The defense is set in 2017 and 2018 mostly, the offense not so much with current Seahawks contracts
For those of you who have already given up on the Seahawks in 2017, I give you a one-step-beyond. (I must ask, though, why have given up? The season has not even started!). Each year in the NFL is like ten in actual life. There are constant changes and reassembling of teams. Since John Schneider and Pete Carroll came to Seattle, though, the core of the Seahawks has mostly been maintained from one year to the next. This has led to success and the promise of more of the same.
There could be some notable departures after 2017, however. These may be due to players running out of time on their current contracts. Or it could be that the Seahawks simply want to cut players and save some money for other areas. For instance, punter Jon Ryan will make $1,600,000 in 2017, but that number jumps to $3,200,000 in 2018. Seattle saved a little money by letting kicker Steven Hauschka walk this offseason. They could do the same by cutting Ryan and signing a younger and less expensive player at his position.
Seattle’s offense has the biggest opportunity for next-offseason turnover. Tight end Jimmy Graham, center Justin Britt, newly-signed guard Luke Joeckel and running back Eddie Lacy, plus wide receiver Paul Richardson will all be unrestricted free agents. Backup tight end Luke Willson is also free to go elsewhere. Running back Thomas Rawls will be a restricted free agent.
It may be safe to assume that either Lacy or Rawls do not return in 2018. If Lacy has a good year, why pay Rawls? If Lacy underperforms or Rawls simply is more productive, why pay Lacy? Or maybe Rawls nor Lacy does well and C.J. Prosise blows up then neither Lacy or Rawls get resigned.
For the most part, and if every player plays as expected, Seattle will have nearly the same defense in 2018 as in 2017. The one notable exception is strong safety Kam Chancellor. Chancellor can sign elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent. Seattle does not normally designate a Franchise tag on a player, but Chancellor may be one they do. That is, if Chancellor does not sign an extension this offseason or near the beginning of the season.
Newly signed Bradley McDougald will also be an unrestricted free agent after 2017, though. If he plays well, he may be considered for an extension too. Though the Seahawks did draft three safeties…
Beyond 2018, however, Seattle is currently looking at Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Frank Clark, Cliff Avril and K.J. Wright as all unrestricted free agents. The Seahawks need to win big these next two years.