Posted February 04, 2014

What’s next for the Seattle Seahawks?

Seattle Seahawks
John Schneider and Pete Carroll could be set up for long-term success, but there are some bumps in the road. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

John Schneider (center) and Pete Carroll (right) could be set up for long-term success. (Chris O’Meara/AP)

After the Baltimore Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII, there were serious questions regarding the team’s ability to hold it all together. Defensive stalwarts Ray Lewis and Ed Reed would no longer be in the picture, and quarterback Joe Flacco was due to be given a mammoth contract — which led to the loss of receiver Anquan Boldin, his best target. The 2013 Ravens sputtered on offense, struggled to maintain their defensive presence, and finished 8-8. They missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

The 2014 Seattle Seahawks will not have the same types of questions to answer on the heels of their Super Bowl XLVIII win. They are the youngest team ever to win a Super Bowl, and they are a testament to the power of intelligent team-building. There are some who are already calling this team a dynasty in the making, and they do resemble two recent dynasties — the Dallas Cowboys of the early 1990s, and the New England Patriots in the early years of the new millennium. Both of those teams came together with the perfect coach, great personnel men, and an unyielding vision that took the NFL by storm.

But before we can estimate Seattle’s dominance over the next few years, it’s important to see where the work still needs to be done. To that end, here’s where the Seahawks stand as they go into the 2014 offseason.

Salary Cap

According to the calculations made by Overthecap.com, the Seahawks come into the 2014 league year with $2,201,197 in salary cap space and $907,367 in dead money. They’ve got two restructures or cuts right off the top, with receiver Sidney Rice ($9.7 million cap number) and defensive end Chris Clemons ($9.66 million cap number) as aging players who have not been as productive of late. Tight end Zach Miller is a $7 million cap presence in 2014, and though his stats would seem to be out of line, he’s a key blocker in Seattle’s frequent two-tight end packages. Defensive end Red Bryant has an $8.5 million cap hit, but given his importance to Seattle’s run defense, he’s not going anywhere.

Free Agency

The real payments come due in 2015 and beyond, when quarterback Russell Wilson, cornerback Richard Sherman, and safety Earl Thomas would be available on the open market. The team will do everything possible to lock Thomas up before, and Sherman is a similar necessity.

In the shorter term, head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider must make decisions on some key men. Receivers Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate are free agents, though Baldwin is restricted, which makes him the better candidate for a return. The Seahawks could very well send Tate on his way with Percy Harvin in the fold, though it’s known that some in the building see him as a huge priority. Defensive end Michael Bennett came in from Tampa Bay on a one-year deal and was absolutely dominant, doubling his value by playing well when asked to move inside to tackle at times. The Seahawks will almost certainly re-up with him. Right tackle Breno Giacomini is a coaches’ favorite because he plays hard, but he’s also penalty-prone and can be beaten inside and on the edge.

Other candidates for re-signing are defensive lineman Tony McDaniel, cornerback Walter Thurmond, kicker Steven Hauschka, fullback Michael Robinson, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, offensive lineman Paul McQuistan, and outside linebacker O’Brien Schofield. But the Seahawks have their core group for at least another season, and that’s on Schneider and the team’s front office, who have done an amazing job over the last four years.

Coaching Staff

Given Seattle’s all-time defensive performance in Super Bowl XLVIII and general excellence in that department over the last two seasons, it’s no surprise that defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was in the mix for several head coaching positions as jobs became open. He said that he would have taken the Cleveland Browns’ open position that went to former Jets and Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine had the timing been different. But after the Super Bowl win, Quinn told me that he’s learned an incredible amount from Carroll, and my sense is that he’ll be happy to let that process go another year. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has been named in some searches over the last couple of years, through he’s a more under-the-radar personality.

Line coach Tom Cable was the Oakland Raiders’ head coach from 2008 through 2010, though he hasn’t been outwardly interested in a return to that position anywhere else. Carroll has said that it’s a sign of his own success when his assistants go on to their own greater opportunities, and he’s not shy about helping that out.

Draft

From his Super Bowl post-game podium, Schneider was already talking about the draft work he and his staff had done when they were locked away in a New Jersey hotel during Super Bowl week. And there is still work to be done. The Seahawks need a better and more consistent presence at the guard position, and that goes for both sides. Line coach Tom Cable likes big guys with power who can still move in zone. Baylor’s Cyril Richardson, a mammoth man at 6-foot-5-inches and 348 pounds, could be a good fit at the end of the first round. In addition, the likelihood that Sidney Rice is out of the picture leaves the Seahawks in need of a bigger receiver who can pluck the ball down in red-zone situations. Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin and Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews would fit the bill. One thing’s for sure — Schneider and his crew will make unexpected decisions in the draft, and there’s a good chance they’ll pay off.

2014 Schedule

The Broncos have seen quite enough of the Seahawks lately — between the Super Bowl and a 2013 preseason tussle at CenturyLink Field, Seattle held the upper hand with a combined 83-18 margin of victory. But the Broncos will head back to the CLink in 2014 as the NFC West faces the AFC West and NFC East next season. Seattle will also welcome the Cowboys, Giants, Raiders and Packers to Seattle in addition to their own divisional opponents. They’ll travel to Philly, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, San Diego, and to the Carolina Panthers’ home turf.

50 comments
read.jk
read.jk

I'd be pretty happy with either Jordan Matthews or Kelvin Benjamin at WR. Cyril Richardson is a fast, intelligent beast. We can only hope.

GarySattely
GarySattely

Talking favorably about Seattle and you have not been fired yet? you must have some dirt on your bosses

bobbyg60
bobbyg60

Dynasty? Hah! They'll be lucky to get back to the SB, let alone repeat. Too many variables every season — from injuries to free agency to ???? — to make any sensible prediction.  Do they have the goods to make a stab at it? Of course. But dynasty? 

Puhhhhhh leeeeeze.

MichaelCorleone1
MichaelCorleone1

Dynasty?  Really?  Are you one of the writers who predicted the read option offense would revolutionize the NFL?  How'd that prediction work out for you?  As we speak the DCs for teams facing the Seahawks in 2014 are studying tape to figure out how to successfully attack the Seattle D.  The Legion of Boom may be this season's flavor of the month, but Jerry Glanville said it best, the NFL stands for "Not For Long."

Mech
Mech

Most people worry about SF in the division but Seattle has owned them at home while barely losing in SF. The real key is how the regular season plays out. Wilson has been an incredible player in the regular season, stumbling only because of the great pass rush of teams like SF and Arizona. I expect him to do the same and with Harvin this season he adds a real threat. The man is a blur when he has the ball, no defense can match that, the only way to defense Harvin is to get him immediately and that makes him a great threat to defenses even when he is just on the field. Carroll knows he needs to improve the offensive line, if that happens I see Seattle in another Superbowl blowout because the NFC is wayyyyyyy above the AFC right now.

troyhargens
troyhargens

Repeat is very Likely but Dynasty might be a stretch. Dynasty is 3 minimum

john300
john300

dynasty.... YEAH RIGHT. Pay your 2 safeties, your 2 corners, especially the thug that will command 15 million a year and make more than revis>Add to the fact that the qb needs to be paid either this year or the next and id say be lucky to win another superbowl in this decade. Dont forget the ridiculous amount of money you paid for the headache percy harvin.

ianlinross
ianlinross

My gosh, dynasty talk. My Packers of '96 were supposed to win multiple Super Bowls. As Ron Wolf said the next year, "We were just a fart in the wind."

Kevin O
Kevin O

Dougie, love your stuff and on KJR, but it is FILL THE BILL. Cliches ease the workload for deadline writers so are a necessary evil, (see what I mean) but if you use them please get them right. 

dbum
dbum

great team but what a half hazard breakdown of the teams offseason, especially on the player end, where the seahawks have some tough decisions to make. 


im sure theyll be alright though. if they get a solid guard and right tackle they will take a serious step upwards. they have enough cheap talented understudies at receiver and tight end (jermaine kearse and luke wilson) to deal if they loose rice and/or tate.

WilliamCross
WilliamCross

Haha! Dynasty? Can we let them win their division 2 years in a row first?

BigBlueJuju
BigBlueJuju

There's no way a team can be a "dynasty" anymore like the Steelers or Cowboys who won 3 or 4.  Free agency and the cap make it almost impossible.  

davidhd
davidhd

I think it's a complete wild guess at whether Seattle can win the NFC West next season, let alone another super bowl. Thing is though, I don't think Seattle has to keep all of its stars to make another run. Scheider and Carroll draft well enough to restock the cupboard a little each season, and there are still great players on the practice squad and bench that no one has heard of yet. I'm hoping they are smart enough to let some of the big names walk, rather than committing an insane amount of money that will hamstring them in the future. 


What's encouraging is that Kaepernick, while an incredible athlete, is an idiot, Sam Bradford is just a little above average, and Carson Palmer is old. Seattle, with Wilson, has the best QB in the division hands down. That will give them the edge next season and beyond, even if they lose a couple of big names here and there.

mschnupp82
mschnupp82

they seem to have a great front office and all but i think dynasty talk is a little premature. that division is really tough and i think san fran was watching that game knowing they were one play away from the super bowl, that should be some motivation. will be a great division to watch next year

Voiceover310
Voiceover310

It will be fun to watch and see if they can make another run next season. I think the "dynasty" talk is a stretch cause in the next two years they will have multiple players who are going to want to get PAID a lot more than they are making now. I definitely think Seattle is a threat to win it all again next season if they can stay healthy. 

George
George

sumbudy got exPOSED!!

arthur3
arthur3

Well done for the Seahawks. Now let's see them play New Orleans in New Orleans. The last 3 games have all been out there. The last time they played here was 2010 (34-19 loss). I would look forward to that game, and I think Payton would as well.

susan95946
susan95946

Seahawks are a great team, agreed, but they were one play away from watching the 49ers play in the super bowl. Both teams are cut from the same cloth, with a great defense and young, mobile QB. Don't talk dynasty until they can get by the niners in their own division, not to mention the Cardinals.

CBSwriter
CBSwriter

Depending on what Tate commands on the market, I see him gone. Tate is essentially Harvin-lite and they can't afford both down the line. Rice and Miller should both be cut and getting younger, more dynamic at TE (and WR to a lesser extent) should be a priority. It would also be nice to see them overhaul the right side of the oline as well by just letting Giacomini and McQuistan walk. Re-signing Bennett, Thurmond and McDaniel should be priorities. Baldwin is a lock to stay. The team will then need to focus on extending Thomas and Sherman to big deals, hence the need to cut Miller.

BK3365
BK3365

Seattle is the 4th youngest Super Bowl winner according to Sunday's broadcast. 

read.jk
read.jk

@GarySattely  Why would he not be able to speak positively about the SB champions? Is there some bitterness hanging around your neck?

read.jk
read.jk

@bobbyg60  So, what's wrong with thinking dynasty? Other teams have done it. For one thing, it's pretty commonly spoken that Seattle had the 4th or 5th best defense ever to play in a Superbowl, and that's still up for discussion.  They may not make it to the SB next year, most of the time teams don't. It's just the way it is. However, we've still got our core group coming back, so that should give us a better chance to repeat. Their defense is also still getting better and next year will only be Wilson's 3rd year in the league. Good luck to your team, though. If they play another year-seasoned Seahawks team, they're going to need it.

Shalaka
Shalaka

@bobbyg60  still got a little storm cloud over your head?  Funny.

unitcaptain11
unitcaptain11

@MichaelCorleone1   The read option was used twice as much in this past season by NFL teams compared to the 2012 season.  For the Seahawks, the read option is a play they use once in a while.  It's not their whole offense by a long shot.

read.jk
read.jk

@MichaelCorleone1  You're absolutely right, Mikey. Of course, Pete Carroll, and his coordinators also know this. What do you think he's going to do about it, just leave everything exactly the  way they did it last year? Of course not. The mark of good coaching is to put together a game plan so that nobody knows what you're going to do and that goes for each individual team you're going to face. Why do you think players spend hours watching film?

Frotoon
Frotoon

Somebody's jealous...

read.jk
read.jk

@troyhargens  Truly spoken, Troy. Let's just win the next SB and we'll see what happens after that. 

Mech
Mech

@troyhargens Dynasty is two in this day and age,,,,,, just my humble opinion, two hasnt been done for ten years.

read.jk
read.jk

@john300  You have no idea what you're saying, johnny. For one thing, Wilson doesn't get a pay raise until the end of next year. Our two corners, if we can't keep both of them, have extremely capable back ups who are still under contract. Same with our Safeties. This place is wallowing in talent. As for Percy Harvin; yeah, he's been hurt. But, it certainly didn't look like he was having a trouble on Sunday and he could have been there for the 49ers game if it wasn't for NO targeting the guy's head, 2 plays in a row and knocking him out of the game with a concussion - which has nothing to do with his hip (which is 100%, btw). Harvin earned his riches in that one game. 

troyhargens
troyhargens

@john300 Talk about a guy who knows nothing about the cap situation. Kam was extended last year, and can't even talk to Wilson about an early extension until.. Next year. Maxwell signed as well

read.jk
read.jk

@ianlinross  Ah...sorry about that, ian. I've always liked the Packers, too : ) Good luck next year.

read.jk
read.jk

@WilliamCross  I don't know, man. We won it in '11, came within a little red butt hair of doing it in '12 and took it in '13. Do you need more than that after we won the SB? Harsh.

read.jk
read.jk

@BigBlueJuju  Seems like everyone is under the same yoke, Big Blue. Given the level playing field, don't you think it's possible that a team can achieve that level of play? We'll see.

Kevin O
Kevin O

@davidhd  Agreed on Wilson as better than the division, but SF is the most talented team top to bottom. It is brutal having to play 6 games against physical opponents who are ready for you. The Hawks got through it by depth and Wilson's nimbleness. But it makes it tougher to go 13-3 and get home field. My guess is the Hawks go 11-5 and have to play a road game to get to another Super Bowl. I hope I'm wrong 

Kingfink1
Kingfink1

@arthur3, they won't have to next season (unless it's the playoffs), so so much for that.

john300
john300

@susan95946  

exactly and well said. Until you win the west on consecutive years and prove dominance this is more than likely a flash in the pan story .Dont get me wrong. Its a cute story. Seattle and there fans have won nothing, like forever. lol.  Their basketball team deserted them and noone wants to come and visit seattle because it rains 360 days a year. Id be excited about the win also. What else is there to do in seattle except watch football. Noone else to root for. Now go back to your underground dungeons seattle fans and gloat for 6 months. Come this fall youll once again be the niners little btch of the nfc.

pk_sea
pk_sea

@CBSwriter  Tate may be Harvin-lite, but he's way more durable. He took some monster hits this year and brushed it off. I'm worried about Harvin. He's like an Italian sports car. When he's working, he's a beast. The rest of the time, he's in the shop for repairs. 

MattHoward1
MattHoward1

@Mech @troyhargens  maybe 2 in a row and 3 in 4 or 5 years is good for "dynasty" consideration.  I don't know the last time someone did 3 in a row?  SF in the 80s?  But unless they win next year the whole conversation is sort of ridiculous, especially when they play in the same division as the 9ers, who are pretty damn close to being their equals (and AZ and even st. louis are playoff caliber teams).  

briwas101
briwas101

@read.jk @john300  


Hawk fan here, but in no way did Harvin "earn his riches" in the super bowl.


His salary is so high that he is being paid to have that type of game EVERY WEEK.


Even if you count the super bowl, Harvin's production for the season was worth LESS THAN ONE MILLION.


Besides, we already have a 22 point lead on the broncos when he got his TD, so its not like he won the game or turned the game around or anything.


Percy Harvin WILL go down as the worst trade in Hawks history, luckily we were still able to win the Super Bowl despite his outrageous salary and lack of production throughout the year.



Also, as for his hip, IT DOESN'T MATTER IF IT IS BETTER NOW.


Injury-prone people like Harvin always come up with a new injury.


By the time Harvin is forced to retire because he can't play more than 1 game a season he will have broken every bone in his body and suffered every injury that football players can suffer.


Wow, so his hip is better, but next year it will be his knees or his foot.


Get back to me when Harvin has more than 100 yards IN A SEASON with the Hawks.


Harvin isn't even one of the top 150 WRs in the NFL



Mech
Mech

@john300 @susan95946 Since Seattle came into the NFC west in 2002 they have won it 6 times while the 49ers have won it 3 times. I think that speaks for itself. Seattle has twice won the NFC Championship and won the Superbowl one of two times. SF has made one NFC championship and lost the Superbowl,,,,,, SO WHO IS THE NFC WEST KING - SEATTLE !!!!!!