The Seattle Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII in 2013 but that might as well have been a lifetime ago.
NFL rosters change so frequently and the average career span of a player in the league is very short. The Seahawks are a perfect example of that toxicity. Only seven starters remain from the group that was able to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to the northwest. The latest departure came earlier this week when strong safety Kam Chancellor announced that he would no longer be able to play due to a neck injury.
Quarterback Russell Wilson and wide receiver Doug Baldwin are the lone starters that remain on offense. Pete Carroll’s offense no longer includes the likes of wide receiver Golden Tate, wide receiver Percy Harvin, tight end Zach Miller, wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and running back Marshawn Lynch. Tate is currently with the Detroit Lions. Lynch is with the Oakland Raiders. Kearse is with the New York Jets. Miller and Harvin are out of the league.
On defense, the Seahawks return a lot more. Linebackers KJ Wright and Bobby Wagner were starters on that title team. The same is true of free safety Earl Thomas. Chancellor is still technically on the roster but his playing career has been exhausted. Cornerback Byron Maxwell was a starter on that team as well. He left the Seahawks to play with the Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins but is now back.
There are a lot of recognizable names gone from that championship roster as well: outside linebacker Bruce Irvin, defensive end Cliff Avril, defensive end Michael Bennett, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, cornerback Jeremy Lane and cornerback Walter Thurmond. Bennett was traded to the Eagles this off-season. Irvin has moved on to the Raiders. Mebane is with the Los Angeles Chargers. Lane and Thurmond are out of the league.
Cornerback Brandon Browner was another notable name on that roster but he was serving a suspension. Interior offensive lineman JR Sweezy was also a member of the championship team. He signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency but has since been released. He took a visit to Seattle earlier this week and, while no deal is imminent, there is a possibility that he could return for the upcoming season.
The team has new look by design, not accident. The structure of the NFL’s salary cap as well as the general direction of the franchise forced the change. General Manager John Schneider is trying to build a new Super Bowl contender through youth. Seattle has the No. 17 salary cap space remaining in the league with a little over $11 million. Once a resolution is reached with Chancellor, that number will rise.