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Impact of the Las Vegas Raiders signing K.J. Wright

Las Vegas Raiders sign K.J. Wright
Aug 29, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker K.J. Wright (50) prior to the game against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

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The Las Vegas Raiders have left no stone unturned in an attempt to upgrade a defense that gave up nearly 30 points per game a season ago.

With their regular-season opener against the Baltimore Ravens mere days away, the Raiders have added their fourth former Pro Bowler on defense.

Multiple media reports indicate that Las Vegas has signed longtime Seattle Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright after having been linked to him for the past several weeks.

This could be an absolutely huge move for new Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who worked with Wright during their days together in the Pacific Northwest.

A fourth-round pick of the Seahawks back in 2011, Wright has been among the best linebackers in the NFL over the past decade. While he’s slowed down a tad recently, the Mississippi State product still has a lot left in the tank.

Las Vegas Raiders add another Pro Bowler on defense

las vegas raiders sign k.j. wright
Jan 3, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Seattle Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright (50) against the San Francisco 49ers at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier in the offseason, Las Vegas signed former Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens star pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue. This addition was pretty big in that it allows the Raiders to avoid relying on first-round bust Clelin Ferrell after two disastrous seasons to start his career. Ngakoue has recorded 96 quarterback hits and 45.5 sacks since entering the league back in 2016.

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The addition of cornerback Casey Hayward also helps what is a greenish secondary in Vegas. Like other veterans the Las Vegas Raiders have signed on defense, he’s past his prime. In no way does this mean Hayward can’t help, especially given the struggles of another first-round bust in Damon Arnette.

It was late last month that the Raiders brought in six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. He just made his debut with the team this past Sunday in Las Vegas’ preseason finale against the San Francisco 49ers and played pretty darn well.

What K.J. Wright means for the Las Vegas Raiders

las vegas raiders sign k.j. wright
Dec 15, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker K.J. Wright (50) responds to the Panthers offense during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Last week saw the Raiders acquire Denzel Perryman from the Carolina Panthers in a trade. The former Los Angeles Chargers linebacker will likely back up at the strong side position with Cory Littleton moving inside and Wright at the weak-side spot.

This is a major upgrade for a Raiders team that struggled big time at the linebacker position last season. Opposing tight ends caught 76 passes for 857 yards against Vegas a season ago. They also tallied an absurd 67% catch rate when targeted.

Wright has been among the better cover backers in the game over the course of his career. He’ll help the young safety tandem of Johnathan Abram and Trevon Moehrig. That’s no small thing with the likes of Travis Kelce and Noah Fant in the AFC West.

While there’s still concern on defense in Las Vegas, this move helps solidify what has been among the weakest spots on defense over the past several years.