It looks like it’s all up to Marshawn Lynch now: He can retire and walk into the sunset after the Super Bowl or come back for more — more money, more titles.
At midseason, there were many rumblings that the Seahawks and Lynch were ready to move on from one another. Coach Pete Carroll admitted Lynch was still upset over his contract and said, “We are working through it.”
Pete Carroll does not talk about the “D word” — as he called it at one point last offseason. But “dynasty” certainly is on his mind — even if it is buried way in the back, behind Cover-3 schemes and ways to dominate turnover margin.
What do you think his motto, Win Forever, means? Principle No. 1 of that mantra: To do things better than they have ever been done before.
The Seahawks are still working toward that goal — obviously much closer to achieving it on defense than on offense — and beating the Patriots on Sunday would be a huge step in that direction, making the Hawks the ninth repeat champ.
No team has ever won three straight Super Bowls, but the Hawks are in good position to make a run at it. Carroll knows it.
John Schneider and his staff apparently messed up in free agency last year, thanks to the Super Bowl, and they aren’t letting it happen again.
That was the most significant message imparted Friday by the general manager, who shed no new light on the team’s position with Marshawn Lynch or Russell Wilson but indicated the team was not prepared enough for free agency in 2014.
Schneider seemed to indicate his staff underestimated the value of some of their free agents last offseason — Golden Tate and Clinton McDonald come to mind (although the Hawks will get compensatory draft picks for those two).
To avoid getting caught with their pants down this year, Schneider has already met with his pro personnel guys — Trent Kirchner and Dan Morgan — and they have a better bead on the market for their 15 unrestricted free agents.
For a guy as quiet as he is, Marshawn Lynch sure does make a lot of noise.
And he made a lot of it over the weekend.
It all started with a report Friday that he was going to wear $1,100 gold-plated cleats against the Packers, followed by a report Sunday morning that the NFL would not let him play if he did so.
As it turned out, he played in shoes that had blue and green tops and gold soles. And he made a lot of noise with them, running for a team playoff-record 157 yards and a touchdown in the 28-22 comeback win that vaulted Seattle into the Super Bowl for the second straight year.
It remains to be seen whether the No Fun League fines Lynch for the gold shoe bottoms — or for another crotch grab while scoring. Not sure why he insists on doing that — it’s such a teenage maneuver. But, hey, if Lynch wants to be a dick, that’s his choice.
If the Seahawks beat the Packers on Sunday, as expected, it will be Russell Wilson’s third win vs. Aaron Rodgers. And then Wilson probably will beat Rodgers again within the next two or three months — in contract value.
Rodgers, who is the favorite to be named league MVP, signed a $110 million deal in 2013 — and obviously has been worth it. But another Super Bowl win for Wilson probably would trump another MVP award for Rodgers (who also won in 2011) when it comes to the negotiating table.
Rodgers’ deal guaranteed him $54 million and will pay out $62.5 million over the first three years.
The Seahawks — always willing to pay their homegrown stars — are likely to give Wilson a deal that exceeds Rodgers’ contract, guaranteeing as much as $60 million.
The Seahawks’ deals for Cliff Avril and K.J. Wright had been in the works pretty much all year, so it was no surprise they got them done before the end of the season.
It takes away the top two players from Seattle’s sizable 2015 free-agent list and means Seattle now has all but one starter from the league’s No. 1 defense under contract next year (two if you add Kevin Williams to Byron Maxwell).
Wright and Avril join Legion of Boom stalwarts Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman, plus defensive lineman Michael Bennett, as the keys to a defense that could reign over the NFL through 2017.
K.J. Wright’s $27 million contract extension is the latest proof that John Schneider and the Seahawks are willing to pay a premium to keep their favorite players.
The Seahawks paid Wright more than they really needed to — he admitted he had a lower figure in mind. We recently projected they would offer him $4 million a year, which was their original goal, per ESPN’s John Clayton, who said Wright wanted $5.5 million.
Instead, they made him the highest-paid 4-3 outside linebacker in the NFL, according to OverTheCap.com. The only outside linebackers with better deals are the guys who rush the passer.
The Hawks obviously value Wright’s versatility — he can play inside or out. But they seemingly overpaid him, just as they did Red Bryant when they gave the run-stopping end $7 million a year.
Rookie right tackle Justin Britt’s
struggles have opened up the
debate about whether the
Seahawks should consider
replacing him next year, but the bigger question is whether the Seahawks should replace the left side of their line — Russell Okung and James Carpenter — over the next two years.
The Hawks are unlikely to give up on Britt so soon, but they definitely will have decisions to make along the line in the next couple of years, especially with three starters up for free agency — not that we can tell a starter from a backup anyway, considering injuries continually knock out Okung, Carpenter and center Max Unger.
Offensive line has long been Seattle’s weakest link — and that predates John Schneider, Pete Carroll and Tom Cable. The last time the Hawks started the same five all season was 2007, and they have averaged seven combinations a year in five seasons under this regime. They really need to find some consistency so the offense can progress.
“Him coming back has really changed our defense.”
— Michael Bennett, on Bobby Wagner
Bobby Wagner has been a major reason the Seattle defense has put the clamps on Arizona, San Francisco and — most impressively — Philadelphia over the last three weeks — and teammates are singing his praises.
“He’s the heart of the defense,” cornerback Richard Sherman said. “He cleans up a lot of mistakes made by guys, and other guys clean up mistakes like Earl (Thomas) and Kam (Chancellor). We’ve got a lot guys who are erasers out there, and he has such an instinctual game. He believes what he sees, he plays what he sees. On top of the immense talent and speed that he has, that makes for a fantastic football player that I hope everybody recognizes.”
Wagner’s agent obviously hopes general manager John Schneider recognizes it and will be ready to pay Wagner in the next two years.
Over the last three weeks, the
Seahawks’ defense has gone on a tear
unlike anything it has done under Pete Carroll and the Hawks have
re-established themselves as the Super Bowl repeat threat we all expected them to be.
Assuming the rejuvenated Seahawks maintain their dominant play and take it to the same conclusion as last year, the big question will become: How do they keep this going to create that dynasty we all projected?