The Seattle Seahawks have been busy this offseason granting contract extensions, signing draft picks, and grabbing free agents like defensive tackle Kevin Williams. All the moves have been justified and are solid, but the linebacker position still needs to be addressed.
Linebackers Malcolm Smith, K.J. Wright, and Bobby Wagner are all set to become free agents in just a few years. Smith and Wright’s contracts will expire in 2015, and since the Seahawks have $7 million in cap room this year, extending K.J. Wright could be an excellent move to finish a great offseason of signings.
Smith, the Super Bowl MVP, might allow that title to go to his head when his contract expires. If so, he’ll surely try and go for a huge contract. When I look at Smith, I see a guy who was merely in the right place at the right time.
His interception returned for a touchdown in Week 17 against the St. Louis Rams was a ball thrown directly at his face. His interception that sealed the Seattle Seahawks’ NFC Championship win against the San Francisco 49ers occurred only because Richard Sherman tipped the ball to him.
The lollipop he caught for a pick in the Super Bowl was so easy that any idiot with adequate hand-eye coordination could have made the play. And as for his fumble recovery, he was again just in the right place at the right time.
So I say let him go if his ego is huge at the end of his contract. K.J. Wright deserves more attention anyway.
Wright is an excellent outside linebacker in a 4-3 system. Last season he racked up 80 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery. He was adept at holding the edge on running plays, and he was a lock in zone coverage. He’s a kind of unsung hero in the Seattle Seahawks defense. He just does his job, and while he may not get flashy interceptions or sacks or forced fumbles, he holds his section of the field.
His current contract has an average salary of only $631,500, and so a contract extension won’t be backbreaking financially.
I was a huge fan of Wright last season, and when he went down with his foot injury at San Francisco, I winced. Wright’s absence opens up the field for opposing passers, and running backs have better luck bouncing plays outside. With him extended, the edge of the line of scrimmage and Seattle’s pass defense will continue to be solid.