K.J. Wright’s return to the Seattle Seahawks on a two-year, $15.5M deal was a pleasant surprise to many, particularly after Mychal Kendricks was also re-signed. Following an injury plagued season, Wright’s departure seemed inevitable, and so his return on a new deal was welcome, especially following the exodus of so many of his former teammates.
On Friday, Wright told Cliff Avril and Jason Puckett on KJR the details of his deal, which is essentially a one-year deal with a team option in 2020. Here’s how Wright broke it down:
K.J. Wright tells @cliffavril and @JasonPuckett20 on KJR that his two-year deal includes $8M for 2019, consisting of a $5M signing bonus, a $1.5M base salary and $1.5M roster bonus (not sure if a lump sum roster bonus or per-game). Said second year isn't guaranteed.— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) March 15, 2019
Former Field Gulls writer Evan Hill, currently of Hawk Blogger, broke it down further:
KJ is speaking in terms of cash flow — not cap hit (player vs team perspective). If signing bonus is $5M, it’s prorated to $2.5M each year.— Evan Hill (@EvanonHB) March 15, 2019
2019 SB ($2.5M) + 2019 $1.5M base + $1.5M Roster Bonus = $5.5M 2019 cap hit for KJ Wright
(Assuming there’s no missing details) https://t.co/YZy31wae2t
This is a great deal for the Seahawks. When Wright first returned in Week 8, he looked slow, and simply not right. At the time, it seemed incredibly unlikely that Seattle would re-sign Wright without seeing him return to form first.
When Wright returned a second time in Week 16, he was absolutely back to form. From Week 16 through the Wild Card round, Wright’s play was outstanding. However, there were likely still reservations about the Seahawks committing multiple years to him, and they avoided doing so.
This contract has not only little risk for Seattle, but makes a fourth contract between the Seahawks and Wright a possibility, should he stay healthy over the next two seasons. (This of course would be dependent on Seattle’s long-term plan at the position. If they draft a linebacker inside the top four or five rounds in this year’s draft, Wright may not even see the second year of this deal.)
Also–if Wright stays mostly healthy over the next two seasons, a fourth(!) contract with the Seahawks shouldn't be out of the question. His game will age well, it's just a question of whether his body will.— Alistair Corp (@byAlistairCorp) March 15, 2019
If Wright sees this new two-year deal through, he will be heading into his age-32 season. Not young, but Wright’s game is predicated on seeing the play develop early, not taking false steps, being in the right spot and finishing when he gets to the ball. That will age well, similar to Thomas Davis, who just signed a two-year, $10.5M deal with the Chargers ahead of his age-36 season. Now, it’s worth noting Wright isn’t the freaky athlete Davis once was, but as Davis’ athleticism has waned, his effectiveness has not. Davis is proof a cerebral linebacker can play well into his 30s.
The contract Wright signed with the Seahawks means he may do so as well—in Seattle.