Huard: K.J. Wright could have ‘a few more bucks’ coming his way from Seahawks
A major question surrounding the Seahawks this offseason has been whether or not the team will reunite with longtime linebacker K.J. Wright.
Wright, 32, had been the Seahawks’ longest-tenured player for a while as he’d been with the team since he was drafted in 2011. But after his two-year deal expired at the end of the 2020 season, Wright has remained unsigned despite being wildly productive the last two seasons.
The Seahawks currently have All-Pro Bobby Wagner and 2020 first-round pick Jordyn Brooks penned in at middle linebacker and weakside linebacker, respectively, but the rest of that position group a bit of a question mark, especially after this most recent preseason game.
2020 second-round pick Darrell Taylor, who was drafted as a defensive end, is the favorite to start at the strongside linebacker position, which Wright played in 2020. 2019 third-round pick Cody Barton is also back and has experience at all three linebacker spots. But the Seahawks’ depth there took a bit of a hit as third-year linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven tore his ACL on the opening kickoff of Seattle’s second preseason game. Now, fullback/special teams captain Nick Bellore is expected to be the Seahawks’ fifth linebacker.
But former NFL quarterback Brock Huard thinks that Burr-Kirven’s injury, as well as how one of Wright’s former defensive teammates handled free agency last year, may result in a Seahawks-Wright reunion for 2021. He shared his thoughts on the latest Brock and Salk Podcast for 710 ESPN Seattle.
“With the ACL and (Burr-Kirven) lost for the season now, I think this is K.J. looking at a couple opportunities – he made a visit to (former Seahawks defensive coordinator) Gus Bradley in (Las Vegas) with the Raiders (who run) a similar system and I think by all accounts (they told him), ‘We’d like to have you, but it’ll be a minimum deal with a lot of guarantees,'” Huard said. “And I think K.J. has looked at this and watched Jadeveon Clowney last offseason play chicken with the market and Clowney went unsigned … and eventually got some pretty good dough from the Titans, some pretty significant guaranteed millions of dollars.”
In case you don’t remember “Clowney Watch 2020,” Clowney, the former No. 1 overall pick, was traded to the Seahawks ahead of the 2019 season opener and played for the Seahawks that year while battling a core/groin issue. After the season, Clowney hit free agency and after a lengthy process and multiple contract offers, including from the Seahawks, he signed with the Tennessee Titans on a one-year deal after failing to secure a long-term megadeal that he sought at the start of free agency. But he still earned $12 million on the contract.
Huard thinks Wright, by waiting this offseason to sign, may actually be making more money than he would have had he signed already.
“I think K.J. has more than likely had some minimum offers on the table be it in Seattle or Vegas or others and he’s said, ‘Nah man. No. I was a top-100 player in this league and I had one of the most productive seasons of my NFL career last year. I transitioned and showed you positional flexibility. I was able to play some strongside and weakside (linebacker). I’m not playing for the minimum, get out of here,'” Huard said. “And I think he’s played a little chicken with the market and kind of stared at each other and now with Ben Burr-Kirven’s injury, that need has grown and more than likely there could be a few more bucks coming K.J. Wright’s way here in Seattle.”
Huard later added, “I think there’s going to be some movement over the next couple weeks and if that means a few more million bucks or a few more incentives for K.J. Wright to get in here, I think at this stage you have to make that move.”
Listen to the latest Brock and Salk Podcast at this link or in the player below.