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December 18, 2014 at 10:28 PM

Wrapping up the K.J. Wright signing

It was an unexpectedly big day at the VMAC today as the Seahawks took care of some business that it was tempting to think might wait until the off-season — extending the contract of K.J. Wright, who would have been one of the team’s key free agents.

Instead, he stays in the fold through 2018, joining Earl Thomas (through 2018), Kam Chancellor (2017), Richard Sherman (2017) and Michael Bennett (2017) as key defensive players who have all been re-upped or extended in the last two years.

The signing of Wright, and that it is simply the latest move by the Seahawks to keep their core together, was the focus of my story for the Friday paper.

Jayson Jenks, meanwhile, wrote about what Wright means to the Seahawks.

The key question for many now turns to what’s next.

As my story notes, priorities after the season will be extending Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner, who will not be free agents but who can be given extensions.

Seattle also will have a number of key free agents (you can find a complete list here), notably Byron Maxwell, Cliff Avril, James Carpenter and Malcolm Smith, while Jermaine Kearse will be a restricted free agent.

The salary cap can be confusing and most fans may simply want to know if it’s doable for Seattle to keep the likes of Wagner and Wilson.

The answer, according to Joel Corry, a former NFL agent who now writes for CBSSports.com and the National Football Post, is yes.

Corry said today that he had the Seahawks with about $32 million in salary cap space for 2015, assuming a cap of $142 million, when projecting the team’s top 51 players before Wright’s deal. “That’s still enough to do ¬†extensions and keep (Marshawn) Lynch,” he said.

Ah, Lynch. Recall that he is under contract for 2015, so technically no one has to do anything there. But there has obviously been a lot of conjecture about his future and where that leads. But in terms of just assessing the cap, there doesn’t appear any reason Seattle can’t keep him.

Chris Cluff of ChawkTalk notes, meanwhile, that Wright’s value appeared to go up as the season went on, one reason the Seahawks may have acted quickly now to get it done before he got to free agency. As Cluff details, ESPN’s John Clayton said Wright wanted $5.5 million but ended up $1.25 million a year more. So Seattle appears willing to spend what it wants.

Many project Wilson will get $20 million or so (Spotrac today estimated Wilson would get more than that, guessing he might get an average of $21.9 million over six years). Wagner could get $9-10 million. Seattle appears in position, and willing, to get those deals done.

The more uncertain situations will be the likes of Avril and Maxwell (Seattle is already paying big salaries to three defensive backs and may not want to go high for a fourth and has Tharold Simon in the fold).

The Wright signing, though, shows again that when Seattle really wants to keep a player, it does.

 

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