K.J. Wright

LB K.J. Wright Retires After 11 Seasons

K.J. Wright said earlier this offseason he would retire if a deal to return to the Seahawks did not transpire. A middle ground of sorts emerged Wednesday. The Seahawks signed Wright to a one-day contract, allowing the veteran linebacker to retire with the team.

Wright will walk away from football after 10 seasons with the Seahawks and one with the Raiders. He ends his career having signed four contracts, including two Seattle extensions. Wright, who turned 33 last week, is one of the longest-tenured defenders in Seahawks history.

Playing alongside Bobby Wagner for most of his career, Wright also became one of the better off-ball linebackers of this era. He started 148 games; his 140 starts as a Seahawk are the eighth-most by a defender in franchise annals. Wagner and Wright represent one of the longest-running linebacking tandems in modern NFL history. The organization has said goodbye to each in the past two offseasons, letting Wright walk in 2021 and releasing Wagner in March. The team is expected to use Cody Barton alongside 2020 first-round pick Jordyn Brooks this season.

Wright’s 934 tackles are the third-most in Seahawks history — behind only Wagner and safety Eugene Robinson — and he added 111 more in the playoffs. This included an 11-tackle performance in Super Bowl XLIX. The Mississippi State alum totaled 68 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks and 11 forced fumbles.

Being part of one of this generation’s defining defenses will be a major part of Wright’s legacy. He joined the Seahawks as a fourth-round pick in 2011 and was on a defense that housed impact players up front (Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril), at linebacker and in the secondary (Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor). Wright outlasted all of them but Wagner in Seattle. The Seahawks became the first team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to lead the league in scoring defense in four straight seasons, doing so from 2012-15.

The Seahawks gave Wright a four-year, $27MM extension in December 2014, locking him down not long after extending Thomas and Sherman. They decided on a third Wright pact in 2019, keeping him off the free agent market by doing a two-year deal worth $14MM. Wright recorded a career-high 132 tackles in 2019, his age-30 season, and held off Brooks to keep his job as a full-time player throughout the 2020 campaign. Last year, however, the Seahawks opted not to pair Wagner’s top-market contract with another Wright deal.

The Raiders gave Wright a one-year deal worth $3.5MM just before last season but used Wright as a part-time player. Although the SEC product played in all 17 Raider games, he was on the field for just 37% of Las Vegas’ defensive snaps. That will be a footnote for Wright, who will retire after making nearly $50MM during a career that included two Super Bowl starts and a Pro Bowl nod in 2016.

K.J. Wright To Retire If No Seahawks Return Commences

After 10 years with the Seahawks, K.J. Wright moved on in 2021. With the Seahawks giving Jordyn Brooks his role alongside Bobby Wagner, Wright waited until September before signing with the Raiders. He is not planning to chart a similar course this year.

Wright spent time with the Seahawks at their minicamp earlier this month and has been loosely connected to a return. But the Seahawks may be more interested in bringing him back in a non-playing, mentor-type role. If Wright’s first NFL employer does not reconsider its approach regarding a linebacking opportunity, he will not pursue a contract with another team.

I mean, I love ball, but I’m not willing to pick up and leave my family like I did last year,” Wright said during an appearance on SiriusXM’s I Am Athlete Tonight show (via Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News-Tribune). “And so I think it’s pretty well known where I stand at, how I want to end my career, going into my 12th season. If it’s not in Seattle, then I’ll be all good.”

Wright, 32, made $3.76MM with the Raiders last season but played a greatly reduced role — at least, compared to his Seahawks years — in seeing time on just 37% of Las Vegas’ defensive plays. Although Wright did not miss a game last season, his snap count dropped from 991 in 2020 to 425. The Raiders have made a few changes on defense this offseason, hiring Patrick Graham as defensive coordinator and cutting Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski. No Wright-Raiders connections have emerged, and the 11-year vet shut any possible reunion down this week.

Parting ways with Wright and Wagner in consecutive offseasons, the Seahawks have fully rebooted their linebacking corps and are set to use an altered defensive system under DC Clint Hurtt. Former third-round pick Cody Barton is on track to join Brooks as an off-ball starter this year. If it comes down to a playing offer with another team or a coaching chance with the Seahawks, it will be interesting to see if Wright sticks to his guns as the season nears. The 2011 third-round pick has made 140 career Seahawks starts — eighth-most by a defender in franchise history.

It’ll hurt. I know that walking away from the game will be, you know, that that’s hard to do,” Wright said. “But [the Seahawks] know where I stand. But I love my family more than I love football. So I’m not willing to just up and go to a team midseason for five months. I got three kids and I love them way more than just up and leaving them to play some ball.

So we’ll see. Seattle knows my heart. It only makes sense for me to go back. And so we’ll see what they end up doing.”

Latest On Seahawks’ LB Situation

The most significant departure from the Seahawks this offseason was Russell Wilson, but the team also lost a future Hall of Famer at the middle linebacker spot. With that position being a significant talking point, analysis from ESPN’s Brady Henderson sheds light on the team’s 2022 plans. 

Especially with Bobby Wagner now in Los Angeles, the door would seem to be open for a reunion between the Seahawks and K.J. Wright. The 32-year-old has made it clear he wishes to return to Seattle“I just want to go back home” he said last month. “I think it’s that simple. Seattle knows that I want to come back. They know how much they mean to me.”

However, Henderson writes that while the two sides have “discussed a possible return”, general manager John Schneider has indicated that such a reunion “would probably be in a non-playing role”. Wright spent last season with the Raiders after a decade in Seattle during which time he was a key member of the ‘Legion of Boom’.

Assuming he doesn’t return to the field, that would point to Cody Barton assuming the starting role alongside 2020 first-rounder Jordyn BrooksThe 25-year-old has made 48 appearances across three seasons in Seattle, but only registered five starts during his tenure, including two in place of an injured Wagner last year. That is likely to change, given that the team didn’t sign a starting-caliber ‘backer in free agency, and elected not to draft one in April.

A Brooks-Barton pairing would represent a further turning of the page on defense for Seattle, a unit which will be led by new DC Clint Hurtt. If the former can build off of his highly productive season in 2021 (in which he made 184 tackles), and the latter can handle a starter’s workload, though, the absence of both Wagner and Wright could be mitigated.

K.J. Wright Eyeing Seahawks Return

Free agent linebacker K.J. Wright spent a season in a city other than Seattle for the first time in his NFL career last year, but he wants to avoid a repeat of that in 2022. When speaking with Pro Football Network’s Trey Wingo, the veteran expressed his desire to return to the Seahawks (video link). 

“I just want to go back home” he said when asked about his ideal scenario for the upcoming campaign. “I think it’s that simple. Seattle knows that I want to come back. They know how much they mean to me.”

Wright, 32, was a fourth round pick of the Seahawks in 2011. He went on to play 144 games with the team across 10 seasons, playing a part in the ‘Legion of Boom’ defense. Forming a tandem with Bobby Wagner in the middle of the unit, he provided consistent production, topping 100 tackles five times. In 2016, he earned his lone Pro Bowl appearance after totalling 126 stops and a career-high four sacks.

Last offseason, however, his time on the open market dragged into September. Wright maintained throughout the spring that he wished to remain in the Emerald City, but it became clear that the team was prepared to move on. As a result, the Mississippi State alum signed with the Raiders weeks after visiting the team. In Vegas, he took on a much smaller role in terms of playing time than he was used to, starting only eight of 17 games.

Now, Wright is again hoping to sign another deal with the Seahawks. The team released Wagner and didn’t draft a linebacker last weekend, but it remains to be seen if they would be interested in a reunion. If not, Wright may be willing to hang up his cleats for good.

“My family didn’t come with me [to Vegas]” he said. “I’m not doing that again. I don’t think I’m going to move my family anywhere across the country. If it’s not Seattle again, I’ll be happy. I’ll be content.”

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 12/31/21

Here are the New Year’s Eve additions and subtractions from teams’ reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

  • Activated from practice squad virus list: T Drew Himmelman, LB Barrington Wade

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Raiders To Sign LB K.J. Wright

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.

Raiders Host K.J. Wright

The Raiders are hosting K.J. Wright on a visit today (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). If all goes well, the former Seahawks linebacker could reunite with old pal Gus Bradley.

Wright spent the previous ten years in Seattle, standing as the team’s longest-tenured player. However, he’s been on the market all offseason as the Seahawks pivot towards top 2020 draft picks Jordyn Brooks and Darrell Taylor.

Wright has started at least 12 games in each of his pro seasons, save for 2018 when he dealt with a knee injury. He.won Super Bowl XLVIII with the Seahawks and even made the Pro Bowl in 2016. One of the last members of the legendary ‘Legion of Boom’ defenses of yesteryear, Wright could find a new home in Las Vegas.

He’s also expressed interest in rejoining another contact — Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn — but it’s not clear if there’s mutual interest. Ditto for the Seahawks.

Yes, there is a chance,” Wright said last month. “There is a chance, and I’m not closing the door on Seattle. Going into free agency, I thought it’d be a no-brainer, but they’re going to wait until training camp, so we’ll see. No matter what happens, my career in Seattle was just unforgettable.

Wright, 32, posted 86 tackles, eleven tackles for loss, and a pair of sacks in 16 starts last year.

Latest On LB K.J. Wright

K.J. Wright is still looking for his next NFL gig, and the veteran linebacker continues to hint that he could end up back with the Seahawks.

“Yes, there is a chance,” Wright said during an appearance on SiriusXM Radio (via Twitter). “There is a chance, and I’m not closing the door on Seattle. Going into free agency, I thought it’d be a no-brainer, but they’re going to wait until training camp, so we’ll see. No matter what happens, my career in Seattle was just unforgettable”

This isn’t the first time the 10-year veteran has suggested re-signing with the Seahawks, but the organization has continued to keep their distance as they pivot to their youth. The organization wants their top 2020 draft picks, Jordyn Brooks and Darrell Taylor, to become starters next to Bobby Wagner, who’s currently the NFL’s highest-paid off-ball ‘backer. Considering the date, it’s unlikely Wright would command a pricey contract, but there’s no clear role for him on the current squad.

On the flip side, the two camps have agreed to three contracts since Wright joined Seattle as a fourth-round pick in 2011, and he’s earned a Super Bowl ring and a Pro Bowl nod during his decade with the organization. The soon-to-be 32-year-old also continued producing in 2020, finishing with 86 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and a pair of sacks in 16 starts. It’s unlikely his career is over.

If Wright doesn’t land back in Seattle, it sounds like he’s ready to contribute to his next team. The veteran cited his versatility as a reason for why he’d fit in with practically any team.

“For me, I believe that it’s what a team wants from me,” Wright said. “I know what I provide to a team, I know that coming off my two best seasons after I suffered a knee injury – had my two best years, played phenomenal, switched positions…I know that I can go into a training camp, pick up the playbook, nice and easy…[and] go out to perform in any position that want me at.”

K.J. Wright Not In Seahawks’ Plans?

There’s been some back and forth all offseason, but it appears like things are close to being set in stone with outside linebacker K.J. Wright and the Seahawks. It doesn’t sound like he’ll be coming back for an 11th season in Seattle.

Pete Carroll said a couple of weeks ago the door was open for Wright to return, but Brady Henderson of ESPN.com writes that he’s not in the team’s plans. Wright has said since February that he wanted to return to the Seahawks, but not at a discount. However, Henderson writes the team’s decision is “only partly about money.”

Instead, it’s “mostly because the Seahawks want their top two draft picks from 2020”, Jordyn Brooks and Darrell Taylor, to become starters next to Bobby Wagner at linebacker in their defense. In other words, the team just wants to get younger on defense, which is understandable.

Wright is the longest-tenured member of the team, and has started at least 12 games in all of his pro seasons except 2018 when he dealt with a knee injury. However, the 2011 fourth-round pick will also turn 32 in July.

Wright won Super Bowl XLVIII with the team, and made the Pro Bowl in 2016. One of the last members of the legendary ‘Legion of Boom’ defenses of yesteryear, it sounds like Wright will need to find a new home if he wants to keep playing. He did say in late March he was interested in playing for the Cowboys, with his old defensive coordinator Dan Quinn now coaching in Dallas.

Door Open For K.J. Wright Seahawks Return?

K.J. Wright entered last season as the Seahawks’ longest-tenured player, but the team’s first-round Jordyn Brooks selection clouded Wright’s Seattle future. The 10-year veteran remains a free agent nearly three months since the 2021 league year began.

Probably the top off-ball linebacker still available, the veteran defender has seen some doors close in free agency. While it should be expected Wright will receive a chance before or during training camp, Pete Carroll indicated the accomplished outside linebacker could still be an option for the Seahawks, via John Boyle of Seahawks.com.

Although Carroll said the team is still finetuning its roster, the 12th-year Seahawks HC cautioned no signing should be expected to take place at least until the team goes through minicamp. Teams annually turn to the free agent market between minicamp and training camp, after viewing roster deficiencies during the offseason program. Wright would stand to help many teams, with Pro Football Focus slotting him as a top-10 off-ball ‘backer in 2020.

Wright, 32, said prior to free agency’s outset he would welcome the opportunity to finish his career in Seattle but added he was not prepared to take a hometown discount. At this point in the offseason, however, Wright will probably have to bring down his asking price. The news of the 2022 cap ceiling being $208MM should serve as a bonus for vets hoping to cash in, but teams have used most of their 2021 budgets by June. The Seahawks are also not expected to spend much between now and training camp. It may take a key injury for Wright to cash in on the level he did two years ago (two years, $14MM), and even that scenario likely will not produce a contract worth that much.

The sides have agreed to three contracts — Wright’s rookie deal, a four-year extension in 2014 and the most recent deal at the start of the 2019 free agency period — but the Brooks pick gave the team both the NFL’s highest-paid off-ball ‘backer (Bobby Wagner) and a first-round investment in the position. The Seahawks do not appear to be the most likely destination for Wright.