On Thursday morning, K.J. Wright agreed to a 2-year extension with the Seattle Seahawks that will keep him with in the Pacific Northwest through the 2020 season. While the guaranteed money is unknown, at max value Wright can earn up to $15.5 million. The contract registers as the 10th most lucrative on an annual basis amongst 4-3 outside linebackers, per Over The Cap, coming in at $7.75 million per year — a slight increase from the $6.75 million he’d received in the 2014 extension. Top earners like Kwon Alexander and Telvin Smith, both in the top 5 of average annual value, earn millions in the low double digits. K.J. Wright joins Kiko Alonso in the $7 Million Per Year Club, occupying slots 10 and 11 for highest paid at the position. It’s an appropriate sum for the aging Wright, coming off an injury plagued 2018 campaign. The recurring knee issue granted him just 5 starts. It’s likely he sees the field more often in 2019 with sufficient rehab this offseason, but these things can never be taken for granted.
The weakside linebacker is a perennially underappreciated talent, having just one Pro Bowl to his name (2016) . Wright regularly receives All-Pro votes, however, and it should be noted that in 2016 he actually earned votes at both outside and inside linebacker. In voting systems dominated by 3-4 edge rushers, Wright’s ability to garner appreciation as one of the NFL’s premier coverage backers is truly a feat.
From 2015 through 2017, Wright tallied 71, 70, and again 71 solo tackles to go with 3, 5, and 6 passes defended — respectable numbers for a player whose true value doesn’t necessarily register on the stat sheet. Although he might not always connect his hand with the ball while blowing up screen passes in the flats (an outcome that will not register as a defended pass on most stat sheets), his ability to be in the right place when the ball is in the air is as good as it gets. The Seahawks should count themselves lucky to have retained a vital piece of their stout defensive front.