NFC West: Seattle Seahawks

NFL Nation: 4 Downs -- NFC West

April, 10, 2014
Apr 10
10:00
AM ET
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Catch us if you can.

That’s a message the Seattle Seahawks could send out to the rest of the NFC West.

It is also something the San Francisco 49ers might say to the Arizona Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams. But the Cardinals and Rams might have a statement of their own: We’re coming for you.

By almost everyone’s estimation, the NFC West is the best division in the NFL. It includes a Super Bowl champion in Seattle along with a team in San Francisco that, arguably, came up one play short of reaching its second consecutive Super Bowl.

It also includes a team in Arizona that won 10 games, one of which was a victory at Seattle -- the Seahawks' only home loss in 2013. And there's a team in St. Louis that won two of its last three games to finish 7-9 while playing most of the season without starting quarterback Sam Bradford.

So the question heading into 2014 is whether the Cardinals and Rams are in position to catch the Seahawks and 49ers. Have Arizona and St. Louis closed the gap on what might be the NFL’s two best teams?

The Cardinals have been active in free agency, signing cornerback Antonio Cromartie, offensive tackle Jared Veldheer, tight end John Carlson, receiver/kick returner Ted Ginn, running back Jonathan Dwyer and offensive lineman Ted Larsen.

Clearly, the competition in this division keeps getting better.

The four writers who cover the division for ESPN.com’s NFL Nation -- Terry Blount in Seattle, Bill Williamson in San Francisco, Josh Weinfuss in Arizona and Nick Wagoner in St. Louis -- take a look at where things stand in the NFC West on four key topics. We also polled our Twitter followers to find how they viewed the issues.

First Down

The Cardinals have made significant moves in free agency. The Rams, aside from keeping Rodger Saffold, have mostly stood pat. Which is closer to the playoffs?


Terry Blount: This is a no-brainer for me. The Cardinals are a team on the rise with one of the NFL's best coaches in Bruce Arians. He took a 5-11 team and transformed it to 10-6 in one season. He was 9-3 at Indianapolis in 2012 while filling in for Chuck Pagano. Arizona was 7-2 in its last nine games and won three of the last four, with the only loss being 23-20 to the 49ers in the season finale. The Cardinals could become a serious challenger to the two-team stronghold of Seattle and San Francisco. However, I do believe the Rams will have a winning season if they can hold their own in the division games.

Nick Wagoner: It's hard to evaluate this without seeing what happens in the draft, especially with the Rams having two premium picks. Even then it would be unfair to judge right away. Still, I have to go with the Cardinals. They were trending up at the end of the season and patched a big hole with offensive tackle Jared Veldheer. Losing Karlos Dansby was a blow, but adding cornerback Antonio Cromartie to a talented stable at the position makes them better. The Rams, meanwhile, are clearly counting on a whole lot of in-house improvement and a big draft. Keeping Saffold was important (and lucky), but it seems risky to pin all hopes on a leap to the playoffs on a group of young players all making a jump at the same time.

Josh Weinfuss: Arizona is the easy answer, and that's not because I cover them. The Cardinals were 10-6 last season and the first team kept out of the postseason. All the Cardinals have done this offseason is fix deficiencies and plug holes. Their offensive line got markedly better with the addition of left tackle Jared Veldheer. Their wide receiver corps and kick return game were solidified with Ted Ginn, and they now have one of the best cornerback tandems in the league with Antonio Cromartie coming on board. General manager Steve Keim looked at what went wrong in 2013 and went to work on fixes. It should put the Cardinals over the playoff hump.

Bill Williamson: It has to be Arizona. The Cardinals were so close to making the playoffs last season. They would have likely been dangerous in the postseason too. I like the way this franchise is shaping up. It seems like it is well run and well coached. The roster is also getting deep. Carson Palmer will have to be replaced sooner or later, but the Cardinals are on to something. The Rams certainly have some nice pieces and are probably the best fourth-place team in the NFL, but they aren't close to matching what Arizona has going for it.


Second Down

The Seahawks and 49ers played for the NFC title in January. Any reason to believe either won't return to the postseason?


Blount: They were the two best teams in the NFL last season, and there's no legitimate reason to think they won't be among the best in 2014. Seattle has lost 10 players who were on the Super Bowl roster, but other than wide receiver Golden Tate, none of them were on the team's priority list to keep. The 49ers move into a shiny new stadium. The only question for San Francisco is the precarious relationship between coach Jim Harbaugh and team executives. Who knows what the future holds there, but it shouldn't matter on game day.

Wagoner: Aside from some debilitating injuries, it's hard to see how either team has taken a major step back. The Seahawks have lost some good players in free agency, but even those players seemingly already had replacements in place. Nobody does a better job of developing talent than Seattle. The Seahawks still have holes to patch on the offensive line and losing receiver Golden Tate is a blow, so there could be some hope the offense will regress. But the defense makes it all go, and it doesn't look like it's going to lose any of its most prized components. As for the Niners, they are the more likely of the two to take a step back, but it's hard to see them taking enough of one to fall out of the postseason. For most of their key free-agent losses they were able to quickly come up with a replacement as good or better than the player lost, and retaining Anquan Boldin says they are looking to make another run at the Super Bowl. Plus, they will have a fully healthy Michael Crabtree ready for the season. Until proven otherwise, these two teams remain the class of the NFC and probably the NFL.

Weinfuss: The only reason either of them won't make the playoffs in 2014 is because the Cardinals or Rams will take their place. The gap between the top and bottom of the NFC West has closed significantly this offseason, making the West much like the Southeastern Conference in college football; everybody will beat up on each other. It's likely the West, if it's anything like last season, can see three teams in the playoffs -- its champion and the two wild cards. If one of the teams between Seattle and San Francisco were not to make it, it's tough, but I think Seattle might slip. The Seahawks lost a significant part of their defensive line and will be going through a Super Bowl hangover. That's risky to deal with and still make the playoffs. On the other hand, San Francisco will be hungry from losing to Seattle in the NFC Championship Game.

Williamson: I believe these are the two best teams in the NFL. So it's difficult to fathom that either team won't find its way into the playoffs, barring major injuries. Arizona, though, could create an issue for the Seahawks and 49ers. The Cardinals are going to win a lot of games, so both Seattle and San Francisco have to be careful or things could get tricky. In the end, I can see all three teams making the playoffs. This is the reason this division is so intriguing and so fun: Every game is critical. There is just not much room for error. Look at the 49ers last year. They went 12-4, but a 1-2 start hamstrung them. They could never fully recover despite having a great overall regular season. The same intensity will be a factor in 2014 in the NFC West.


Third Down

Will Rams quarterback Sam Bradford come back strong from an ACL injury, and what effect will he have on St. Louis having its coveted breakthrough year?


Blount: I think Bradford will be fine as far as the ACL goes, but this is a make-or-break year for him in my view. Bradford was playing pretty well before his injury last year, but the verdict still is out whether he can be an elite quarterback. He enters this season with the best supporting cast he's ever had, but playing in this division with teams that emphasize physical defensive play makes it difficult to show improvement.

Wagoner: All indications from the Rams are that Bradford's rehab is coming along well and he's on schedule to make his return in plenty of time for the start of the regular season. He apparently had a clean tear of the ACL, but he has been rehabbing for a handful of months and should resume throwing soon. Bradford's healthy return means everything to the Rams' chances in 2014. Believe it or not, this is his fifth season in the NFL and, much like the team, this is the time to make some noise. The Rams attempted to open up the offense in the first quarter of 2013 with Bradford to miserable results. They switched to a more run-oriented attack in Week 5 and the offense performed better. Bradford also played better as the run game opened up play-action opportunities in the passing game. It will be interesting to see if the Rams choose to go a bit more balanced with Bradford at the controls or if they continue at the same run-heavy pace they played with backup Kellen Clemens. Either way, Bradford's contract has two years left on it. If he wants a lucrative extension, this is the time to prove he's worth it.

Weinfuss: Short answer, yes, Bradford will come back strong. Just look at how he started in 2013. He was on pace for a massive year statistically before he got hurt. If he can pick up where he left off, Bradford will return with a bang and show he's still one of the better quarterbacks in the league. As we've seen, a top-tier quarterback can be the difference between sitting idle in the standings and having a breakthrough year. With the talent that surrounds the Rams, with tight end Jared Cook, running back Zac Stacy and wide receivers Tavon Austin, Chris Givens and Austin Pettis, among others, Bradford may singlehandedly help close the gap between the Rams and the top of the NFC West.

Williamson: I have to be honest: I'm not a big Sam Bradford guy. I think he's just OK. Just OK doesn't cut it in this division, especially considering the defenses he has to play six times a season in the NFC West. He's serviceable, but he's not the answer. Given the state of this division, I cannot envision a scenario where Bradford is the reason the Rams become the class of the NFC West. I think they can get by with Bradford for the short term, but the Rams are going to have to start thinking about the future at this position much earlier than expected when Bradford was the No. 1 overall pick of the 2010 draft.


Fourth Down

If you had to start a team with either Seahawks QB Russell Wilson or 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, whom would you choose?


Blount: You must be kidding. Give me Wilson every time, every day in every situation. Yes, Kaepernick is 5 inches taller than Wilson. Is there really anyone left who thinks Wilson's lack of height matters? Wilson also is at his best in pressure situations. He lives for it. And he is a more polished person on the field, and off it, than Kaepernick. That's not an observation. It's a fact. But this isn't a rip on Kaepernick. You would be hard-pressed to find any 25-year-old as polished as Wilson. The 49ers can win a Super Bowl with Kaepernick, and probably will soon. But if I'm starting a team, whether it is in football or almost any other life endeavor, I'll take Wilson without a doubt.

Wagoner: Wilson. For those of us covering other teams in the division, it's hard not to admire what he brings to the table. He presents himself as the consummate professional, and even opponents praise him for his work habits, intelligence and ability. He's already got the Super Bowl ring, and it's easy to see how he could add a few more. He's not all the way there in terms of his potential either, and it's probably safe to assume he's just going to keep getting better as his career goes along. That's nothing against Kaepernick, who is a unique talent in his own right, but there aren't many young quarterbacks in the league worth choosing over Wilson.

Weinfuss: Russell Wilson would be my pick, mainly because of his poise and maturity behind center. Colin Kaepernick is undoubtedly talented, but I get the sense he still has a lot of growing to do as a quarterback. He's tough to bring down, especially in the open field, but when he's pressured in the pocket, Kaepernick seems to panic and I wouldn't want that in a quarterback. I also think Wilson, despite his physical stature, is built to last. He's heady enough to stay out of harm's way, and his poise in the huddle will go a long way in leading a team.

Williamson: I'd take Kaepernick. I know it's a tough sell right now, since Wilson's team has beaten Kaepernick and the 49ers three of the past four times they've met, including the NFC title game, and the fact that Wilson has won a Super Bowl. I respect the value of Super Bowl wins and believe quarterback is the most critical position in sports. I'm sure I will smell like a homer with the Kaepernick pick. But moving forward, I just think Kaepernick has a higher ceiling. I think he can take over games more than Wilson can at a higher rate. Players built like Kaepernick and as athletic as Kaepernick just don't exist. He is special. He works extremely hard at his craft and is well coached. I'd take him, and I wouldn't look back. This isn't a knock on Wilson. He is proven and is going to be great. But if I'm starting a team, I'm taking Kaepernick, and I bet more general managers would agree than would disagree.

 

Seahawks: Who's out, who's new

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
8:00
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Earlier this week, I went over the Seahawks' roster by salary-cap numbers. Here's a position-by-position look at how things have changed for the Seahawks since they won Super Bowl XLVIII -- who's gone, who was re-signed, who was added, and who is still undetermined:

Quarterbacks

Re-signed -- Backup Tarvaris Jackson returns on a one-year deal worth $1.25 million. He gives the Seahawks a better backup quarterback than most teams have, an experienced player who knows the offense and is highly respected by his teammates.

Running backs

Undetermined -- Fullback Michael Robinson. He's a free agent, but the Seahawks have made no effort to re-sign him and may be ready to move on with Derrick Coleman as the No. 1 fullback.

Wide receivers

[+] EnlargeTate
Troy Taormina/USA TODAY SportsThe Seahawks lost Golden Tate to the Detroit Lions in free agency.
Lost -- Golden Tate signed with the Detroit Lions.

Re-signed -- After releasing Sidney Rice for salary-cap reasons, the Seahawks re-signed him Wednesday to a one-year deal. The team also gave restricted free agent Doug Baldwin a one-year tender worth $2.2 million.

Added -- Taylor Price and Chris Matthews. Price is a complete wild card. He was drafted by New England in 2010 and signed with Jacksonville in 2011, but he missed the past two seasons with injuries. If he's healthy, he can fly; Price has been clocked at 4.4 in the 40-yard dash. Matthews could be that diamond in the rough the Seahawks are known for finding. He was the Canadian Football League's Rookie of the Year in 2012, but missed most of the 2013 season with injuries.

Tight ends

Coming back -- Starter Zach Miller had his contract restructured, which saved $3 million in salary-cap money and ensured the Seahawks kept him. Anthony McCoy, who missed last season with a torn Achilles tendon, re-signed a one-year deal worth $1.3 million.

Added -- The Seahawks signed Travis Beckum (6-foot-3, 245) to a one-year deal worth $730,000. Beckum, 27, spent four seasons as a backup with the New York Giants, but didn't play with any team in 2013. He played college football at Wisconsin.

Offensive linemen

Lost -- Starting right tackle Breno Giacomini signed with the New York Jets, and guard/tackle Paul McQuistan signed with the Cleveland Browns.

Re-signed -- Backup center/guard Lemuel Jeanpierre, who was a restricted free agent, agreed to a one-year deal worth $950,000. Jeanpierre played well last season when starting center Max Unger was out with injuries for three games.

Added -- Guard/center Greg Van Roten (6-foot-3, 305). He was released by Green Bay and signed with Seattle to a one-year deal with $570,000. He played two seasons for the Packers. Interesting side note on Roten: He's a University of Pennsylvania grad, which gives the Seahawks two Ivy League graduates. Receiver Bryan Walters, from Kirkland, Wash., graduated from Cornell. Seattle also signed guard Stephen Schilling, a Bellevue, Wash., native who spent three seasons with the San Diego Chargers. Schilling (6-foot-5, 310) played college football at Michigan.

Defensive ends

[+] EnlargeMichael Bennett
AP Photo/Kevin TerrellMichael Bennett had 8.5 sacks for the Seahawks in 2013.
Lost -- Red Bryant and Chris Clemons, who were released for salary-cap space. Both signed with Jacksonville.

Re-signed -- Michael Bennett returned for a four-year deal worth $28.5 million, with $16 million guaranteed. Keeping Bennett, who was the team's best defensive lineman last season, has been Seattle's biggest and best move of the offseason.

Defensive tackles

Lost -- Clinton McDonald, who signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent.

Re-signed -- Tony McDaniel agreed to a two-year deal worth $5.75 million. It hurt to lose McDonald, who had a breakout season in 2013, but keeping McDaniel helps because he's an excellent run-stopper inside.

Linebackers

Undetermined -- O'Brien Schofield. He signed with the Giants, but the deal fell through because he failed a physical from a previous knee injury. So Schofield still is a free agent, meaning he could return to Seattle if the price is right.

Added -- Mike Taylor (6-foot-2, 220) was signed to a three-year deal worth $1.5 million. He played college ball at Wisconsin and was Russell Wilson's teammate in 2011. Taylor was All-Big Ten in 2012, but had hernia surgery in March 2013 and wasn't drafted. He spent part of last December on the Seattle practice squad. The Seahawks believe he can be a quality special-teams contributor.

Cornerbacks

Lost -- Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond. Browner signed with New England and Thurmond signed with the Giants.

Added -- Phillip Adams, who signed a one-year deal worth $635,000. Adams made two starts and played in all 16 games last year for Oakland. But he was a member of the Seattle secondary in 2011. The Seahawks hope to reach a contract extension with Pro Bowl corner Richard Sherman, who is slated to be a free agent at the end of 2014.

Safeties

Lost -- Chris Maragos, who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Re-signed -- Jeron Johnson, who was a restricted free agent. Johnson missed most of the 2013 season with hamstring injuries. The Seahawks are working on a contract extension for All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas, who is slated to be a free agent at the end of 2014.

Special teams

Re-signed -- Kicker Steven Hauschka inked a three-year deal worth $9.1 million, a key move to keep one of the best kickers in the NFL.

Added -- Jorgen Hus, a long-snapper from Canada who will compete with veteran Clint Gresham for the job.

So here are the totals:

Players lost -- nine (Tate, Giacomini, Bryant, Clemons, McDonald, McQuistan, Maragos, Browner, Thurmond)

Undetermined -- Robinson and Schofield

Re-signed or restructured deals -- 10 (Rice, Bennett, Hauschka, Miller, Johnson, Jeanpierre, Baldwin, McDaniel, Jackson, McCoy)

Added -- eight (Taylor, Matthews, Price, Adams, Hus, Van Roten, Schilling, Beckum)
The Seattle Seahawks have the 32nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft after winning the Super Bowl. Selecting an offensive lineman, a wide receiver or a defensive lineman would make sense for the Seahawks.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.’s fourth 2014 NFL mock draftInsider is out on ESPN Insider today, and his choices are good ones for the Seahawks.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Here's a position-by-position look at how the Seattle Seahawks stack up on defense and special teams under the salary cap:

Defensive ends
Total cap charge: $17.2 million
NFL average: $12.8 million
Percentage of team cap space: 14.7
Biggest cap hit: Cliff Avril at $9.25 million
Biggest bargain: Greg Scruggs at $582,000
Bennett
Note: The Seahawks did the right thing by re-signing Michael Bennett, easily their best player on the defensive line last season. But they also had to release Chris Clemons and Red Bryant for salary-cap reasons. They tried to sign Jared Allen, but he got a bigger offer from the Chicago Bears. Look for Seattle to draft a defensive end, possibly in the first two picks if one they want falls to them. But the coaches are high on two young players who could step up. Scruggs missed last season because of knee surgery after a strong rookie year in 2012. Like Bennett, Scruggs also can play inside. And the Seahawks have high hopes for 2013 rookie Benson Mayowa, who they see as a pass-rush specialist. Bruce Irvin is listed as DE in the roster management system, but his $2.5 million should count among the linebackers.

Defensive tackles
Total cap charge: $9.5 million
NFL average: $9 million
Percentage of team cap space: 8.1
Biggest cap hit: Brandon Mebane at $5.7 million
Biggest bargain: Tony McDaniel at $2.1 million
Note: Seattle lost Clinton McDonald, who had a breakout season in 2013, to free agency when he signed with Tampa Bay. But Mebane is a rock inside and McDaniel is a quality run stopper. Jordan Hill was a bit of a disappointment as a rookie last year, but the man who may surprise people is Jesse Williams, the 2013 rookie who spent the season on injured reserve.

Linebackers
Total cap charge: $6.5 million
NFL average: $15.5 million
Percentage of team cap space: 5.6
Biggest cap hit: Heath Farwell at $1.7 million
Biggest bargain: Malcolm Smith at $656,000
Note: When your back-up middle linebacker is the highest-paid player in the unit on a Super Bowl winning team, you are getting bargain-basement prices on some darn good players. The Super-Bowl MVP (Smith) is working for pennies, comparatively speaking. As I said above, Irvin should count in this group, but it still would leave the Seahawks far below the league average. Bobby Wagner (who counts only $1.2 million against the cap) is one of the best middle linebackers in the league. K.J. Wright (at $1.6 million) performs at a consistently high level and can play outside or inside.

Cornerbacks
Total cap charge: $3.9 million
NFL average: $12.1 million
Percentage of team cap space: 3.4
Biggest cap hit: Richard Sherman at $1.5 million
Biggest bargain: Byron Maxwell at $673,000
Sherman
Note: Another area where the Seahawks get off cheap, but that will change soon. Sherman, the NFL's best cornerback, is in the final year of his deal. It will take over $10 million a year to keep him. Maxwell proved his worth last season when he got the chance to start, and he also is a free agent after 2014. The Seahawks lost Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond to free agency but still have a quality nickel back in Jeremy Lane. And Seattle is high on 2013 rookie Tharold Simon, who spent last year on injured reserve. But drafting a big cornerback is a good possibility.

Safeties
Total cap charge: $13.6 million
NFL average: $8.3 million
Percentage of team cap space: 11.7
Biggest cap hit: Strong safety Kam Chancellor at $5.8 million
Biggest bargain: DeShawn Shead at $570,000
Note: The Seahawks already spend way over the league average here with two of the best safeties in the NFL in Chancellor and free safety Earl Thomas, generally regarded as the best safety in football, but Seattle is about to spend even more. Thomas is in the final year of a contract that counts $5.5 million against the salary cap now. He is likely to become the first $10 million safety soon. The Seahawks are in the process of extending his contact and hope to have a new deal worked out before the start of the 2014 season. Seattle re-signed Jeron Johnson, who missed most of last season with hamstring injuries. Shead, who played well at the end of last season, can also play cornerback.

Kicker
Total cap charge: $1.7 million for Steven Hauschka
NFL average: $1.9 million
Percentage of team cap space: 1.5
Note: Great decision by the Seahawks to re-sign Hauschka, who was one of the league's best kickers last year. Hauschka got a three-year deal worth $9.1 million, but it's back-loaded and comes with $3.3 million in guaranteed money.

Punter
Total cap charge: $1.4 million for Jon Ryan
NFL average: $1.7 million
Percentage of team cap space: 1.2 percent
Note: Ryan is one of only three players still on the team (along with Mebane and center Max Unger) from the pre-Pete Carroll era. Returning punts against Ryan was almost non-existent in 2013. He isn't the longest punter in the league, but he has great hang time and gets a big boost from his coverage team, especially Lane, possibly the best gunner in the NFL.

Long snapper
Total cap charge: $1.3 million
NFL average: $709,000
Percentage of team cap space: 1.1
Biggest cap hit: Clint Gresham at $887,000
Biggest bargain: Jorgen Hus at $420,000
Note: The cap number here is misleading because one of these guys won't be on the team when the season starts. Gresham is one of the best deep snappers in the league, but he's expensive. The Seahawks signed Hus to compete with Gresham for the job. Hus is Canadian and good friends with Ryan.
In what has to be the most unusual situation this year as far as a player signing goes for the Seattle Seahawks, wide receiver Sidney Rice visited the New York Jets on Wednesday, but later signed a one-year deal to return to Seattle.

Terms haven’t been announced, but the Seahawks obviously wanted Rice back bad enough to outbid the Jets.

Rice sent out this tweet Wednesday night:

 

It appeared the Seahawks' chances of re-signing Rice were in jeopardy when he visited the Jets. But apparently Rice already had an offer from Seattle and simply was testing the waters.

Rice had a connection in the Jets organization with general manager John Idzik, who spent six years in Seattle as the vice president of football operations before taking the GM job with the Jets in January 2013.

But Seattle was able to work out a deal for Rice to return for 2014. He was released by the Seahawks on Feb. 28 for salary-cap reasons; he would have counted $7.3 million against the cap.

Rice missed the second half of the 2013 season after tearing an ACL in a game at St. Louis, but was given clearance by his doctor to begin running and cutting drills on Monday.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has said all along they were interested in bringing Rice back if the price was right. By re-signing the 6-foot-4 Rice, it could mean the Seahawks go in another direction with their early picks in the NFL draft next month -- possibly selecting an offensive lineman or defensive end.

Seattle brought in Indiana receiver Cody Latimer on Tuesday. Latimer has zoomed up the draft boards in the recent weeks and is seen as a late first-round or early second-round pick.

Rice, 27, caught 15 passes and scored three touchdowns before his injury last season. He caught 50 passes for 748 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012.
If the Seahawks hope to re-sign wide receiver Sidney Rice, they may have to outbid the New York Jets for him. Rice visited with the Jets on Tuesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

Rice has a connection in the Jets organization with general manager John Idzik, who spent six years in Seattle as the vice president of football operations before taking the GM job with the Jets in January of 2013.

Rice was released by the Seahawks on Feb. 28 for salary-cap reasons. He would have counted $7.3 million against the cap. He missed the second half of the 2013 season after tearing an ACL in a game at St. Louis, but was given clearance by his doctor to begin running and cutting drills on Monday.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has said they were interested in bringing Rice back, but the price may become too high if the Jets have a serious interest in him.

Rice, 27, caught 15 passes and scored three touchdowns before his injury last season. He caught 50 passes for 748 yard and seven touchdowns in 2012.
Owners of the No. 32 and final pick in the first round of this year's draft by virtue of the team's first Super Bowl win, the Seattle Seahawks still can get a player who can help them defend their title in 2014.

Seattle could use another playmaking receiver, along with help at cornerback and defensive and offensive line to replace players who left in free agency.

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay's fourth 2014 NFL mock draft is available at ESPN Insider, and his selection for the Seahawks should help fill the void at a positional need.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

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RENTON, Wash. -- Now that it’s official Pete Carroll will coach the Seahawks for three more years, here's a big-picture question for you: Will Carroll go down as one of the all-time great football coaches?

The opportunity is there for him, something no one could have imagined 15 years ago as a failed NFL coach who was heading back to the college ranks.

That was then and this is now. Carroll has a new contract and is coming off a Super Bowl victory, taking over a 5-11 Seattle team and winning the championship four years later.

Carroll is here to stay with the Seahawks, probably until his coaching career is over. That really wasn't in doubt, but it was a done deal Friday when the team announced a contract extension that keeps Carroll as the head coach in Seattle through the 2016 season when Carroll will be 65.

Maybe Carroll walks away at that point. Maybe he takes a different role in the organization. Or maybe he signs another extension and keeps going. It’s up to him. For now, three more years was what he wanted.

No financial numbers were revealed, but this extension likely is north of $7 million a year, keeping Carroll among the highest-paid coaches in the NFL.

"I'm going to outlast David Letterman," Carroll joked on Friday. "That’s good to know."

Letterman announced he’s retiring in 2015. Not Carroll. He has more to prove.

[+] EnlargePete Carroll
AP Photo/Matt SlocumPete Carroll took over a 5-11 team in 2010 and made them Super Bowl championships in his fourth season in Seattle.
Has he proved enough to rank with the best? Carroll already has done something only two other coaches have done in winning a Super Bowl and a NCAA championship (at USC). Only Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer accomplished the feat before Carroll.

So what will be his legacy when the next three years are done? Does he deserve mention among the best to ever walk the sidelines?

“Absolutely,” said Seahawks general manager John Schneider. “There’s no doubt about it. He’s special. With what he’s accomplished as a football coach, especially with the way he was in professional football, then found his way and did it his way.

“Pete's football success stands for itself. But what people don’t really know is how special the man is. He truly cares about individuals and has a huge heart. He’s a low-ego guy who has created a very positive, fun culture here in Seattle.”

Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett, who signed a new, four-year deal with the Seahawks last month, attended the news conference Friday. Bennett was asked where he rates Carroll among all the coaches he’s ever played under.

"He's No. 1, without a doubt," Bennett said. "The philosophy he has is a winning philosophy. It's everything, from the way he treats people to his knowledge of the game and his ability to get the most out of each guy."

Others will reserve judgment of Carroll's legacy, and some USC fans will always feel Carroll jumped ship when it became obvious major sanctions were coming.

“I love my time at USC and being part of that wonderful school,” Carroll said. “But I always knew there was another challenge out there. I never thought there would be a situation [in the NFL] where they would trust us to do the things the way we needed to do them to get the job done.”

That happened in Seattle and the rest is history. Now the challenge is whether Carroll can keep the Seahawks playing at a high level, as he did at USC. If he does, no one can argue he belongs on that elite list of coaches.

ESPN did a SportsNation question Friday asking if Carroll would win another Super Bowl at Seattle, and 65 percent of the voters said yes.

"We're in the middle of something very special here," Carroll said. "There is no reason to think we did this one time and that was it. We're in the middle of a great opportunity with great young players like Earl [Thomas] and Richard [Sherman] and Russell [Wilson]. It gives us a chance to be a leading organization and to build something really special.”

Signing a contract extension with Carroll also gives the Seahawks a better chance at keeping the players they need to keep. Thomas and Sherman (who love Carroll and love playing for him) are free agents after the 2014 season, but the team is working on extensions for both players.

"We're trying to take care of our core people and keep our young players together," Schneider said. "But where do you start? You start at the top."

That part is done. The future looks bright for the Seahawks and Carroll.

"In every phase, we want to do it better than it's ever been done before," Carroll said. "Someday we will look back and say, 'Here's what we did.' But for now, it's not what you just did. It's what are you going to do."
The NFL announced Thursday the schedule for the three-phase offseason workouts for each team. Here are the dates for the Seattle Seahawks:

April 21 to May 5 -- Two weeks of activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation.

May 27-29, June 2-3, June 5 and June 9-12 – Organized Team Activity (OTA) workouts.

June 17-19 – Mandatory minicamp.

The offseason workouts are done in three phases. Phase One is the strength and conditioning workouts.

Phase Two, over three weeks, can include on-field workouts, along with individual player instruction and drills, as well as team practices conducted on a separate basis. No live contact or team drills involving offense vs. defense are permitted.

In Phase Three, over the three weeks that starts May 26, teams may conduct a total of 10 days of OTAs. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

Additionally, clubs may hold one mandatory minicamp for veteran players.
The NFL announced Thursday the schedule for the three-phase offseason workouts for each team. Here are the dates for the Seattle Seahawks:

April 21 to May 5 -- Two weeks of activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation.

May 27-29, June 2-3, June 5 and June 9-12 – Organized Team Activity (OTA) workouts.

June 17-19 – Mandatory minicamp.

The offseason workouts are done in three phases. Phase One is the strength and conditioning workouts.

Phase Two, over three weeks, can include on-field workouts, along with individual player instruction and drills, as well as team practices conducted on a separate basis. No live contact or team drills involving offense vs. defense are permitted.

In Phase Three, over the three weeks that starts May 26, teams may conduct a total of 10 days of OTAs. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

Additionally, clubs may hold one mandatory minicamp for veteran players.
The Seattle Seahawks have the 32nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft after winning the Super Bowl. Selecting an offensive lineman, a wide receiver or a defensive lineman would make sense for the Seahawks.

Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.’s Grade A 2014 NFL mock draftInsider is out on ESPN Insider today and his choices are interesting for the Seahawks.


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As almost everyone knows, the Seahawks have taken a hit in free agency, losing seven players from the Super Bowl-winning team -- wide receiver Golden Tate, offensive linemen Breno Giacomini and Paul McQuistan, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond, and safety Chris Maragos.

They also released three veteran players -- defensive ends Chris Clemons and Red Bryant, and wide receiver Sidney Rice -- to make salary-cap space for other players they wanted to keep.

That's 10 players from the 2013 team that are gone. Most of changes were no surprise because the Seahawks have to look ahead to big-money deals coming for free safety Earl Thomas, cornerback Richard Sherman and quarterback Russell Wilson.

But looking at the defections from a statistical standpoint, it's clear the Seahawks will need to find a significant amount of production elsewhere.

Here's how it break downs in total from the 10 players who left, just counting the 2013 regular season.

On offense:

79 receptions
1,129 receiving yards
8 touchdown receptions
4 starters: WR Tate, RT Giacomini, OL McQuistan (started 14 games), Rice (6 games)

On defense:

142 tackles
12.5 sacks
30 quarterback pressures
21 passes defensed
3 interceptions
2 fumble recoveries
2 forced fumbles
4 starters: DE Bryant (15 games), DE Clemons (11), CB Browner (8), CB Thurmond (3)

On special teams:

51 punt returns
585 punt-return yards
10 tackles
1 fumble recovery

It's daunting, but some answers for those numbers are already on the team. Percy Harvin should have receiving numbers in 2014 that exceed what Tate had.

Byron Maxwell, who played lights-out down the stretch last season, was going to start at right cornerback no matter what Browner and Thurmond did.

The Seahawks lost out to Chicago on free agent defensive end Jared Allen, but the coaches have high hopes for young defensive linemen Greg Scruggs and Benson Mayowa. It's also likely the Seahawks will move linebacker Bruce Irvin back into more of a pass-rushing role.

Losing McDonald hurt the middle of the defensive front, but 2013 rookie Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams (who spent last season on injured reserve) could replace what Seattle lost in McDonald.

And the Seahawks have high hopes for 2013 rookie offensive linemen Michael Bowie and Alvin Bailey. Seattle also is expected to pick an offensive lineman early in the draft next month.

The Seahawks still are a team with enormous depth and quality athletes across the board.

Seahawks sign CB Phillip Adams

March, 27, 2014
Mar 27
8:15
PM ET
The Seahawks have added some depth in the secondary by signing free-agent cornerback Phillip Adams to a one-year deal, NFL.com reported Thursday evening

Adams (5-foot-11, 195 pounds) spent the past two seasons with the Oakland Raiders, but he was on the Seahawks' roster in 2011, playing in one game. He played college football at South Carolina State and was a seventh-round draft choice by San Francisco in 2010.

Adams, 25, played in all 16 games for Oakland last year, finishing with 30 tackles and one fumble recovery.
video Jared Allen was right all along. The veteran defensive end made two trips to Seattle and came close to reaching an agreement with the Seahawks, but deep down, he believed he was worth more and could get more money elsewhere.

He was correct. Allen agreed to a four-year deal for $32 million with the Chicago Bears on Wednesday. It includes $15.5 million in guaranteed money. That’s more money than the Seahawks were offering in the total deal.

Allen
Seattle was willing to pay Allen between $12 million and $13 million over two years. The guaranteed money probably was around $8 million. Allen and his wife, Amy, made a second trip to Seattle last week, usually a good sign that a deal will get done, but the Allens surprisingly walked away.

Allen said he wanted to think about it. His agent, Ken Harris, said Allen was considering other offers. But no one knew of any better offers that were on the table, so most people assumed Allen would still sign with the Seahawks or possibly retire, as he had threatened earlier.

Allen believed a team would step up and value him more for what he has done in his career -- double-figure sacks in each of the last seven seasons.

He patiently waited for a better deal, and it came from the Bears on Tuesday night. Allen will replace Julius Peppers, whom the Bears released March 11. Peppers was scheduled to make $14 million in 2014, and he counted $20 million toward the salary cap.

Chicago signed former Oakland defensive end Lamarr Houston to a five-year deal for $35 million, so it appeared Chicago was done on the defensive end search. Signing Allen was a surprise, especially to the Seahawks.

Less than 30 minutes before the announcement was made Wednesday morning, Seattle coach Pete Carroll said he was still waiting to hear from Allen.

Even with the signing of Houston, the Bears had money to spend, more money than Seattle. Two days ago, Carroll said the Seahawks were limited in what they could offer because they were looking to extend other contracts.

He didn’t mention any names, but it’s clear Carroll was talking about free safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman, who will be free agents at the end of the 2014 season if extensions aren’t worked out.

Allen’s decision wasn’t just about money. Two other things factored into it. One is playing time. Allen has played more snaps than any defensive end in the NFL over the last five years.

He turns 32 next month, but he doesn’t want to be a situational player. Allen would have been part of a rotation in Seattle with Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett.

Sources also said that Allen’s wife was not enamored with Seattle in her two visits and didn’t like the city. Really? Maybe she was here on a couple of typical rainy and gray winter days, but enjoy those winters in Chicago.

The best thing the Seahawks had to offer Allen was a chance to play for a team that just won the Super Bowl and has a good chance to return. The Bears were 8-8 last season and believe they can contend for a playoff spot this season. It also gives Allen a chance to play twice a season against his former teammates in Minnesota.

So Allen walked away from Seattle’s offer and got what he wanted. The Seahawks offered what they could, and it wasn’t enough. But the bottom line for Seattle remains the same in looking ahead to the big-money deals to come for Thomas, Sherman and quarterback Russell Wilson.
Don't be too concerned about Kam Chancellor's upcoming hip surgery. This is not a Percy Harvin situation.

Chancellor
Harvin
The Seahawks strong safety plans to have minor hip surgery in the next few weeks, a source told ESPN's John Clayton Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings in Orlando.

This is not a new problem. Chancellor talked early last season about how he sympathized with Harvin because Chancellor played through a similar hip issue in 2012.

But Chancellor said his injury was far less severe than Harvin's torn labrum, which required major surgery in early August and included a four-month recovery before the Seahawks receiver returned. And Harvin still had issues with his hip that kept him out until the playoffs after returning for only one game.

Chancellor's hip issues returned late in the 2013 season. He did not practice several times during the playoffs, but Chancellor started all 19 games last year.

It isn't known what the recovery time will be once Chancellor has the surgery, but it's unlikely to cause him to miss any time since training camp is still four months away.

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