Predicting Free Agent Landing Spots For K.J. Wright, Former Seahawks Stars

Several high-profile former Seahawks remain available on the free agent market and while one or two of them could wind up back in the Pacific Northwest, not all of them will be. Where will players such as K.J. Wright and Jadeveon Clowney land on their feet?
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After free agency opened with an initial bang on March 15 and ushered in a flurry of activity, things have slowed down to a lethargic crawl over the past week with the exception of a few notable trades.

Specifically, the Seahawks haven't made any additional moves signing outside free agents since agreeing to terms with defensive end Kerry Hyder on March 25. The team has done some work locking up its own players, including signing receiver Tyler Lockett and recently-acquired guard Gabe Jackson to multi-year extensions.

With less than a month until the 2021 NFL Draft, there's plenty of veteran talent on the market, including several high profile players who previously starred for Seattle. Now equipped with the salary cap space to make another move or two, could the organization look to bring back a few of these players in 2021?

Here's a look at four former Seahawks who remain unsigned, the odds of them returning to the team, and a prediction on where they will wind up next season.

K.J. Wright

2020 Stats: 86 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 10 passes defensed, one interception

Turning in arguably the best season of his 10-year NFL career, Wright made a seamless transition to the strongside linebacker spot starting in Week 3 and proved himself to be the most consistent defender for Seattle throughout 2020. He wrapped up the season as the only player in the league with double-digit passes defensed and tackles for loss while receiving a respectable 75.3 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. So why does he remain available on the market? Set to turn 32 years old in July, cap-strapped teams obviously haven't been willing to pay him what he perceives as market value earned with stellar play over the past two years due to his age.

Odds of Returning to Seahawks: 60 percent

Prediction: Wright has made his interest in joining the Cowboys and reuniting with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn known publicly, but after extending Tyler Lockett's contract, the Seahawks are now positioned financially to bring the franchise icon back for an 11th season. Look for the two sides to strike a deal before this month's draft.

Golden Tate

2020 Stats: 35 receptions, 388 yards, two touchdowns

Suffering to an extent from poor quarterback play in New York, Tate posted his worst season production-wise since his second NFL season when he caught 35 passes for 382 yards and three touchdowns for Seattle. Set to turn 33 in August, the former Notre Dame star's days as a 1,000-yard receiver are clearly behind him, but he still offers outstanding quickness and after the catch capability that would benefit numerous teams as a No. 3 receiver. This includes the Seahawks, who could use a versatile, experienced upgrade behind Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. The question is: would Russell Wilson be okay with him returning?

Odds of Returning to Seahawks: 40 percent

Prediction: To this point, Tate reportedly hasn't visited with any teams and his advancing age may force him to wait until after the draft to find a new home. He's not going to break the bank at this stage of his career, so Seattle shouldn't be ruled out as a possibility if the team doesn't sign Antonio Brown or Marquise Goodwin. But after whiffing on signing Juju Smith-Schuster, I think Kansas City will be ready to swoop in late and add the physical slot to an already-loaded arsenal.

Richard Sherman

2020 Stats: 18 tackles, one interception

Coming off an outstanding 2019 season in which he earned Second-Team All-Pro honors, Sherman battled a calf injury throughout 2020 and played in only five games as the 49ers missed the playoffs. Recently turning 33 years old and carrying a lengthy injury history at this point, teams have not been in a rush to sign the future Hall of Fame cornerback. But it is worth noting that he still performed well in limited action last season and at worst, he would provide a valuable veteran mentor who can still play at a high level as a starter in the short-term. With Shaquill Griffin and Quinton Dunbar both leaving and former teammates in Ahkello Witherspoon and D.J. Reed already in town, coming back to the Seahawks would be an intriguing scenario for both the player and franchise.

Odds of Returning to Seahawks: 25 percent

Prediction: There's no question the Seahawks could use reinforcements at cornerback after losing Griffin and Dunbar. Per reports, Sherman would be "open" to a reunion, but the biggest obstacle still comes down to price. If the five-time All-Pro is willing to settle for a bit less to play for a contender and wants to close out his career going full circle, then it remains a viable option. With his market in "slow motion," expect a team to come out of nowhere to sign him around the draft. For this exercise, I'm betting on Jon Gruden and the Raiders to come calling with a two-year deal.

Jadeveon Clowney

2020 Stats: 19 tackles, four tackles for loss, four pass deflections

After waiting months and months to make a decision on his next destination, Clowney turned down a final offer from the Saints and Seahawks to join the Titans on a one-year deal. Unfortunately, his track record of durability issues came back to haunt him again, as he played in only eight games before going on injured reserve and undergoing season-ending knee surgery. Making matters worse, he wasn't overly productive in those eight games, finishing with just six quarterback hits and zero sacks. Still only 28, Clowney will eventually find a landing spot, but like last year, there's a chance it doesn't happen until much later in the offseason and it won't be for anywhere near the money he made in 2020.

Odds of Returning to Seahawks: <1 percent

Prediction: If Seattle had not signed Kerry Hyder and/or re-signed Carlos Dunlap, the door would have remained wide open for Clowney to find his way back to the Pacific Northwest. But those two moves solidified a diverse, deep edge group offering a unique blend of experience and youth and the Seahawks simply don't need him. Once the dust settles, the Browns still look like the best potential suitor coupling the former No. 1 overall pick with Myles Garrett.