Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks’ two-deep roster

The defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks bring back several players who have been with the team during its recent run of success, but they have also added some new faces. Here’s a look at the 2015 opening day roster.

2014 record: 12-4, first in NFC West, NFC champions, lost in Super Bowl 49 to New England, 28-24. 2015 predicted finish: 12-4, first in NFC West.

Capsules by Gregg Bell / Staff writer

* STARTERS IN BOLD

QUARTERBACK

Entering his fourth season with a fresh new contract, Russell Wilson again leads the Seattle offense. (AP.) 
Entering his fourth season and fresh with a new contract, Russell Wilson again leads the Seattle offense. (AP.)

The skinny: Russell Wilson got his. Last month, Wilson received the payday and status he spent the entire offseason wanting: $87.6 million over four years, an average of $21.9 million per year that is second only to the $22 million annually Aaron Rodgers is receiving from Green Bay. He has the most wins through the first three seasons of a quarterback’s career in NFL history, and he’s the only QB to start two Super Bowls over his first three seasons in the league. His escaping, improvisational plays will again be a large part of the Seahawks’ passing game, behind a new offensive line that may not give him a ton of time to throw.

Backup: The Seahawks gave Tarvaris Jackson a free-agent raise of $250,000 up to $1.5 million for this year. He remains hugely popular within the franchise for starting and playing while injured in 2011, the year before Seattle drafted Wilson.

No.

Name

Height

Weight

Year

Hometown/College

3

Russell Wilson

5-11

206

4

Richmond, Va./Wisconsin/NC State

7

Tarvaris Jackson

6-2

225

10

Montgomery, Ala./Alabama State


 

RUNNING BACKS

Marshawn Lynch returns to the Seahawks with more guaranteed money and pal Fred Jackson on the roster. (AP.) 
Marshawn Lynch returns to the Seahawks with more guaranteed money and pal Fred Jackson on the roster. (AP.)

The skinny: The Seahawks don’t expect 29-year-old Marshawn Lynch, the league’s leading rusher since 2011, to play all the years left on his new two-year contract extension through the 2017 season. So they are doing all they can now to make him happy and content for another push to the Super Bowl this season. They gave him $5 million more guaranteed for this year, and have added his pal Fred Jackson from Buffalo as a new, Mike Robinson-esque wingman. Derrick Coleman is back as Lynch’s lead blocker after missing the final three months of last season with a broken foot.

The backups: Jackson was the Bills’ lead rusher dating from their 2010 trade of Lynch to Seattle through them releasing him last week — Buffalo now has LeSean McCoy to start. Jackson is a receiving ace out of the backfield who will take Robert Turbin’s role as third-down back after Lynch’s pounding runs on early downs; Turbin went on injured reserve. Christine Michael had undeniable talent but also fumbles, carries the ball in the wrong arm and misses assignments at times. That’s why Seattle traded him to Dallas on Sunday for a conditional draft choice. Will Tukuafu can also play on the defensive line. Thomas Rawls was a spring and summer surprise, running hard as an undrafted rookie who played at two colleges.

No.

Name

Height

Weight

Year

Hometown/College

24

Marshawn Lynch

5-11

215

9

Oakland/California

40

Derrick Coleman

6-0

233

4

Los Angeles/UCLA

22

Fred Jackson

6-1

216

10

Fort Worth, Texas/Coe

34

Thomas Rawls

5-9

215

1

Flint, Mich./Michigan, Central Mich.

46

Will Tukuafu

6-2

280

6

Salt Lake City/Oregon


 

OFFENSIVE LINE

With no Max Unger, former defensive lineman Drew Nowak takes over at center for Seattle. (AP.) 
With no Max Unger, former defensive lineman Drew Nowak takes over at center for Seattle. (AP.)

The skinny: The most scrutinized, most troublesome unit on the team. Three starters — 60 percent of the line — are in new spots as of just two weeks ago. Yet line coach Tom Cable thinks this could be the best line he’s had. Say whaaaaat? We’re about to find out. Drew Nowak is Max Unger’s replacement at center; Nowak was a college defensive tackle at Western Michigan four years ago, a practice-squad guard last season. New left guard Justin Britt was the starting right tackle as a rookie last season. New right tackle Garry Gilliam was a tight end for three of his four years at Penn State, yet was the best of the new starters in the preseason. Russell Okung at left tackle is in the final year of his contract. He and right guard J.R. Sweezy are the only holdovers from last season’s starting line. If they improve, the offense could take off. If they struggle …

The backups: Alvin Bailey returns as the “swing” guy who can play guard, tackle and even center. Yet he struggled out of the starting left-guard job in August. Patrick Lewis is the backup center after starting four games there for Seattle last season as an in-season pickup off Cleveland’s practice squad. Mark Glowinski is quick and athletic at guard. Kristjan Sokoli is Cable’s latest conversion project from the defensive line, where he played last season at the University of Buffalo. Sokoli is a guard now, but Cable drafted him to be a center.

No.

Name

Height

Weight

Year

Hometown/College

76

Russell Okung

6-5

310

6

Houston/Oklahoma State

68

Justin Britt

6-6

325

2

Lebanon, Mo./Missouri

62

Drew Nowak

6-3

292

4

Green Bay, Wis./Western Mich.

64

J.R. Sweezy

6-5

298

4

Mooresville, N.C./NC State

79

Garry Gilliam

6-5

306

2

Carlisle, Pa./Penn State

78

Alvin Bailey

6-3

320

3

Broken Arrow, Okla./Arkansas

65

Patrick Lewis

6-1

311

3

Reserve, La./Texas A&M

63

Mark Glowinski

6-4

310

R

Wilkes-Barre, Pa./West Virginia

67

Kristjan Sokoli

6-5

302

R

Bloomfield, N.J./Buffalo


 

WIDE RECEIVER

Rookie receiver Tyler Lockett has been explosive so far with Seattle, scoring three touchdowns in the preseason. (AP.) 
Rookie receiver Tyler Lockett has been explosive so far with Seattle, scoring three touchdowns in the preseason. (AP.)

The skinny: Maligned nationally for two years, this group has a rookie upgrade who has the potential to wow in Tyler Lockett. Doug Baldwin re-established himself as the team’s No. 1 receiver in October after Seattle traded Percy Harvin. Baldwin had two of his bigger games in his four-year career after Harvin exited, and set a career high with 66 catches during the regular season. This season he is likely to be both inside in the slot and outside as the Seahawks work the smooth, precise Lockett into three wide-receiver formations. Jermaine Kearse from Lakes High School in Lakewood had a career-high 38 catches in the 2014 regular season, remarkable grabs that helped beat Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game and got the Seahawks in position to almost win the Super Bowl. He could be a free agent after this season.

Backups: Lockett is more than just the new punt and kickoff returner. The third-round draft choice is the most polished rookie route runner and catcher Seattle’s had in years. He will get plenty of chances on third downs, especially if defenses focus on new tight end Jimmy Graham. Everyone remembers Ricardo Lockette for being Wilson’s target on the final offensive play of the Super Bowl, but if everyone stays healthy he shouldn’t be on the field during key situations this year. He made the roster again for his special-teams play. Chris Matthews had the first catches and touchdown of his career in the Super Bowl, and is the huge wide receiver Seattle needs to emerge. B.J. Daniels can be a third quarterback after converting this spring — somewhat begrudgingly — from wide receiver.

No.

Name

Height

Weight

Year

Hometown/College

89

Doug Baldwin

5-10

189

5

Gulf Breeze, Fla./Stanford

15

Jermaine Kearse

6-1

209

4

Lakewood/Washington

16

Tyler Lockett

5-10

182

R

Tulsa, Okla./Kansas State

83

Ricardo Lockette

6-2

211

5

Albany, Ga./Fort Valley State

13

Chris Matthews

6-5

218

2

Long Beach, Calif./Kentucky

5

B.J. Daniels

5-11

217

3

Tallahassee, Fla./South Florida


 

TIGHT END

The Seahawks traded Pro Bowl center Max Unger in the offseason to acquire red zone threat Jimmy Graham. (AP.) 
The Seahawks traded Pro Bowl center Max Unger in the offseason to acquire red zone threat Jimmy Graham. (AP.)

The skinny: The Seahawks have a weapon here they’ve never had. As in, ever. Jimmy Graham is the biggest offseason acquisition Seattle got to fix its red-zone touchdown troubles and improve what was the NFL’s least active passing game last season. The NFL’s most prolific receiving tight end the past three seasons was a power forward on the University of Miami’s basketball team, and his unique ability to box out defenders and leap for the ball could transform Seattle’s passing game — if the line gives Wilson time to wait for Graham to get downfield. That’s a huge “if.”

Backups: Luke Willson is as fast or faster than Graham. The Seahawks will use those two in far more two tight-end formations this season. Cooper Helfet, like Willson, can run. This position doesn’t have a prototypical beefy, blocking tight end for the running game, though.

No.

Name

Height

Weight

Year

Hometown/College

88

Jimmy Graham

6-7

265

6

Goldsboro, N.C./Miami

82

Luke Willson

6-5

252

3

Lasalle, Ontario/Rice

84

Cooper Helfet

6-3

239

4

Kentfield, Calif./Duke


 

DEFENSIVE LINE

Rookie defensive lineman Frank Clark spent a lot of time during the exhibition season in opponents backfield. (AP.) 
Rookie defensive lineman Frank Clark spent a lot of time during the exhibition season in opponents’ backfields. (AP.)

The skinny: Far healthier and deeper than it was at the end of last season. Seattle had a guy who’d been parking cars in South Carolina weeks earlier playing defensive tackle in the Super Bowl (Landon Cohen). End Michael Bennett isn’t thrilled with his contract but was flying around more than any defender in the preseason. He will go inside again to tackle to speed past guards and centers on obvious passing downs. Cliff Avril will be one rush end, and Bruce Irvin moves down from linebacker on passing downs to be a rush end again. Ahtyba Rubin takes over as the three-technique, gap-filling tackle after six years with Cleveland. He made Tony McDaniel a salary-cap casualty in August. Brandon Mebane, 30, says he feels like he’s 25 after getting in shape following a torn hamstring in November.

The backups: Frank Clark was at times unblockable in the preseason, especially inside next to Bennett as a fast defensive tackle on passing downs. The top rookie draft choice will get many first-team snaps. Jordan Hill is back from a calf injury that cost him last postseason, and he’s looking faster than he was before he got hurt. Speaking of speed, Cassius Marsh said this is the fastest he’s ever been after specialized training to heal a broken foot. Demarcus Dobbs can play end and tackle. David King, picked up at the end of last season, adds depth and more versatility.

No.

Name

Height

Weight

Year

Hometown/College

72

Michael Bennett

6-4

274

7

Alief, Texas/Texas A&M

56

Cliff Avril

6-3

260

8

Green Cove Springs, Fla./Purdue

77

Ahtyba Rubin

6-2

325

8

Pensacola, Fla./Iowa State

92

Brandon Mebane

6-1

311

9

Los Angeles/California

55

Frank Clark

6-3

272

R

Cleveland/Michigan

97

Jordan Hill

6-1

303

3

Steelton, Pa./Penn State

91

Cassius Marsh

6-4

254

2

Simi Valley, Calif./UCLA

95

Demarcus Dobbs

6-2

282

5

Savannah, Ga./Georgia

93

David King

6-4

281

3

Houston/Oklahoma


 

LINEBACKERS

Bobby Wagner, right, and K.J. Wright anchor a deep group of speedy linebackers in Seattle. (AP.) 
Bobby Wagner, left, and K.J. Wright anchor a deep group of speedy linebackers in Seattle. (AP.)

The skinny: The Seahawks gave Bobby Wagner the status he felt he deserved last month, making him the highest-paid inside linebacker with a $43 million contract extension and $22 million guaranteed. Wagner vows to continue playing like the best. When he was out for a month-plus last season, Seattle’s defense wasn’t the best in the league. When he returned, it was again. K.J. Wright had his best preseason. Bruce Irvin is more motivated than he’s ever been, even more than in 2012 when he was a questioned first-round pick. The Seahawks did not pick up Irvin’s $7.8 million contract option for 2016, so he can be a free agent after this season. He admits that is driving him.

The backups: Kevin Pierre-Louis had his rookie season end months early last fall because of a shoulder injury, but now he’s back as Seattle’s fastest linebacker. He will get many first-team snaps. Brock Coyle returns to back up Wagner in the middle and be a special-teams mainstay after making the team as an undrafted surprise this time last year. Mike Morgan made the team again for his special-teams work.

No.

Name

Height

Weight

Year

Hometown/College

54

Bobby Wagner

6-0

241

4

Ontario, Calif./Utah State

50

K.J. Wright

6-4

246

5

Olive Branch, Miss./Mississippi St.

51

Bruce Irvin

6-3

260

4

Atlanta/West Virginia

58

Kevin Pierre-Louis

6-0

236

2

Norwalk, Conn./Boston College

52

Brock Coyle

6-1

243

2

Bozeman, Mont./Montana

57

Mike Morgan

6-3

226

5

Dallas/USC


 

DEFENSIVE BACKS

There are a lot of questions in the Seattle secondary this year, with Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas returning from injuries and Kam Chancellor holding out. (AP.) 
There are a lot of questions in the Seattle secondary, with Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas returning from injuries and Kam Chancellor holding out. (AP.)

The skinny: “The Legion of Boom” isn’t the same. At least not to start the season. Thumping strong safety and team leader Kam Chancellor remained on his holdout entering September, meaning 2014 undrafted free agent and practice-squad player Dion Bailey is starting there. Byron Maxwell is gone to Philadelphia; Cary Williams is the next starting right cornerback. All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas will start the opener after not playing at all in the preseason. He had shoulder surgery in late February and is perhaps two months early in his return. Ah, but All-Pro Richard Sherman is back in his ballhawking, outspoken role at left cornerback. A consistent pass rush would help this unit even more than it has in the past three seasons.

The backups: Tharold Simon got exploited by Tom Brady and New England when forced by Jeremy Lane’s broken arm and knee injury into the Super Bowl. Simon came back in late August from shoulder surgery and could soon challenge Williams to start at cornerback. DeShawn Shead is valued as a cornerback, safety and special-teams standout. Steven Terrell could be endangered if Chancellor returns. Kelcie McCray arrived Saturday in a trade from Kansas City. His price, a fifth-round draft choice, suggests he’ll be playing a lot. He was a free safety and special-teams ace with the Chiefs, after a year each with Tampa Bay and Miami. Rookie Tye Smith played both cornerback and nickel inside during the preseason. Marcus Burley is the likely nickel to begin the season, after the release of veteran Will Blackmon.

No.

Name

Height

Weight

Year

Hometown/College

25

Richard Sherman

6-3

195

5

Compton, Calif./Stanford

26

Cary Williams

6-1

190

8

Miami/Washburn

29

Earl Thomas

5-10

202

6

Orange, Texas/Texas

37

Dion Bailey

6-0

211

2

Lakewood, Calif./USC

35

DeShawn Shead

6-2

220

4

Palmdale, Calif./Portland State

23

Steven Terrell

5-10

197

3

Allen, Texas/Texas A&M

33

Kelcie McCray

6-2

202

4

Columbus, Ga./Arkansas State

27

Tharold Simon

6-3

202

3

Eunice, La./LSU

28

Marcus Burley

5-11

185

3

Richmond, Va./Delaware

21

Tye Smith

6-0

195

R

Windsor, Conn./Towson


 

SPECIALISTS

Seattle’s kicking game will again be at the feet of kicker Steven Hauschka and punter Jon Ryan. (AP.) 
Seattle’s kicking game will again be at the feet of kicker Steven Hauschka and punter Jon Ryan. (AP.)

The skinny: Steven Hauschka’s range keeps growing. He made a 60-yard field goal to beat San Diego in the third exhibition game last month. He made a 65-yarder (albeit with a Lake Washington wind at his back) in practice in early August. He has made 74 of 82 field goals the past two regular seasons and postseasons. Jon Ryan added to his punting lore by competing in television’s “American Ninja Warrior” strength-and-fitness competition. How many punters do core-plank holds on their elbows during practices? Seattle re-signed Clint Gresham this offseason as a valued member of the Seahawks’ overlooked-but-hugely-important special teams.

No.

Name

Height

Weight

Year

Hometown/College

4

Steven Hauschka

6-4

210

8

Needham, Mass./N.C. State

9

Jon Ryan

6-0

217

10

Regina, Saskatchewan/Regina

49

Clint Gresham

6-3

260

6

Corpus Christi, Texas/Texas Christian

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