The Seattle Seahawks have looked like the best team in the NFL at times this season and turned that dominance into a 13-3 regular season record and the No. 1 seed in the NFC Playoffs. They have gotten to the NFC Championship thanks to their depth of talent across the board with most of that talent coming via the draft. Relying on those young playmakers has helped Seattle build a winner in 2013 but it could result in their window for winning a Super Bowl shutting sooner rather than later.
Thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement, the rookie wage scale has really opened up what teams are able to do under the salary cap. Seattle has built their team with players still under their rookie deals which has allowed them incredible flexibility when it comes to signing impact free agents like Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril last offseason. But with so many of their young impact players ready to come due in free agency, that flexibility is about to get taken away.
30 players are set to become free agents between 2014 and 2015, including many high-impact players. Both of their free-agent acquisitions will be due for a new contract with Bennett this offseason and Avril after next season. In addition, wide recever Doug Baldwin will be a restricted free agent this offseason while starting tackle Breno Giacomini, kicker Steven Hauschka, receiver Golden Tate, and defensive back Walter Thurmond will be unrestricted free agents in 2014 just to name some of the big names.
Then in 2015, Seattle will have to deal with the contracts for guard James Carpenter, defensive end Chris Clemons, receiver Jermaine Kearse, linebacker K.J. Wright, and defensive backs Byron Maxwell, Richard Sherman, and Earl Thomas. Many of these players are coming off rookie deals that minimized their hit on the salary cap but they will demand max-deals when they hit free agency (like Sherman and Thomas). That will severely limit how many of these players the Seahawks can bring back once their contracts run out.
Further limiting their ability to re-sign the bulk of these players is the pending free agency of both quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch in 2016. Wilson and Lynch are unquestionably cornerstones of the Seattle offense and will demand high price tags when their contracts are up in two seasons. The result will be a roster unable to hold onto many of their best players over the next few seasons.
That means that this Seattle roster will be drastically different next season and even more so the year after that. The Seahawks have a team talented enough to win it all in 2013 and they may have to get it done because this group won’t be together for much longer. Is it now or never for the Seahawks’ Super Bowl chances?