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K.J. Wright shares why Seahawks didn’t bring him back

Seattle Seahawks v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Just a single game remains in the 2021 NFL season, the Super Bowl matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals. Regardless of which team fans root for on Super Bowl Sunday, the offseason is right around the corner, which means it will be time to make some tough decisions and answer questions.

And when it comes to answering questions, Wednesday Mike Dugar, the beat writer who covers the Seattle Seahawks for The Athletic made available the most recent episode of his podcast, an interview with longtime Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright. The entire episode is fascinating and provides a ton of great insight into the Seahawks and the way they handle business.

There’s no need to recap the entire podcast and steal the thunder of Mike and his co-host, Christopher Kidd. That said, during the interview of Wright, one specific question that has been bugging Seahawks fans since last offseason was asked, and answered. Specifically, why didn’t the team bring K.J. back for the 2021 season?

The answer, for those who were convinced that the team was waiting to sign him until the regular season started or to keep him on the ghost roster as injury depth or whatever other narrative one hoped to be the case, Wright’s answer cuts directly to the core of the issue: the bear front scheme. In the bear front the Seahawks rolled out in order to slow the under center, wide zone attacks of the division rival Rams and San Francisco 49ers, the team’s personnel needs were different than they had been in seasons past. In particular, the bear front the team adopted functioned much more along the lines of a 3-4, needing just two off ball linebackers and two outside linebackers who functioned more like defensive ends.

Thus, instead of retaining Wright, the team used free agency to sign traditional defensive ends like Carlos Dunlap, Kerry Hyder, Benson Mayowa. It really was simply a case of ‘it’s not you, it’s us’.