There’s no denying it – beyond the great team building done by the front office, the Seattle Seahawks have been fortunate to get this group at such a young age, which means there’s plenty of talent that came relatively cheaply, but won’t be like that for much longer, with contract extensions being a big part of the next offseason.
No one expected the Seahawks to come as such dominant and absolute winners from the Super Bowl, running all over the Denver Broncos from the first moment. It wasn’t just physicality that gave them the win: The Seahawks read the offensive passing schemes of the Broncos and cut them off whenever there was a chance or attempt from Manning to make a big play, hardly getting anything going when it came to the big plays.
While there are some big names hitting free agency, the Seahawks need to think about two names in particular: Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman. Sherman is up for an extension which he probably deserves, but any big deal given to him also means they need to consider what they do with Wilson, who is up for an extension in 2015. Success is great with young players, but the problem might be that a lot of them will become eligible for a big raise at the same time – the Seahawks can’t pay all of them.
The main issues needing solving? Giving Wilson better wide receivers to play with and improving the offensive line, which made life very difficult for Wilson and Lynch down the road. It didn’t show against the Denver Broncos whose pass rushing was decimated in the Super Bowl, but better teams in that category, especially in the NFC West, will become more and more of an issue when it comes to pass and run protection.
Michael Bennett becomes a free agent after only one season with the team, and he’s going to get a lot of money for more than just one season, which means around $7-8 million a year. The Seahawks, relying heavily on their four-man pass rush, can’t afford to start losing talented ones now. Golden Tate is also hitting free agency and although he hasn’t been very consistent in his time with the Seahawks, they are likely to keep him because they don’t want to bring in too many new faces. Walter Thurmond III is great to have at nickelback, but his next contract depends on how much they give Sherman, because he might be too much of a luxury and expensive to keep as a third option among the cornerbacks.
Names that are going to be elsewhere next season? Chris Clemons was huge in the Super Bowl, but he is 32 and his cap number is $10 million. Unless a contract change comes, the Seahawks won’t keep him around after a slow season. The same goes for Sidney Rice who hasn’t done much since coming from the Minnesota Vikings, and with a healthy Percy Harvin becomes redundant to the team. Zach Miller is a decent tight end, but not one worth $7 million a season, which means it might be goodbye to him as well.
The Seahawks are going to keep their defense mostly intact, which is the most important thing as they look towards another Super Bowl run and that special word: Dynasty. However, thinking about the next three seasons while making their financial decisions will guide them in the next few months, and a lot depends on how much Sherman and Earl Thomas get in their extensions.