The veteran Seahawk is entering the final year of his contract.
K.J. Wright has long been easy to overlook on a Seahawks’ defense featuring some of the best-known players in the NFL of the last decade.
So maybe it only makes sense that his contract situation has likewise seemed to go under the radar this offseason when compared to some of his more high-profile teammates.
Like Earl Thomas, Wright is entering the final season of his contract — he’s due to make $7.2 million this season. And just like Thomas, there is no thought that an extension is coming anytime soon — Wright said Wednesday he has not talked to the team about his contract.
But unlike Thomas, Wright has not let that uncertainty change anything about his approach this offseason, showing up for all of OTAs and minicamp, healthy and active throughout.
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“I just want to control what I can control,’’ sad Wright, who like Thomas also turns 30 before next season (Wright’s birthday is July 23). “I want to get better I the offseason. I believe spring ball is a way to improve yourself and it’s my job to make sure that I build this chemistry with my defense and I want this defense to be good and I want coach (Ken) Norton to have a good first year (as defensive coordinator). I’ve always believed you control what you can control and what’s what I’m going to do.’’
But Wright, a Seahawk since 2011 and while Thomas is gone the longest-tenured member of the defense, said he’s not disappointed in Thomas’ holdout.
Wright said he has kept in contact with Thomas and said “I understand he wants what’s best for him and his family. At the same time, I would love for him to be here just to be able to practice and share what he knows so we could build that chemistry because come training camp it’s going to be time to fly. So I understand why he’s not here but I wish he was here to get better with everybody else.’’
As for his own expiring contract, Wright laughed and said “do they (the Seahawks) know that?’’ when a reported noted Wednesday he’s entering his last year.
“I want to be here, of course,’’ Wright said. “The Seahawks know that. Whatever they want to do, they’ll do. It’s my job to be the best that I could be, to make sure that K.J. and this defense is good. They know what it is and let’s get something done.”
The Seahawks, though, appear in wait-and-see mode with many of their contract situations at the moment, especially with veterans such as Wright, after an offseason of heavy retooling.
Seattle also drafted a potential replacement for Wright, and not just any potential replacement but maybe the team’s highest-profile draft pick, Shaquem Griffin. Griffin played several spots at Central Florida but the Seahawks are trying him at weakside linebacker, where Wright has been the primary starter since 2013.
“I love it, man,’’ he said. “He’s a rookie. He sits right beside me in the meeting room and he wants to learn. He’s very excited to get going. I was going over film (with him) this morning, just watching technique, how you should play, ‘Don’t line up right here, line up right here, even though the coach say so, just trust me on this.’ So it’ll be good. … It’s fun working with him.”
It might also seem awkward being asked to groom a potential successor.
But Wright says it’s all part of the deal. He recalled Wednesday the help he got from veterans such as Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane when he was a rookie in 2011.
“It’s my job to give everything that I have in me because I remember when Big Ben (Roethlisberger) was going off and not sharing stuff with his guys,’’ Wright said. “ … I’m going to share everything that I got. It’s the circle of life because if no one taught me, I wouldn’t be in the position that I am. It’s not a competition where I’m not going to share anything, because I’m going to be fine. Even if something were to happen, my career would still be okay.”
— There was nothing different from Wednesday in terms of players who were present with Thomas remaining away other than the team having signed linebacker Austin Calitro and waiving Dadi Nicolas.
— Tyler Lockett got what appeared to be a rest day meaning three of the team’s most veteran receivers were out — Doug Baldwin is also being rested and Brandon Marshall has yet to do anything during team drills with the team apparently resting him until training camp after he had surgery on his ankle and toe last fall. That again left young receivers to get the bulk of the work and one who took advantage to make a fair share of plays was Tanner McEvoy, one of a handful of players contending for the final one or two roster spots at receiver.
— Linebacker Joshua Perry, a 2016 fourth-round pick of the Chargers who was signed earlier this week, appears to be being used primarily at strongside linebacker.
— Byron Maxwell again was the starting right cornerback with Shaquill Griffin on the left side, which appears to be the team’s projected starting cornerback duo. Maxwell sat out OTAs but returned for minicamp.
— Frank Clark, who also sat out OTAs, is being limited in team drills due to a hamstring issue but got extensive work in position drills.