With a little over a week before this year’s NFL Scouting Combine, I thought we should take our first look at the Seattle Seahawks 2013 roster.
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider are in good shape, with 61 players under contract, including 20 of 22 starters.
Unrestricted free agents include linebacker Leroy Hill, cornerback Marcus Trufant, defensive tackle Alan Branch, defensive end Jason Jones, offensive lineman Frank Omiyale, tight end Cameron Morrah, defensive end Patrick Chukurah and kickers Steven Hauschka and Ryan Longwell.
Projected restricted free agents for Seattle in 2013 include defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, long snapper Clint Gresham, receiver Deon Butler and safety Chris Maragos.
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QuarterbackNumber kept last season: TwoCurrently on roster: TwoAverage number kept since 2009: 2.75Lock: Russell WilsonOn the bubble: Matt FlynnComment – The Seahawks have Wilson under contract at a more-than-reasonable $3 million, four-year deal. Wilson is scheduled to make just $526,217 in base salary in 2013. Flynn is still owed $2 million in guaranteed money on a three-year, $19.5 million contract after making $8 million in total compensation while holding a clipboard in 2012. Flynn is scheduled to make $5.25 million in base salary in 2013. Seattle general manager John Schneider will listen to trade offers for Flynn. He doesn’t necessarily have to move Flynn, but it’s likely the LSU product will by plying his trade elsewhere in 2013. Seattle coach Pete Carroll said he would like a more athletic quarterback with a similar skill set to Wilson in the quarterback room.
Running backNumber kept last season: FourCurrently on roster: FiveAverage number kept since 2009: 4.25Locks: Marshawn Lynch, Leon Washington, Robert Turbin and Michael Robinson.Longer odds: Derrick Coleman. Comment – Lynch proved he wasn’t just playing for a contract last year, finishing with a career-high 1,590 yards during the regular season. However, Lynch did have trouble holding onto the ball, with seven fumbles, including two in the playoffs recovered by the other team. Turbin is a nice complement to Lynch because of his explosive burst in the open field, and played better in the second half of the year. Washington is heading into third year of a four-year deal that will pay him $2.5 million in total compensation in 2013. Washington turns 31 in August, but has held up pretty well and still performs at a high level as a returner. Wide receiverNumber kept last season: FiveCurrently on roster: NineAverage number kept since 2009: 5.0Locks: Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate.In the hunt: Jermaine Kearse, Charly Martin, Ben Obomanu, Phil Bates, Stephen Williams. Longer Odds: Deon Butler, Bryan Walters. Comment – In his third season as a pro, Tate finally emerged as the playmaker the team had hoped, finishing with a career-high 45 catches for 688 yards and seven touchdowns. And after surgery on both shoulders during the offseason, Rice played a full 16-game season for only the second time in his career, leading the team with 50 catches for 748 yards and seven touchdowns. The team’s leading receiver last year, Doug Baldwin, struggled with injuries in his second season. Baldwin finished with 29 catches for 366 yards and three touchdowns. Seattle could still use another speedy, downfield threat on the perimeter. At 6-5 and 208 pounds, Williams is an intriguing prospect.
Tight endNumber kept last season: ThreeCurrently on roster: FourAverage number kept since 2009: 2.75Locks: Zach Miller,Looking good: Anthony McCoy,In the hunt: Cameron Morrah, Sean McGrath Longer odds: Cooper HelfetComment – After finishing with a career-low 25 receptions in his first year in Seattle, Miller emerged as a favorite target of Russell Wilson. The Arizona State product finished with 38 catches for 396 yards and three touchdowns during the regular season. Miller also totaled 12 catches for 190 yards and touchdown in the playoffs. McCoy showed some explosiveness this season, finishing with 18 catches for 291 yards and three touchdowns. But McCoy still had trouble with drops at times. Don’t count out Morrah’s possible return to this team. When healthy, Morrah has the ability to stretch the field as a pass-catching tight end. Offensive lineNumber kept last season: 10Currently on roster: 10Average number kept since 2009: 10Locks: Russell Okung, Paul McQuistan, Max Unger, James Carpenter, Breno Giacomini, J.R. Sweezy.In the hunt: John Moffitt, Lemuel Jeanpierre, Frank Omiyale.Longer odds: Mike Person, Rishaw Johnson. Comment – The Seahawks stayed mostly healthy up front, and it resulted in the best performance from the team’s offensive line since 2007. Okung and Unger earned their first Pro Bowl appearances, and Unger had the additional honor of making the All-Pro first team. But this unit can get even better if offensive guard James Carpenter can come back from a knee injury fully healthy. Carpenter is a road grader in the run game, and if Seattle can pair him with Okung on the left side, the Seahawks could have one of the most dominant left sides in the league. Sweezy, a converted defensive lineman, actually started three games at right guard, exceeding expectations. The key for Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable is to continue improving the team’s depth up front, particularly at right guard.
Defensive lineNumber kept last season: EightCurrently on roster: 7Average number kept since 2009: 8.5Locks:Chris Clemons, Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane, Clinton McDonald, Bruce Irvin, Greg Scruggs.In the hunt: Jaye Howard, Alan Branch, Jason Jones. Longer odds: Dexter Davis, Patrick Chukwurah, Myles WadeComment – The Seahawks finished in the top 10 during the regular season against the run. However, the 167 rushing yards Seattle’s defense gave up against Atlanta in the playoffs will leave a bad taste in players’ mouths as they prepare for the offseason. Part of the reason for Seattle’s struggles defending the run is strong-side defensive end Red Bryant was playing with a torn plantar fascia in his foot for the second half of the season. After a strong first half, Mebane’s play tailed off as well.
LinebackersNumber kept last season: SevenCurrently on roster: 8Average number kept since 2009: 6.5Locks: K.J. Wright, Bobby Wagner, Malcolm Smith, Heath Farwell.In the hunt:Mike Morgan, Allen Bradford, Kyle Knox, Korey Toomer.Longer odds: Leroy HillComment – After losing leading tackler David Hawthorne in free agency, second-round selection Wagner did a nice job filling those big shoes. But Wagner has to get better in pass coverage and reading route combinations in his second season. Wright’s play also dropped slightly in his second season. Malcolm Smith came on in the second half of the year, as he challenged Hill for the starting weak-side, outside linebacker job. Knox, who spent the second half of the season on the practice squad, is a player to watch. Hill’s legal issues make him unlikely to return in 2013.
CornerbacksNumber kept last season: SixCurrently on roster: 6Average number kept since 2009: 5.75Locks: Richard Sherman, Brandon Browner, Walter Thurmond, Jeremy Lane. Looking good: Byron Maxwell, DeShawn SheadOn the bubble: Marcus Trufant, Ron Parker.Longer odds: Chandler Fenner.Comment – The Seahawks could be ready to move on from 10-year veteran Trufant, which means they will be looking for a nickel cornerback in free agency or the draft. Lane and Thurmond also are considerations to fill that role. Browner becomes a restricted free agent in 2014. Sherman’s contract can be renegotiated at the end of 2013, and he becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2014 season.
SafetiesNumber kept last season: FiveCurrently on roster: FiveAverage number kept since 2009: 4.25Locks: Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor.In the hunt: Jeron Johnson, Chris Maragos, Winston GuyComment – Along with Browner and Sherman, the Seahawks need to be thinking about new deals for Chancellor and Thomas. Chancellor will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2013 season, and Thomas’ deal is up in 2014. Both have been very productive players in the back end for Seattle.
SpecialistsSpecialists kept last season: ThreeCurrently on roster: ThreeAverage number kept since 2009: 3.0Locks: (P) Jon Ryan, (LS) Clint Gresham.On the bubble: (K) Steven Hauschka, K Carson WiggsComment: Seattle signed kicker Carson Wiggs to a futures contract as part of the team’s 80-man roster for the 2013 season. The Purdue product was with the team during training camp in 2012, and also was brought back for a tryout during the playoffs, with the Seahawks ultimately signing Longwell because of his postseason experience. Hauschka finished the season on the injured reserve with a calf issue, and will be an unrestricted free agent in March. Hauschka’s been very accurate during his two years with Seattle, finishing 49 of 57 (86 percent) in field goal attempts. But he’s just 3 of 8 from 50 yards or more while with the Seahawks. Wiggs has the stronger leg between the two kickers. Hauschka’s 41.4 percent touchbacks was No. 22 in the league last year.