Win Forever: The Winning Forever Part

This off season got a jolt when rumors of a potential Richard Sherman trade were confirmed by both Sherman and the front office. The debate around whether to trade the singular corner have been impassioned. Arguments have ranged from the team never winning again until Sherman has been excised from the locker room, to the team never winning again without the Hall of Fame talent roving the defensive secondary. The implications of trading a player of Sherman’s caliber are obviously immense. But this trade is bigger than just the matter of finding suitable talent to replace the hole Sherman would leave. This rumor is one of the four horsemen for Seattle’s first Super Bowl champions.

Twelves have already said goodbye to Marshawn, a paragon of the modern Seahawks. Fans may next be saying goodbye to a founding member of the a Legion of Boom and, with him, the Legion of Boom itself. Even if Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor still warrant carrying on the moniker, it seems the LoB’s end could be in sight.  Kam’s future is no more certain than Sherman’s, with his previous holdout, recent injuries, signs of slowing down on the field. Considering that Kam is entering the final year of his contract, it’s possible we will bid farewell to two members of the LoB over the next 12 months

Other quintessential Carrollhawks may have a foot out the door as well. Michael Bennett just received an extension, so his departure isn’t likely to be imminent, but at 31 years old the odds are that his end is sooner than later. Cliff Avril is 31 as well, and has just two seasons before his current contract expires. Even KJ Wright, still just 27, will need a new contact by the end of 2018.

With Marshawn and his offensive line already gone, the other side of the ball stands to see less turnover. Jermaine Kearse is likely on the thinnest ice. Fans may be itching to see that ice break, but Kearse is undoubtedly etched in the annals of Seahawks history. There’s also Jimmy Graham, who still feels new to the scene but may already be playing out his last season in Seattle.

These impending changes are representative of a transition to a new phase in this regime. Pete and John started at the bottom and have run through nearly every phase of team building you can imagine. They took over a 5 win team, stripped it for parts, and built a young foundation in their image. Next, they married that young foundation with a young franchise quarterback. The pairing was, of course, wildly successful, and the front office next had to find a way to keep it together despite the restrictions of the salary cap.

To this point, Seattle has been focused on creating a team from scratch and then holding onto that team.  Now, Seattle must balance existing talent with new talent. Seattle must navigate decisions around which players to let walk, which player’s remaining prime years to trade in return for young talent, and which players to invest in with a 3rd contract. Strategic player attrition is now every bit as important as player acquisition. In that sense, Seattle’s Super Bowl window is closing. But it’s closing for the team as we know it while the window for the next team is just opening.

We can already see some of the building blocks for that team. It’s possible we see Frank Clark surpass Michael Bennett in 2017. Jarran Reed looks like he should be more than capable to be Seattle’s next Brandon Mebane, holding down the interior of the defensive line for 10 years. The backfield has been restocked, and it’s likely one of Rawls, Prosise, or even Eddie Lacy (still just 26), will lead the team in carries for years to come. The start to Germain Ifedi’s career wasn’t ideal, but he is still just 22 years old. There will be hold overs from the previous generation as well. Bobby Wagner, Earl Thomas, and Doug Baldwin shouldn’t be going anywhere, any time soon. And then there is Russell Wilson, the one man who can single-handedly keep Seattle’s Super Bowl window open.

So as we prepare to face some  difficult goodbyes, remember: The current core of players may still hold the key to winning today, but the next generations will hold the key to winning forever.

Staff Writer
  1. The sentimentalist, and likely irrational, fan in me hates the idea of trading Sherm. It’s like back in the day when SF traded Joe Montana………….it just ain’t right! But then the practical, managerial minded guy in me says something along the lines of “It makes perfect sense.” These aren’t the “back in the day” NFL times… we have a salary cap that impacts decision making far more than the average fan seems to realize. And while JS has demonstrated better than NFL average management of his relatively tight salary budget, even he acknowledged last week that he has admiration for the Belichickian way. That small comment in the flow of a longer interview might be insight into why this is going down…………..though there might not be a deal made either. For those who take the “sky is falling” view that the Seahawks will be toast w/o Sherm I would suggest you take every article/statement/lament along those lines and substitute the name Marcus Trufant for every utterance of Sherman. The story would fit for the Hawks of several years ago. What a disaster it would have been to remove a (if healthy rather than injured) Trufant for an unproven, recent conversion from wide receiver, 5th round draft choice. Just think about it………….

    To think that the team will fail for the loss of a single player is taking the “silver bullet” approach to the extreme again. If a team is held together by a single player then it is a team that doesn’t deserve to be a champion. That was the problem I had with all the whining about the loss of Earl Thomas toward the end of last season. Is it a problem of reasonable concern? Certainly, if nothing else there’s a disturbance in the force of team cohesion. Your starters are starters because they work together in the scheme well, or the scheme works well because of the synergy of the starters play…….subtle difference. Which is where my real concern for the Hawks is. We have a better than league average coaching staff, the record shows that. But, our record also shows that compared to the very top performers in the league, we come up just a bit short. The meme always rotates to player evaluations/performance, which is reasonable to a point, but the players are PART of the equation, not the whole of it. There is no other safety out there (yet) with all the abilities of ETIII in one body but him. But those that back him up are not without a set of skills, albeit perhaps less, that perform well enough in other schemes. The Falcons didn’t have Earl Thomas, but they advanced beyond the Hawks. The real question should be, “Can our coaching staff adjust to the loss of a key player when necessary?” Sure, better talent helps…………..probably why McDougald is on the roster now. He’s likely perceived as an upgrade from Terrell or McCray.

    The reality is just what this article notes, the team needs to constantly adjust it’s assets to remain viable contenders for championships. We have two players that take a big chunk of salary and, while marvelous performers and fan favorites, could be assets that offer conversion opportunities. Remember, the fan in me hates that thinking, the manager though has to embrace it. Jimmy Graham is the offensive version of Sherm. He’s at a value point where it may make more sense to trade him for multiple options and future potential, while having nearly as good players available. The Sherm fans are screaming right now……..”you idiot, we don’t have any corners near that good right now!”. Yeah, and it seemed the same 7 years ago when Trufant went down injured. If we do have an advantage in coaching skill it’s in the secondary, and for all that the draft is mostly a 50-50 crap shoot, this year appears to be an early round gold mine for defensive backs……at least within the first 50 or so likely picks.

    JS has a reputation for trading down to increase leverage, but even he has noted how this year the draft peters out sooner than he likes. I interpret that to mean that this year he might switch up his usual behavior and might look for options to trade up instead. He’s known for projecting future drafts well, which might mean he sees the opportunity in this years draft to load up on defensive back fielders early on……….which means he’s got to risk big to move up. No risk………….no reward. We’ll see………..

    1. The practical, managerial guy in me says to trade Sherman only if someone backs up the truck to get him. This team is an SB contender *now* — the only reason to make any trade is if it makes the team better in 2017.

      We’re not talking about “one guy” here: This is a perennial All-Pro who never misses a game. Plus, the CB opposite is a blank space on the depth chart. Right now, Seattle needs RS a lot more than he needs them. More power to him.

  2. It appears Seattle is going into a new phase of their team “reconstruction”. Looking at the draft the last 3 years would indicate Seattle has found quite possibly some of their new core. Britt (legit center), Clark, Locket, Ifedi, Rawls, Reed and Thorpe should be around for awhile. I think players like Prosise, Lacey, Collins, Marsh, Vannett, Jefferson and even Richardson could also be a part of the new core. Glowinski, Rees O, Fant, McEvoy Cottom, Desir, Lawler, Hunt, Jordan, Williams, Elliot, McDonald and McDougald can make their claim this year as to their future in Seattle. Seattle has made some great additions the last two years of the draft and could do well again this year. With core guys like Wilson, Thomas, Wagner, Wright, Baldwin and Bennett still around for awhile, Seattle has a lot of key parts in place to stay competitive.
    Seattle adds potential future starters at TE, Corner (or 2), Safety, DT, OL and possibly LB/Edge; they make another major stride.
    Compared to teams like SF, Baltimore, Dallas and others; Seattle has done well to stay a top team with a more successful churning of talent the last 2 years especially.

  3. I would hate to see Sherman leave Seattle, but could accept the move if we received quality starter(s), cornerback &/or OL. Reading comments from various sites most fans say trade sherman for a 1st round draft pick. 1st round draft picks dont come with a garantee that they will be stars, or even decent starters, in the nfl. Imagine trading the best cornerback in the nfl for a 1st rounder who busts, like Ifedi did last year. We might still win our weak division, but would be one & done.

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