Seahawks' K.J. Wright weighs in on who the NFL's best linebacker is

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Lindsey Wisniewski
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K.J. Wright weighs in on who the NFL's best linebacker is originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

For nearly a decade, the esteemed linebacker tandem of K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner have been key cornerstones on the Seattle Seahawks defense.  

It’s why when asked by Peter Schrager of NFL Network about who the best linebacker in the league is, Wright made it clear he and Wagner have cemented their legacies as two of the league’s best.

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“I’m going with myself, that’s pretty simple,” Wright said. “I’m going to do this, 1a and 1b, me and Bobby how about that? What we’ve done in this league, put together a 10-year career, I’m comparing myself to the Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, we’ve done some legendary stuff in this league, so it’s been a joy to play beside Bobby. Bobby definitely going to be back, he advocated for me...

But when it’s all said and done, what we put together is going to be in the history books.

- K.J. Wright

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Wright, the Seahawks’ longest-tenured player, is set to hit free agency on March 17 after compiling 86 tackles, two sacks, one interception, and tying Jamal Adams with a team-high 11 tackles for loss in 2020.

He played out the final year of his two-year, $14 million contract last season, and made it clear he wants to return to Seattle, but not on a discount.

“I mean that would just be a beautiful story if I could just ride it all out with the Seahawks,” Wright told CBS Sports. “That’s some legendary type stuff.” I believe 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.”

“I do way too much on the football field to take a discount, it makes absolutely no sense. But I have a family and I’m trying to set up long, long term success for my family.”

Wagner is also one of the most prolific linebackers in the game. Over his nine-year career, the second-round pick in 2012 has made seven Pro Bowls, been named First-Team All-Pro six times, including in 2020, and has regularly led the Seahawks in tackles. Last season, he finished with 138 tackles and passed the milestone of at least 100 tackles for a ninth-consecutive season.

To say Wright and Wagner have been a key to the Seahawks success would be an understatement. The dynamic duo has consistently been in the conversation for the league’s best linebackers, as evidenced by PFF in 2021.

“The duo of Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright is as good as it gets,” PFF said. “Wagner is coming off back-to-back elite seasons with overall PFF grades of 90.8 in 2016 and 96.7 in 2017, while Wright has posted a grade of 80-plus in every season since 2011, including a career-high 89.5 in 2015. As the league becomes more dependent on nickel packages featuring only two linebackers, Wagner and Wright are perfect three-down players capable of playing both man and zone coverage while showing well against the run in the blitz game.”

Losing a long-time defensive starter and veteran presence in Wright would be considerable for the Seahawks, but the 31-year-old has already made his case for the Seahawks to bring him back in 2021.

The ball is now in Seattle’s court to decide whether he finishes out his career in a Seahawks uniform or not.