Seattle Seahawks

How Can Frank Clark Contribute to Seahawks’ ‘Loaded’ Defensive Front?

The Seattle Seahawks drafted Frank Clark in the second round of the 2015 NFL draft.

What type of impact will Clark have in his rookie year? Will he have success with the Seahawks?

Watch as Bleacher Report NFL Analyst Matt Miller discusses Clark’s role with the Seahawks in the video above.

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Who Makes the Cut from Seahawks’ Overflowing 2015 Wide Receiver Depth Chart?

The Seattle Seahawks have plenty of wide receivers fighting for roster spots, but only so many pass-catchers can make the team.

Which players are a lock to make the Seahawks roster? Who might not make the cut?

Watch as Adam Lefkoe and Bleacher Report NFL Analyst Chris Simms discuss the Seahawks roster in the video above. 

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Seattle Seahawks’ Plan for Unleashing Elite Red-Zone Threat Jimmy Graham

The New Orleans Saints shocked the NFL when they traded elite receiving threat Jimmy Graham, and he now provides Russell Wilson with a big red-zone presence.

What will he bring to the Seahawks offense? What should fans expect from him in Year 1?

Watch as Stephen Nelson and Bleacher Report NFL Analyst Chris Simms discuss Graham’s new fit in the video above. 

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With Tough Decisions Ahead, Seahawks’ Championship Window Might Be Closing

Over the past several years, the Seattle Seahawks have risen to power as the most dominant team in the NFC. In each of the past two seasons the Seahawks have represented the conference in the Super Bowl, including a blowout win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.

According to Odds Shark, the Seahawks are the odds-on favorite to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at the conclusion of Super Bowl 50. Anything less would be considered something of a disappointment.

And it could be something even worse. Because as hard as it is for an NFL team to reach the mountaintop, it can be even harder for them to stay there.

Now, the Seahawks have done a better job than most clubs (outside of a certain team in New England) in that regard. General manager John Schneider has made a point of locking up key contributors such as cornerback Richard Sherman and free safety Earl Thomas to lucrative long-term extensions. He’s also been aggressive in adding pieces like wide receiver Percy Harvin and now tight end Jimmy Graham.

Sitting on his hands isn’t Schneider’s style.

However, in today’s era of the salary cap and free agency, solving one problem usually creates another. Every resource used on one player or position is one that can’t be used somewhere else.

Take the Graham trade, for example. Sure, in adding the 28-year-old the Seahawks gained one of the truly elite options in the NFL at his position, but that acquisition came at a heavy cost in center Max Unger and a first-round pick in the 2015 draft.

Unger‘s departure poses a real problem for the Seahawks. If there was one glaring weak spot for the Seahawks in 2014, it was protecting quarterback Russell Wilson. Seattle was one of the league’s best run-blocking lines in 2014 (fourth in the NFL, per the rankings at Football Outsiders), but the Seahawks were well below average in pass protection (24th).

Those fat contracts players like Sherman and Thomas received have an impact all their own as well.

For starters, when players see their teammates driving Lamborghinis while they roll up in a Kia Soul, they get to thinking.

“Hey, I had a good year. Where are my velvet ropes?”

And the Seahawks find themselves in just such a dilemma with defensive lineman Michael Bennett. After signing a four-year, $28.5 million contract a year ago, Bennett was easily the team’s best beefeater during Seattle’s run to Super Bowl XLIX.

And as Travis Pittman of KING 5 News in Seattle reports, Bennett hasn’t been quiet about his belief that performance makes him worthy of even more cheddar: “I think everyone who has a job, they want a raise for whatever they’re doing. I’m just like and other American. I think everybody wants to be paid a little bit more so I don’t think I fall short of that.”

Granted, Bennett made it clear he’s not angling for a trade, but he also wasn’t shy about making it known that he’s in no rush to show for voluntary camps or OTAs:

The odds of a protracted holdout in 2015 may not be high, but 2016 could be another matter altogether. And that’s bad mojo for a Seattle pass rush that dropped from eighth in the NFL in sacks in 2013 to 20th a year ago.

Then there’s the matter of Lamborghini Lynch himself.

As ESPN reported back in March, after grousing about his paycheck, running back Marshawn Lynch got his reworked contract, including a fat raise (to $12 million) for the upcoming season.

However, Lynch is also 29 years old and has over 2,000 career carries. Both are big red flags where the decline phase of a running back’s career is concerned.

This may be considered blasphemy in the Pacific Northwest, but it’s hardly out of the realm of reason to wonder if this year could be it for “Beast Mode” with the Seahawks, especially should that inevitable decline begin to manifest during the upcoming season.

Sure, Christine Michael has shown some flashes when afforded the opportunity in the past, but he’s no Marshawn Lynch. If he was, the Seahawks wouldn’t be paying Lynch that $12 million to begin with.

And we haven’t even discussed Russell Wilson yet.

Wilson’s rookie deal, which expires after the 2015 season, pays the fourth-year pro the NFL quarterback equivalent of pizza delivery money. And according to Danny O’ Neil of 710 ESPN Radio in Seattle, Wilson and the Seahawks aren’t particularly close to agreeing to terms on an extension:

Over the past few weeks, it has become possible to sketch the general shape of some of the negotiations, not to provide hard-and-fast negotiating points but to show some of the issues the two sides will need to work out in order to bridge a gap that right now can be counted in the millions. Actually, it’s closer to 10s of millions.

…On the one hand, Wilson can argue that he deserves to be paid a total over the next five years that puts him alongside top veteran quarterbacks. On the other, the Seahawks have a point that they’re using the same formula they’ve used with other elite players at their positions.

That formula may not be sitting too well with the star quarterback, at least if Wilson’s own rather cryptic tweet from Thursday is any indication:

Make no mistake, one way or another, Wilson will be in Seattle in 2015. And 2016, even if it takes the franchise tag to keep him in town. However, Wilson is also going to be looking at a pay raise of at least $15 million a season, if not more.

That money has to come from somewhere. And if it’s paid to Wilson, it can’t be to anyone else.

Many Seattle fans will no doubt dismiss all this as alarmist nonsense. The Seahawks appear primed for another deep playoff run. Schneider has a solid track record in the NFL draft. The team added pass-rush and offensive line help in the 2015 edition.

Still, the harsh reality is that the Seahawks’ recent run of dominance was fueled in large part by a running back who isn’t getting any younger and several key cogs who either already make or will soon make a lot more money.

Money that then can’t be used to keep the likes of cornerback Byron Maxwell in town.

No, the sky isn’t falling. In fact, it’s still plenty bright.

However, as the Seahawks look out their championship window at that bright sky and gaze longingly toward Santa Clara and Super Bowl 50 the fact remains…

Just because you can’t see a storm front doesn’t mean one isn’t headed your way.

And no window stays open forever.


Gary Davenport is an NFL analyst at Bleacher Report and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Gary on Twitter at @IDPSharks.

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