The Seahawks have some big decisions ahead of them next offseason. Jamal Adams and Shaquill Griffin should be locks to get new contracts. Others are in line with less certain futures, Chris Carson most notably.
But what is Seattle going to do with K.J. Wright?
Wright has been tremendous this season. His 68 tackles rank second on the team and his nine tackles for loss rank tied for first. Wright also has 2.0 sacks, eight passes defended, one interception, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. He is Pro Football Focus’ ninth-ranked linebacker this season with a 73.9 overall grade.
Wright, now 31, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in 2021 meaning this could be his final year with the Seahawks.
“I don’t know who was talking about his last year,” Pete Carroll said.
Carroll’s playful ignorance doesn’t change the fact that the writing has been on the wall since Seattle selected Jordyn Brooks in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. But Wright has played so well that he’s kept Brooks on the sideline for the most part.
Brooks plays WILL linebacker on base downs with K.J. Wright at SAM. Wright then moves back to his natural position in sub packages while Brooks heads to the bench.
“He’s playing terrific football, maybe even to his surprise a bit that he’s been so active playing outside,” Carroll said. “He’s always loved to be behind the line of scrimmage as an inside linebacker.
“The position allows for his freedom to make plays in the running and the passing game and rushing the passer at times. It suits him really well. He’s looking really good right now. I don’t know why we’d be talking about anything other than playing football for as long as he wants to.”
Wright, who admirably moved to SAM without a fuss, expressed how proud he is of his play this season. He said after the year is over he’ll sit back and weight his options. Surely he’ll want to continue playing as he agreed that he looks “really good,” which then puts the ball back in the organization’s court to make an offer.
“I’m definitely showing my versatility," Wright said. "I’m making it happen. It’s going good.”
Wright is making $10 million this season. It’s almost guaranteed that any offer from Seattle would require a hefty pay cut. But the Seahawks should think long and hard before they let the tenured linebacker walk in free agency.
He has long been an underrated player compared to other stars of the “Legion of Boom” era, but he continues to prove that the Seahawks defense would be much worse off without him, this season included.
"There are a lot of decisions (the team) has to make in the offseason and things of that nature, but I definitely feel like K.J. has done everything for this program," Bobby Wagner said. "K.J. has been the perfect person, the perfect teammate. I think whatever he wants to do, they should make sure that happens."