Seahawks 2019 Awards: Comeback Player of the Year
Following a season-ending loss in the NFC Divisional Round, the Seahawk Maven writing staff will be selecting award winners for the Seahawks successful 2019 campaign. To kick off award season, K.J. Wright showed he still packed a punch as Seattle's Comeback Player of the Year recipient.
This time a year ago, K.J. Wright thought his time in Seattle was coming to a close.
After all, the soon-to-be 30-year old Wright missed 11 regular season games with lingering knee issues and produced a career-low 23 tackles. Heading towards free agency, he didn’t see an avenue for him to return to the Seahawks, where he had spent the first eight years of his NFL career.
But much to Wright’s surprise, the Seahawks wanted Wright back after a strong showing in a 24-22 playoff loss to the Cowboys. The team offered the one-time Pro Bowler a two-year deal and he wasted little time signing it, keeping him in the Pacific Northwest.
The decision to retain Wright proved to be a shrewd move by general manager John Schneider and Seattle’s front office, as the veteran bounced back better than anyone could have anticipated. Playing in all 16 games, he finished second on the team behind Bobby Wagner with a career-high 132 combined tackles, 11 passes defensed, and two interceptions.
“That was my only goal this year,” Wright said after a season-ending loss to the Packers. “To prove, like my whole career, that I can stay healthy and I’m just thankful that the trainers had a plan, coaches did a good job. But I played at a super high level, broke my own records, and it was special for me.”
In addition to breaking several of his own personal single-season records, Wright also moved into third place in Seattle’s franchise record books for career tackles, trailing only Wagner and safety Eugene Robinson.
At the time of his re-signing last March, some speculated Wright’s new deal would ultimately be a one-year deal. He’s not due any guaranteed money in 2020 and choosing to waive him would create nearly $8 million in additional cap space. Eventually, Cody Barton is expected to take his place at weakside linebacker.
But after posting arguably his best season on an 11-win team during a sensational comeback season, there’s no doubt Wright still has plenty left to give the Seahawks and will be back in the fold alongside Wagner next season.