Offseason Forecast: Seattle Seahawks


With the offseason officially underway, Around The NFL will examine what's next for all 32 teams. Next up: Seattle Seahawks.

What's changing?

With the offseason underway, Around The NFL explores what's next for all 32 teams.

AFC East:
AFC North:
AFC South:
AFC West:
NFC East:
NFC North:
NFC South:
NFC West:

Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who oversaw a historically great unit for two seasons, is now running the Falcons' operation. Will the transition from Quinn to defensive backs coach Kris Richard go as seamlessly as the one from Gus Bradley to Quinn?

Russell Wilson's bargain-basement contract has been a tremendous competitive advantage, allowing general manager John Schneider to sign impact free agents such as Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril. Now that Wilson is set to become the league's highest-paid player and Marshawn Lynch has been offered one of the NFL's most lucrative running-back contracts, the Seahawks will be forced to make tougher decisions in constructing their roster.

Biggest free agents

» CB Byron Maxwell: Speaking of difficult choices, Schneider has acknowledged Maxwell will be a hot commodity on the open market. Maxwell understands he's "the prettiest girl at the dance" coming off a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance. Will Quinn succeed in luring him to Atlanta to implement a new defense?

UPDATE: Maxwell told ESPN's Josina Anderson "I'm going to Philly," on March 8. NFL Media's Albert Breer confirmed Maxwell has informed his Seattle teammates he is set to join the Eagles.

» LB Malcolm Smith: With Bruce Irvin and K.J. Wright healthy, the surprising Super Bowl XLVIII MVP played just two snaps in the entire 2015 postseason. He's good enough to compete for a starting job on another team, perhaps the Falcons.

» DT Kevin Williams: The 34-year-old five-time All-Pro held his own at nose tackle after Brandon Mebane went down with a season-ending hamstring tear in early November. His best move is to sign another one-year deal to stay in Seattle and contend for another Super Bowl.

Other key free agents: O'Brien Schofield, James Carpenter, Tarvaris Jackson, Jeron Johnson

On the way out?

» TE Zach Miller: Among the NFL's most overpaid players in recent years, Miller is due a $2 million roster bonus coming off ankle surgery. Luke Willson's late-season emergence shifts Miller from necessity to luxury on a team that will be look to trim excesses.

» DT Brandon Mebane: Now 30 years old, Mebane is due $5.5 million coming off hamstring surgery. Although he drew well-deserved praise for his run-stuffing ability in 2013, the Seahawks played their best run defense of the 2014 season with Mebane on injured reserve.

What they need

If questionable speed and shaky route running render Chris Matthews to one-game wonder status -- as NFL Media's Gil Brandt suggests -- the top need is for a wide receiver with size. Malcolm Butler's Super Bowl-winning interception and Seattle's Week 11 loss at Kansas City shined a light on the need for a wide-bodied go-to target in the red zone. The Seahawks will also be in the market for a starting guard and defensive line depth, especially if Mebane is jettisoned and Kevin Williams isn't re-signed.

Offseason crystal ball

Wilson and Lynch will be rewarded for their work in lifting the Seahawks to a second consecutive Super Bowl. Lynch is under contract for another year, so he's not going anywhere regardless. That means the uber-talented Christine Michael will languish as a third-stringer for a third consecutive season. Keep an eye on middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who is another candidate for an extension.

Maxwell will go to the highest bidder, with Jeremy Lane and Tharold Simon likely competing for the starting job opposite Richard Sherman. The NFC champions are reloading, not rebuilding.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down the top 25 free agents and reacts to the latest news. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.