K.J. Wright‘s lengthy offseason in free agency looks like it is coming to an end. The veteran linebacker is expected to sign a one-year deal with the Raiders, NFL reporter Josina Anderson tweets. The Raiders met with Wright nearly a month ago, and the parties are belatedly moving forward on an agreement.
The Raiders have battled some linebacker injury trouble and acquired Denzel Perryman from the Panthers last week. While Perryman played for new Las Vegas DC Gus Bradley, so did Wright. Bradley was Seattle’s DC during Wright’s first two NFL seasons nearly a decade ago.
After the Seahawks drafted Jordyn Brooks in the 2020 first round, it appeared Wright would not receive a fourth contract from the team. This Las Vegas agreement will lead to Wright’s first relocation since entering the NFL.
The Seahawks took Wright in the 2011 fourth round and used him as a starter for 10 seasons. The veteran defender was open to a Seattle return but did not want to do so on a discount. However, it is unlikely Wright’s Raiders agreement will approach the two-year, $14MM Seahawks pact he signed in 2019.
Vegas’ linebacking corps brings together a mix of holdovers and former Bradley charges, but this now looks like a deep group that could be considerably better than last year’s corps. The Raiders kept seven linebackers on roster cutdown day, including third-round pick Divine Deablo, who is transitioning from safety. The Silver and Black also have returning starters Cory Littleton, Nick Kwiatkoski and Nicholas Morrow on the roster. Morrow has battled an ankle injury, leading to the Perryman acquisition. Wright is unlikely to be joining the Raiders to be a backup, so Vegas’ starting lineup stands to undergo more changes ahead of the season.
Wright, 32, has made 140 starts over the course of his career, working as an outside linebacker in the Seahawks’ 4-3 scheme. Despite his unattached status since March, Wright graded as a top-10 off-ball ‘backer (per Pro Football Focus) last season. He has five 100-plus-tackle seasons, and he notched 11 tackles for loss and 10 passes defensed last year. No only player accomplished that particular double-double in 2020.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.