It was only appropriate that Kam Chancellor had perhaps the best game of his career on the day Kenny Easley raised the 12th Man flag.
Just as Easley was once Seattle’s best player, Chancellor — who, like Easley, is from Virginia and once dated Easley’s daughter — has been this team’s MVP the past two years.
Yeah, that’s a loaded statement on a team that includes so many star players — fellow Legion of Boomers Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman, linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, defensive linemen Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, quarterback Russell Wilson, running back Marshawn Lynch.
Everyone likes to say Lynch is the heartbeat of the team — embodying the tough, relentless style Pete Carroll wants his guys to play with.
But the defense is the backbone — the reason Wilson has won more games than any quarterback in his first three seasons — and Chancellor has been the heart and soul of that unit for the past two dominant years.
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.
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?
Percy Harvin’s contract was an albatross from the ill-advised moment the Seahawks decided to guarantee him $25.5 million in a deal that included salary cap hits north of $12 million from 2014 through 2017.
It seemed farfetched that he would last that long at those numbers; thanks to his alleged anti-team antics, the Hawks just ended up cutting ties much earlier than anyone thought they would.
Even though he will still count $7.2 million in proration in 2015, the Seahawks divested themselves of the remainder of his $11 million salary this season and his $10.5 million salary in 2015.
With the trade official, the Hawks are not paying his $647,000 salary this week, so they will recoup $7.1 million this season. Add that to their net savings of $5.7 million in 2015, and the Hawks pulled an extra $12.8 million in cap space for next offseason.
That gives the Hawks a lot of wiggle room to re-sign some of their key free agents, if they choose.
At his media session last week, Sherman stumped for the middle linebacker to be voted into the Pro Bowl — and now it looks like Wagner will have no chance to make it.
Coach Pete Carroll said Wagner is likely to miss several games with a sprained toe suffered in the loss to Dallas on Sunday.
It’s the second straight year Wagner has suffered a significant injury that has cost him games. Last year, he missed two games with a high ankle sprain, which affected him for a couple of games beyond that.
Wagner has played very well ever since he got over the ankle injury, and his 50 tackles this season are 13 more than No. 2 tackler Kam Chancellor and 15 more than K.J. Wright, who will now take over Wagner’s spot in the middle.
Malcolm Smith will start at weakside linebacker, with Bruce Irvin at strongside. Both of them have been off to slow starts after offseason surgeries.
Forget the whole Super Bowl rematch thing. The Seahawks’ defense was just looking for redemption after a poor performance in the loss in San Diego.
Led by embattled safety Kam Chancellor, the defense proved its mettle for most of the game Sunday, but then the unit inexplicably gave up an 80-yard, game-tying touchdown drive to Peyton Manning in the final minute.
That left the redemption to the Seattle offense, which had basically done everything it could to give the game away in the second half. Led by Russell Wilson, the offense made up for it in overtime and let the defense off the hook in a 26-20 victory that for three quarters did not seem like it would be nearly that close.
For most of the game, the defense picked up right where it left off against Manning in the Super Bowl — making everyone realize that the San Diego game was indeed an aberration.
Clay Travis of FOX Sports talks about the politicization of sports (the NFL) in the wake of Roger Goodell’s very politicky apologies-and-promises speech. Along the way, Travis points out that Goodell is just the scapegoat for issues that social media (and one video) have suddenly turned into bigger deals than they were 5-10 years ago.