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Is the Window Closing or Can the Seahawks Reload This Offseason for Another Super Bowl Run?

By Hayden Goldberg

The future of the Seattle Seahawks is up in the air. With their recent trade of Michael Bennett, and the release of Richard Sherman and Jeremy Lane, they have committed to a full-scale rebuild of the most dominant defense of the century. Between 2010 and 2012, John Schneider found multiple needles in haystacks, but was this luck or skill, and can it be repeated?

To stay competitive, Schneider’s purge is necessary.

The Seahawks are working with little cap space, and these three moves – the first of many – gave them approximately $18 million to work with this year, plus $21 million down the line. An additional $7 million for this season can be freed up if Cliff Avril leaves the team, either by release or retirement. This would give them approximately $37.6 million to work with this offseason, but the question is what do they do with it?

For starters, they need to re-sign their franchise quarterback. At first, this may not make sense as Russell Wilson has another two years left on his contract.

But, the way the quarterback pay scale in the NFL works is that whenever a good, healthy quarterback signs a new contract or extension, he signs the largest deal in the league, surpassing whoever previously held that title. Kirk Cousins is significantly more proven then Jimmy Garoppolo, and should top Garoppolo’s five-year, $137.5 million deal when he becomes a free agent on March 14. Drew Brees should top Garoppolo’s average annual salary ($27.5 million) in his new deal with the Saints. Next year, both Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers will sign extensions.

Rodgers will top Cousins. Ryan’s average annual salary will likely be similar to or larger than Breese’s. Wilson would be next in line, rightfully asking for upwards of the $30 million per year that Rodgers likely gets. This would put him firmly in a position to sign the largest contract in league history. By signing him to an extension now, the team may be able to save themselves upwards of $5 million per year in the future.

Secondly, the team needs to protect Wilson by investing in an offensive line; once and for all. Trading for left tackle Duane Brown in the middle of last season was a great move (albeit the team sacrificed a lot), and an offseason of reps will do wonders for their chemistry. He needs to be re-signed, as his contract only runs for one more year.

Justin Britt works at center and is signed for another three seasons, but after that, their offensive line is in shambles. Schneider needs to find lineman in the draft and free agency who will be able to (a) run around with Wilson when he scrambles and (b) block so that the team can actually run the ball. Since signing top free agents will cost significantly more money then the team has, the team needs to look for second tier lineman who will be significantly cheaper.

Finally, Schneider needs to rebuild his defense. If he does not succeed and the team fails to win another Super Bowl with Wilson at quarterback, his failed defensive rebuild will be the reason why. Already, he has acquired multiple players who will be future contributors: defensive lineman Frank Clark, Jarran Reed, and Nazair Jones and cornerbacks Shaquill Griffin and Justin Coleman.
This talent alone is not enough.

In the upcoming draft, one safety in particular stands out: Deshon Elliott out of Texas. A mix between Thomas and Chancellor, he is physical, embraces making big hits, and is quarterback of the defense. Van Smith out of Clemson is another possibility; versatile with good anticipation he fits the team’s scheme. To make sure he has some Legion of Boom veterans to mentor younger players, Schneider signed Bradley McDougald to a 3-year, $13.95 million-dollar extension on March 12.

Time will tell whether his rebuild pays off, but it will be necessary for the team to keep their window open and win another Super Bowl.

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