I miss football already.
That first weekend after the Super Bowl was tough, right? I can’t be the only one.
Given the potential physical carnage to the players, I know it’s wrong to wish the NFL season stretched further, as owners would like, but there’s a demand for it. I guarantee it.
It would really spruce up these dreary Februarys.
Yes, the combine is coming up, and then the draft and minicamps. Those are just hors d’oeuvres, really, a few tasty tapas to get us through the spring.
But at least those are something to write about and to read. And when you’ve been getting a steady diet of round-the-clock coverage from July through January, you get withdrawal symptoms in the absence.
I even miss the press conferences, especially Richard Sherman’s. When you listen to such an interesting guy for half the year and then suddenly disconnect, you start wondering how he’s doing.
I wish he’d do a weekly podcast on any topic of his own choosing. His press conferences are like those TED talks, and you come away entertained but also having learned something.
He never dodges a topic and can expand on any issue, dealing with everything from social injustices to diaper-changing techniques — perhaps quoting Kipling or Einstein along the way.
Maybe we should go back and collect tidbits and shape stories from press-conference comments that didn’t get into the paper at the time, the way radio shows present “Best Of” collections when the host is on vacation.
In the absence of such things, we are left to parse the dribbles of news from around the league, and assess their relevance to Seattle’s local team.
Monday, for instance, reports held that the salary cap is going up to $155 million or so per team.
It rises equally for everybody, so certain teams won’t benefit more than others. But players certainly do. And since the cap reflects overall league profits, it’s significant that it has gone up by seven-figure amounts (per team) for the third consecutive season.
So, the league is raking in money. How should the Seahawks spend their slice?
With the Bears cutting loose versatile veteran running back Matt Forte, he’s seen by many as a possible replacement for the presumably retired Marshawn Lynch.
Forte is older than Lynch, but still likely would be an expensive acquisition. For the right price he’d be attractive, but only in the context of his value mostly as a third-down back.
The real Lynch heir is already on hand in Thomas Rawls, at a bargain price. If he can return to form after a broken ankle, he’s going to be a star.
Of his six starts when he played whole games in replacement of Lynch, Rawls rushed for an average of 120 yards a game. Extrapolated over a full season, that’s just short of 2,000 rushing yards.
And that was his rookie season, in his first exposure to the NFL — just learning the business.
Given the rising cap space, can/will the Seahawks do anything to juice up the contracts of defensive end Michael Bennett or safety Kam Chancellor, two crucial players who consider themselves underpaid?
Chancellor held out last fall and remained a key element to the defense when he returned, although somewhat short of his best. Bennett came in on time and had his best season, reinforcing his value to the team. Will their approach make a difference in what happens now?
A larger issue is extending/rewarding players with years remaining on their contracts. It makes this worth watching.
Left tackle Russell Okung and linebacker Bruce Irvin are key free agents. Even with more money in the big pot, it’s likely that other teams will value them more than the Hawks do.
However, given what has to be an intensified focus on the Seahawks offensive line, keeping Okung might be critical in retaining veteran leadership on an unsteady unit.
Denver’s Super Bowl win over Carolina re-enforced the key to so many NFL games: teams’ capacity to protect their own quarterbacks while harassing the other teams’.
Where to direct additional cap money seems obvious, then: pass rushers and offensive linemen.
It would be a good topic for Richard Sherman to discuss. If only we could arrange offseason press conferences.