I don’t like writing more than one post in a single day, because I’m lazy like that. But, I don’t like to let these types of signings sit in limbo for a few days without comment, because then I’ll never get around to it (again, because I’m lazy like that). So, welcome to my
nightmare lesser of two evils.
K.J. Wright signed a 4-year extension, for $27 million. Seems like a reasonable amount of money and a reasonable amount of years for a good player who was looking at being a free agent at season’s end. This secures a core defensive player, helps set a baseline for what we can expect to re-sign Bobby Wagner for, and quite honestly has to be good for morale. I’m assuming, of course, that K.J. Wright is a well-liked, well-respected player on that team. The more of our core guys we’re able to reward with extensions, the better it is for team chemistry going forward. The Seahawks take care of their own. The leaders on this team who’ve already been extended have to like this, but more importantly, it sets a nice precedent for the players yet to be dealt with.
I’m not usually a fan of in-season signings, because you can probably expect in the next week or two to see K.J. Wright get blown up with an ACL tear or some damn thing (see: Palmer, Carson). I mean, was Wright’s value really going to go up all that higher if he played two more regular season games and however many playoff games? Unlikely. What he got today is probably what he would’ve gotten six months from now.
Then again, what the hell do I know? He’s a versatile linebacker who can play inside & out. He’s got range and speed to cover just about any tight end. He’s not the biggest play-maker in the world, but he’s sound fundamentally and really that’s all I’m looking for in a defense riddled with play-makers. Maybe some other team blows him away with some amazing offer. Either way, we’ll never know now. I just hope we don’t live to regret this. Seems unlikely, but again, see: Palmer, Carson.
We won’t know until the whole thing plays out, but I see this move as a net-positive. We locked down 3/4 of the L.O.B., we locked down Michael Bennett. We’re a few months away from locking down Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson. Throw K.J. Wright into the mix, and without Percy Harvin’s albatross deal looming over us, we might just have enough to keep Cliff Avril and (fingers crossed) Byron Maxwell. Keeping both might be a stretch, especially if we look to make an additional defensive-line splash in the offseason, but I’m just thinking off the top of my head here.
We were looking at upwards of $30 million in salary cap room going into next year before the Wright deal. He cuts into that some, but not a lot considering the first year is almost always a very small base with a larger signing bonus (spread out over the life of the contract, in this case, split up in quarters over four years). The two highest priority players are obviously Wilson and Wagner, but again, there should still be room in the 2015 cap for a little something extra, if the right guy comes along and tickles our fancy.
Top that off with guys we won’t necessarily need to extend. Like, Malcolm Smith for one, who I don’t think has played a single snap on the defensive side of the football in the last month or more. Remember our Super Bowl MVP? Yeah, he’s been totally phased out in favor of Bruce Irvin (who we’ll probably hold off until at least the final year of his deal before discussing an extension). And, while re-signing Maxwell would be pretty amazing, Tharold Simon’s high level of play doesn’t make it a total disaster if we let Maxwell max out his value elsewhere. In my opinion, extending Avril is probably our third-highest priority going into the offseason, which shouldn’t be a problem unless some other team really blows us out of the water.
But, I suppose those are conversations for another day. Today, we celebrate K.J. Wright. Many happy returns and so forth. Now, let’s go win a championship.