The offseason is in full swing and the Super bowl champion Seattle Seahawks have spent their energy trying to bring back the core of the 2013 team. So far they have re-signed top priority pass rusher Michael Bennett, re-structured tight end Zach Miller, and inked their kicker Steven Hauschka to a three-year deal.
A number of fan favorites have also left town, including Golden Tate, Clinton McDonald, Walter Thurmond and Chris Clemons. Some 12th men and women are getting anxious that the team hasn’t signed any big names from another team yet. Yesterday I wrote that Seattle fans shouldn’t concern themselves with that: the single most important thing is keeping the most valuable players from jumping ship.
In particular there are three Seahawks that are on their rookie deals who must be brought back in order for the team to compete for future Super bowls, but only one of them is a must, must, must have.
1. Russell Wilson
Seattle’s star quarterback made just three million on his rookie deal which will expire at the end of the 2015 season. At this point in time we can project that he’ll make at least $18 million annually on this next deal, provided his production keeps at the same level and he isn’t injured. That’s going to be a tall order for a team that makes its name on playing lock-down defense and running the ball. But let’s cross that bridge when we get there. The Seahawks have more pressing needs in its secondary.
2. Richard Sherman
The world’s most loquacious cornerback only earned a little more than half a million dollars this past season. Because he fell to the sixth round in the 2011 draft, his compensation is nowhere approaching his actual value on the field. That’s all going to change very soon for Mr. Sherman, who led the league in interceptions last season despite being targeted less than anyone else playing his position.
Darelle Revis is the best paid corner in the NFL right now, and the last deal he signed was worth $16 million a year. Revis’ deal skews the market for cornerbacks a great deal, as the next best paid makes $6 million less. So, it’s difficult to judge exactly how much Sherman is worth, but at the very least we should expect around $12 to $14 million annually. It’s a lot of money for one position but Seattle’s success on defense is based in large part because Sherman essentially shuts down one whole third of the field for the opposing receivers.
However, everything that can be said about Sherman goes double for this next guy, who is perhaps the only truly indispensible player on Seattle’s roster.