K.J. Wright has $27 million new reasons to be smiling as widely as he was this afternoon before practice here in Renton.
"I had a number in my head," the Seahawks' fourth-year outside linebacker said of his contract extension the NFL team that drafted him in the fourth round in 2011 first began discussing with him this spring.
"They exceeded it."
When the Seahawks traded wide receiver Percy Harvin and his $11 million annual contract to the Jets in October -- and, more to the point, got out of Harvin's mega salary-cap hits in future years -- the Seahawks' idea was to re-up more of their core guys soon.
Wright has impressed the Seahawks with his selflessness playing primarily outside linebacker and then middle linebacker the last couple seasons when Bobby Wagner's been injured. Wright believes his deal -- after the post-Super Bowl contract extensions last offseason for Earl Thomas, Doug Baldwin and Richard Sherman, plus Kam Chancellor's following the 2012 season -- shows general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll are men of their word.
"They pretty much tell you how they are going to take care of and handle guys," Wright said. "It was my turn."
The next priorities: quarterback Russell Wilson and Wagner.
Wilson is playing the third season of his four-year, $2.99 million rookie contract signed after he was Seattle's third-round draft pick in 2012. The Seahawks are likely to move on an extension for the face of their franchise following this season, before that final 2015 season of his original deal. And he could command $15-$20 million per season, given he owns a Super Bowl ring and holds the NFL record for regular-season wins for a quarterback in the first three seasons of a career, 34. He just passed Dan Marino with last week's win over San Francisco.
Forbes this week detailed Wilson's new agent is in line for a windfall on a smaller scale of the quarterback's seemingly imminent one.
Wagner has proven himself this season to be one of the fastest, most instinctive and invaluable linebackers in the league. Once he returned last month from missing five games with a broken bone in a foot tendon and tore foot ligament, Wagner sparked the historic, four-game run of defensive stinginess the Seahawks are taking into Sunday's night showdown for the NFC West title at Arizona.
Wagner's rookie contract of four years and $4.3 million he signed after he was the Seahawks' third-round pick in 2012 ends after the 2015 season. Seattle is likely to act before that. The Seahawks are unlikely to want him to enter next season with only a final year under contract -- and with Wagner possibly becoming tempted to try free agency. The team knows his reputation around the league as being one of the NFL's top two middle linebackers is expanding almost by the week.
Wright's original, four-year contract with the Seahawks was due to end after this season. It paid him just over $2.5 million. He said the Seahawks first approached him this spring on a contract extension, but that as the season went on he began worrying maybe it might not happen. As the weeks passed he began considering what his worth might be on the free-agent market, though he says he always wanted to remain a Seahawk.
He said it wasn't until Tuesday, the day before he signed his new deal, that the worry it wouldn't get done subsided.
So what's going to be the first purchase with his new money, what could prove to be a 10-fold raise should he realize all of his non-guaranteed contract through the 2018 season, that is?
He says he is going to buy "my mama" Jacqueline Wright back in his childhood home in Olive Branch, Mississippi, an Infinity SUV or sedan. She's always wanted one or the other. He'd also like to buy her a new house, too, but the Infinity is what mom's wanted for years.