The Seattle Seahawks have reportedly been interested in bringing back free agent Bobby Wagner. But why stop there? Seattle should bring back K.J. Wright too.
I realize that makes me sound like a complete homer. Why bring back Wright? He is old for a linebacker and didn’t even play last season, right? Am I just trying to relive the glory years of the mid-2010s without any foundation in reality? Just hear me out.
First of all, let’s look at who the Seahawks currently have at inside linebacker now that Cody Barton has left to join the Washington Commanders as a free agent and Jordyn Brooks might miss the start of the 2023 season after injuring his knee late in 2022. The group includes Nick Bellore, Joshua Onujiogu, Cullen Gillaspia, and Jon Rhattigan. Tanner Muse was a restricted free agent but has been non-tendered by Seattle and likely won’t be back. No offense to those other guys as they are still better players than I could ever dream of being, but in relation to other NFL players that’s not a good group.
The Seahawks should bring back both Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright
To put it more bluntly, Seattle isn’t going to win a lot of football games in the players in that group have to start and take up a lot of snaps. Seattle’s linebacker unit mostly underperformed last year anyway and that was with Brooks and Barton. Seattle needs better talent at LB. Period.
Many 12s appear to hope that Bobby Wagner returns as a free agent. Wagner left for one season – last season – and was excellent for the Rams. He was named second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press. He had 6 sacks and 10 tackles for loss in 2022. Would he put those kinds of numbers up for Seattle in 2023? Unlikely as Seattle’s defense is structured differently than Los Angeles’.
That doesn’t mean Wagner would be ineffective, though. In fact, Wagner would still be quite an upgrade over Cody Barton. And if we are being real, Wagner is probably a better player even now than Jordyn Brooks, and by a good margin.
But Wright fits in well with Seattle, too. Of course, I am writing this from a fan’s perspective and I have no idea if Wright still wants to play football, but I have a good feeling that if Wright does want to play he would be worthy of signing in Seattle. Wright wasn’t a bad player after leaving the Seahawks in his one season with the Raiders. In 2021, he started eight games and had a missed tackle percentage of 5.6 percent.
My hope is that Seattle drafts an inside linebacker in the first or second round of the 2023 NFL draft. Ideally, this would be Arkansas’s Drew Sanders. Sanders is the kind of playmaking linebacker Seattle lacks. He can rush the passer but is stout against the run and has excellent athletic ability. But he only started one year in college so might need some time to adjust to the NFL.
What better way to allow Sanders to learn the Seahawks way than to have him learn under Wagner and Wright, and I mean especially Wright. Sanders could learn how to break up screen passes (which Seattle stunk at the last two seasons) and how to use his athleticism correctly. But there is another reason to sign Wright.
One piece of Seattle’s defense that has seemingly been lacking recently is good communication. Wagner and Wright have years of playing next to each other and the communication issue would not be an issue. Seattle would also have two veteran leaders on a defense that is still a bit young overall, especially at cornerback. Having Wagner and Wright together for one year (maybe two) may not be as good as the mid-2010s version, but it is a heck of a lot better option than Seattle currently has.