After eight seasons in charge of the Seattle Seahawks, Pete Carroll knows that his message always needs to evolve.
Much like Carroll’s messaging, the team’s roster could see some major changes going into next season after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2011: “We all have to keep changing and growing together,” Carroll said.
Seattle’s core group is getting older. With salary cap concerns, that could lead to some major roster overhauls. Here are some positions to watch in the offseason:
Jimmy effect: Despite catching 10 touchdown passes and finally becoming the red-zone threat Seattle hoped for, don’t expect Jimmy Graham to be back. It’s likely Graham’s last chance at a big contract, and there appear to be more pressing needs. Tight end remains an important piece of the offense, but both Graham and Luke Willson are free agents.
On the line: Michael Bennett declared at season’s end that the NFL is a “young man’s game,” and at age 32 he may be cycled out.
Even if Bennett return, there’s likely to be an overhaul along the defensive line. Cliff Avril appears to be leaning toward retirement. Sheldon Richardson played well in his one year with the Seahawks but is now a free agent.
The Seahawks have a decent foundation, with Frank Clark, Quinton Jefferson, Nazair Jones and Jarran Reed. They should bring back Dion Jordan after the former high first-round pick’s performance once he became healthy. Bennett, who played 84.7 percent of the snaps despite a foot injury, could return but should shoulder less of the load.
Offensive questions: Seattle has high hopes next season for the running-back duo of Chris Carson and Mike Davis. Still, expect the Seahawks to add another ball carrier to the mix and move on from Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls. At wide receiver, there’s a big decision to be made with Paul Richardson. The unrestricted free agent finished with 44 receptions but faded late with just nine receptions in the final five games.
Witness protection: Seattle’s offensive line woes have been an issue for three consecutive seasons. Youth, injuries, inconsistency have combined to make the line a constant problem and brought plenty of criticism for offensive line coach Tom Cable.
But don’t expect massive changes. Duane Brown is under contract through 2018, and Seattle immediately started playing better once he arrived. Justin Britt has proven a capable center and the Seahawks have high hopes for Ethan Pocic, who displayed versatility as a rookie.
Not-so-special teams: No, Blair Walsh will not be back.
At least that’s an obvious early indication after Seattle signed former Jaguars kicker Jason Myers to a futures contract.
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