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LB K.J. Wright, pending UFA, says he won't take hometown discount to re-sign with Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Post-Intelligencer logo Seattle Post-Intelligencer 2/23/2021 Ben Arthur, Seattle P-I

Longtime Seattle Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright, who’ll be an unrestricted free agent next month, said on The Jim Rome Show that it would be a “beautiful story” for him to end his career with the Seahawks, but made clear he won’t be taking a hometown discount to do so.

“That would just be a beautiful story, if I could just ride it all out with the Seahawks,” Wright told Rome. “That’s some legendary type stuff. Like I said before, I believe that it would be a great investment for Seattle to keep me because as you’ve seen since I’ve been here, we’ve been nothing but awesome. Always making it to the playoffs. Winning our division. They know how much I wanna be here, but at the end of the day, I get it. I’m looking at the salary cap. They’ve got to clear some space and make things happen. They’ve got to get busy.

“I do way too much on the football field to take a discount,” Wright said. “That makes absolutely no sense.”

Wright, 31, is the longest-tenured Seahawk and one of the team’s most respected leaders, having just completed his 10th season with the franchise. And he’s still playing at a high level. Seattle’s longtime weakside linebacker, Wright moved to strongside this past season to help the team and had a second consecutive career year. In 2020, he was the only player in the NFL with at least 10 pass breakups and 10 tackles for loss. Wright had a career-high 132 tackles the year prior.

But as Wright alluded to, the Seahawks have a number of salary cap issues to navigate this offseason to make personnel moves. Seattle currently has just $4.39 million in cap space for 2021, according to OverTheCap.com, based on the projected $180.5 million salary-cap figure.

The 2021 salary cap floor will be $180 million. And while the final figure is not yet known, it will be lower than the previous year ($198.2 million for 2020) due to the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, putting teams in a tighter bind and creating job uncertainty for pricey veterans.

Cap casualties, trades and contract restructures are all on the table for the Seahawks in the coming months to create wiggle room. Then there’s the fact, too, that the franchise has more than 30 in-house free agents — unrestricted, restricted and exclusive rights — to make decisions on.

In response to a fan saying that “we probably saw the last of K.J. in Seattle” because Wright has no interest in a hometown discount, Wright replied on Twitter Monday by saying, “Not so fast my friend. There’s time to get creative.”

It’s just that Wright wants to be paid his worth in the market.

“If you want to win all these championships and look good on Sundays, you got to compensate your guys that are making plays,” Wright explained Rome. “Nobody (else) had double-digit TFLs (tackles for loss) and PBUs (pass breakups) in the NFL.

“I have a family and I’m trying to set up long, long-term success for my family.”

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