2015 NFL Preview: Seattle Seahawks

2015 NFL Preview: Seattle Seahawks

After advancing to back-to-back Super Bowls, the Seattle Seahawks are discovering success brings complications. Namely deciding which of their young stars are most deserving of lucrative contract extensions. In a world without salary caps, NFL franchises could pay everyone massive amounts of money, in theory. But the NFL isn’t MLB, which is a good thing. In the last three weeks, Seattle committed $43 million to All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner, and $87 million to two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson. That’s great for Wagner and Wilson, but bad for All-Pro safety Kam Chancellor, who is currently holding out of training camp awaiting his own extension. Making matters more challenging, they also watched much of their defensive depth exit in free agency. Here’s a preview of the 2015 Seattle Seahawks.

Outlook: It’s far from all doom and gloom. Along with Green Bay, Seattle remains a heavy favorite in the NFC race to Super Bowl 50. Wilson is entering his prime and has a brand new offensive toy to play with. The starting defense from top to bottom is still he league’s best, even if Chancellor’s holdout carries over into the regular season. However, Chancellor’s importance shouldn’t be underestimated, because his unique skill-set allows them to be inventive and aggressive. The offensive line is a bit suspect, and there is legitimate concern about Marshawn Lynch breaking down. That said, the ‘Hawks are poised to make another deep run into January.

Later, dude: Cornerback Byron Maxwell parlayed his 17 career starts into a huge 6-year, $63 million deal with the Eagles. He’s a solid cover man, but that’s an obscene amount of cash for a player with six interceptions in four seasons. All-Pro center Max Unger was shipped to New Orleans along with the 2015 first-round pick in exchange for a certain tight end and a fourth-round pick. Malcolm Smith, O’Brien Schofield, Tony McDaniel, and Kevin Williams were all productive bench reserves and part-time starters; replacing them in the rotation won’t be easy. Guard James Carpenter never lived up to his first-round pedigree, so he was allowed to join the Jets with a 4-year, $19 million contract.

Welcome aboard: That certain tight end is of course Jimmy Graham, who gives Wilson a top-notch go-to option, especially in the red zone. He’s averaged ten touchdowns per season since entering the league in 2010. Will Blackmon and Cary Williams bring experience to the secondary, although neither is coming off successful campaigns with the Jaguars and Eagles, respectively. Second-round defensive end Frank Clark was booted off Michigan’s team last November for domestic violence; if his head is screwed on right, he’s a capable pass rusher. Smallish rookie wideout Tyler Lockett has DeSean Jackson-like speed and return ability, and should pay dividends right away. Fellow rookie Terry Poole might be called upon early to start at guard if Alvin Bailey flops.

Over/Under wins – 11: The sting of last February’s Super Bowl defeat should keep the ‘Hawks motivated. The defense is stout and the offense appears to be improved with the additions of Graham and Lockett. The schedule is rough, but they are accustomed to getting opponents’ best shots.

Bet the Over