosu, Darrell Taylor, and Alton Robinson on the edge. The Hawks didn’t bring Justin Coleman back to sit on the bench, so you know we’ll see a lot of nickel packages, too.
That just doesn’t leave much room for Wright. Except, he has a very different skill set than anyone I’ve mentioned. Neither Brooks nor Barton cover receivers over the middle with anything near the skill of Wright. Certainly, none of the pass rush specialists can do it as well.
So I can see a place for K.J. Wright on the Seahawks roster. Granted, that would be a very limited role, spelling two guys who are likely to play on 95 percent of the Hawks defensive snaps. But that bigger role I mentioned isn’t as a player. At least, not past the 2022 season.
Here’s the clue to exactly what Pete Carroll sees for K.J. Wright’s future in Seattle. As reported by Brady Henderson for EPSN,
"“I love K.J.,” Carroll said. “I’ve already talked to him about stuff for the future and all that. I did hear that he talked about playing, and we’ve already talked about that.”"
Now, the statement, “we’ve already talked about that” sounds rather final, doesn’t it? Sounds to me that Pete told K.J. everything we’ve talked about here, that the Hawks are getting younger, and there isn’t much space on the roster for a 33-year-old linebacker.
But as Lee Vowell stated on our most recent 12thManRising podcast, the Hawks could sign Wright to a minimum veteran contract. Sure, load it with plenty of incentives for playing time, but it would be understood that there wouldn’t be a lot of playing time for him.
As for that “stuff for the future”, well, that’s the part that really piqued my interest. What “stuff” would Pete be talking about? He wouldn’t refer to playing in various schemes as “stuff”; come on, Pete loves to talk defense. There’s no way he was thinking of defensive alignments with that comment.
No, I believe that Carroll wants K..J. Wright to return to the Seahawks as a player, but especially as a mentor. Whether that means Wright stays on the roster all season or not depends on the development of younger players, injuries, and all the usual circumstances of an NFL season. I see a much more likely scenario that Wright signs and retires, then joins the Hawks as a linebacker coach. It’s obvious he doesn’t believe he’s arrived at that stage of his career, but nothing could be better for the Seahawks or K. J. Wright. I’m all in for that stuff, Pete!