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'Hawks to prioritize Earl Thomas over Richard Sherman

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Not long after Super Bowl XLVIII, the Seattle Seahawks will start planning for their 2014 season. They already have a good idea on how they will attack things.

Can the Seahawks' historically stingy defense stop the Broncos' record-setting offense?

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NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday on NFL Network's "NFL GameDay Morning" that the Seahawks will re-sign standout pass rusher Michael Bennett. Signed on a low-cost, one-year contract last offseason, Bennett has more than earned a huge contract extension. He's been one of the better pass rushers in the entire NFC, and the key pass rusher on a deep Seahawks defensive line.

Bennett was set to be one of the top free agents on the market, so any deal to keep him would have to be significant.

Wide receiver Golden Tate also is set to be a free agent. Bennett is a bigger priority, but the Seahawks will try to bring Tate back if they have room for him. They might be too focused, however, on giving their premier players long-term contract extensions.

Rapoport noted that safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman both will enter the final year of their contracts in 2014. However, Rapoport noted that Thomas, not Sherman, will be the first priority for a big-money deal.

Sherman will get paid huge eventually, but prioritizing Thomas says a lot. We heard from many Seahawks this week that Thomas is the leader of this defense. He's the player that the team couldn't live without.

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