One of the Seahawks' top defensive players knew his unit would look different next season.
K.J. Wright, though, admits he couldn't envision how much personnel turnover would be coming.
In the past week, Seattle has cut ties with two mainstays of its vaunted "Legion of Boom" by releasing cornerback Richard Sherman and agreeing to trade end Michael Bennett to the Eagles. Two more cornerbacks — Jeremy Lane and DeShawn Shead — were cut, and three other veterans — tackle Sheldon Richardson, linebacker Michael Wilhoite and cornerback Byron Maxwell — could be poised to leave in free agency.
The changes may not end there, either, with the futures of end Cliff Avril and safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas in question as well.
This means that Wright, one of the NFL's top outside linebackers, will likely be one of Seattle's few familiar faces in 2018.
"It's been one of the toughest offseasons to deal with," Wright told co-host Bill Polian and me Tuesday night on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "Every year it's not fun when guys leave, but this has hurt pretty bad. You just didn't see that happening the way it did.
"It's a ruthless business. We know what we signed up for; however, it still doesn't make it easier."
The departures of Sherman and Bennett were especially painful on a personal level. Wright and Sherman, who subsequently signed with the 49ers, were both part of Seattle's 2011 draft class. Bennett joined the Seahawks via free agency in 2013.
Wright chuckled when asked how much he believes the chance to face the Seahawks twice in 2018 figured into Sherman's decision to join an NFC West rival.
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"I believe it had a little bit to do with it," Wright said. "I'm not mad at him. We're always competing to be our best. Whatever motivates Sherm to be at his best is going to pay off for him.
"Sometimes, guys do make decisions maybe (based upon) playing their old team. Guys always get hyped up about that. It's going to be fun to go against him. As soon as the news broke, I texted him and said it would be fun to do battle against him."
Wright also was effusive in his praise of Bennett not only as a player but as a team leader when the Seahawks received public blowback for select players not following national anthem protocol while attempting to make a social statement.
"Watching what he did off the field was just amazing," Wright said. "He stood up when things were going on with police brutality and the stuff he does with his football camp and the way he stepped up to lead this team whenever we faced controversy."
Besides having to replace all the talent, Wright said the Seahawks must now form camaraderie with new players and with backups being elevated to more prominent roles.
"You don't get mad or upset at management," said the 28-year-old Wright, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent himself in 2019. "It's just that when a guy leaves like Sherm, for example, you have to rebuild that chemistry with someone else."
Wright identified two potential emerging players in safeties Bradley McDougald and Tedric Thompson. Wright said the recently re-signed McDougald "is going to be tremendous for us" and pointed to Thompson having gotten "a few interceptions" off quarterback Russell Wilson during practice last season as a rookie.
"This is the NFL. A lot of guys are real talented," Wright said. "I believe we have people who will step up for us."
The Seahawks had better, because so many are stepping out.
Alex Marvez can be heard from 7-11 p.m. ET Wednesday and Thursday on SiriusXM NFL Radio.