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Seattle Seahawks Are Being Gutted

The Seattle Seahawks are being absolutely ripped apart from the inside out, which makes their +2000 odds to win Super Bowl LIII as laughable as they come. The Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons all share this same number so maybe they’re right on point, but it does feel like we’re in for a rough transition period for the former champions. Brace yourselves for impact, Seattle fans. This is going to get ugly.

Michael Bennett has just been traded to the Eagles in a move that has to make the city of Philadelphia rejoice. The outspoken and charismatic Bennett is a perfect fit for what the Eagles like to do defensively. Philadelphia shipped back special teamer named Marcus Johnson and a fifth round pick for one of the most productive and destructive defensive linemen in the game. Not bad for Philly. Very bad for Seattle.

Making matters worse is the other bit of news that Richard Sherman won’t be coming back in 2018 according to his teammates. Sherman’s on pace to be ready for camp after tearing his Achilles, and remains one of the more feared corners in the NFL, but there have been talks for months that his days in Seattle are numbered. Where he ends up is anybody’s guess, but it won’t come cheap. Sherman was due $11 million in salary this coming season.

The Seahawks remain adamant that Earl Thomas won’t be traded, but that isn’t a chapter that’s entirely finished either. Thomas was brazen about wanting to be shipped off to Dallas. In most normal instances I would say that Thomas isn’t going anywhere, but the bargain hunting Seahawks would be wise to try and fleece Jerry Jones for some more cap relief. It’s a move that makes sense for both teams given that Thomas clearly wants to go home to Texas where he grew up and played college football, and the Seahawks are doing god-knows-what with their defence. Reports have been all over the map regarding Thomas. Dallas definitely wants him, and the Seahawks may seek to extend him. But with that money?

All of this comes with the heavy uncertainty that Kam Chancellor may not play ever again following a neck injury that is still being evaluated. Chancellor survived February cuts which would’ve cleared his $6.8 million salary off the books for a team that is obviously trying to figure out how to spend money wisely. No matter which way you look at it, Chancellor remains a liability even though football fans everywhere are rooting for him to make a comeback.

It’s the same story for Cliff Avril, who is a $7.625 million cap hit in 2018. Avril has hinted that he may retire following another injury but there is optimism that he will return following some time off to assess.

The only stalwart that remains from this once incredible defence is Bobby Wagner. That being said, if Thomas and Chancellor return in 2018 along with Wagner the Seahawks have a chance to be competitive to a certain degree. It’s not like Seattle was making waves last year while finishing second in the NFC West with a respectable and admirable record of 9-7 SU. They were, however, betting kryptonite at 6-9-1 ATS.

Optimism is always high in the off-season, but this year there is a definitive air of tension hanging over Seattle’s heads. People have long admired what general manager John Schneider has accomplished with a team that is a bit on the cheap side, but let’s be clear about one thing: Seattle hasn’t drafted a Pro-Bowl level impact player in five years outside of returner Tyler Lockett.

Seattle splashed in Schneider’s first three years when the team secured Russell Okung, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, K.J. Wright, Richard Sherman, Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 NFL Drafts. But since then it’s been a lot of gap fillers and waived players who haven’t survived their rookie contracts. I’m not saying that Seattle can’t hit a homerun again, but it’s just been a long time since they’ve landed a player of notable value through the draft. It’s not easy to do.

The team’s big acquisitions through trades have been Duane Brown and Sheldon Richardson. Brown was unhappy in Houston and shipped following the Watson injury in 2017, and he’s counter intuitive to what the team seems to be doing with their cap. He’s due $9.75 million in 2018 and will anchor an offensive line that was one of the worst in the league while also doubling as the cheapest until Brown’s arrival. You pay for what you get. As for Richardson, he’s another experiment gone awry. Richardson wasn’t tagged by the franchise and is now a free agent.

And let’s not dismiss the failed Jeremy Lane trade which means that his $7.25 million cap hit in 2018 still holds.

The Seahawks aren’t up the river completely as long as Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin are still winging it off the hip, but they’re far from being a stable franchise. There’s too much concern around the building and too many big pieces moving around without financial security. Schneider has either lost his touch, or he simply got lucky early on in his tenure.

Without getting too complicated or geeky about the salary cap, the Seahawks don’t have a ton of money to spend this off-season and they aren’t anywhere close to filling out their 53-man roster. They have assets to move, like Bennett, and are going to need to make a few more before they’re in the clear.

Not every team can be competitive every year. That’s not how it works. But it’s devastating to see Seattle’s window close so abruptly after back-to-back Super Bowls while making five straight playoff appearances. This is a team that’s caught in an awful phase of roster building. Making matters worse is that San Francisco is on the rise and Los Angeles just keeps getting better.

Seattle can sell season tickets simply by having Russell Wilson under center, but the team surrounding him has gone from potential contender to a tire fire in less than one season. Even the 12’s, or whatever the hell they call themselves these days, can’t be overly enthusiastic about this team heading in to 2018.

The NFL Futures market is still alive with odds up on every team to win Super Bowl LIII! Get in early if you dare…

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