Seattle Seahawks' 5 Biggest Offseason Decisions

Todd PheiferAnalyst IIIDecember 28, 2012

Seattle Seahawks' 5 Biggest Offseason Decisions

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    The Seattle Seahawks, like every other team in the NFL, will need to make some tough decisions in the offseason.

    Football is different than baseball and basketball in that most teams do not add key players partway through the season or at the trading deadline. Therefore, teams will usually need to live with their offseason decisions throughout the following year.

    You could argue that the Seahawks are building a winner and heading in the right direction. Therefore, the offseason may not be as crucial in 2013. However, they will still have some choices to make once the Super Bowl is over.

    Here are five of the biggest offseason decisions that will need to be made by the Seattle Seahawks.

Jason Jones

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    Jason Jones was put on the injured reserve list prior to the game with San Francisco 49ers.

    This was bad time for Jones to get hurt, simply because it impacted the defensive line depth and it put Jason's future with Seattle in doubt.

    You could argue that Jones has had a solid season with the Seahawks, but he only signed a one-year deal after playing four years with the Tennessee Titans.

    The Seahawks will need to decide if the 26-year-old will be worth a new multi-year deal or if they should let the big pass-rusher go to another team.

    These are difficult decisions because a draft pick may not be able to fill in effectively for a veteran like Jones. At the same time, Seattle may not want to commit to a long-term contract at this juncture.

Matt Flynn

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    What should the Seahawks do with Matt Flynn?

    Then again, do the Seahawks need to do anything with Flynn in the offseason?

    Matt Flynn may not be the future quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, but the NFL is a tough league in terms of health and productivity. Teams need two quarterbacks that can play so that if (when) an injury occurs, they have someone who can step in and be effective.

    If Seattle were to pursue trading Flynn, would there be much of a market, or would it only get a late-round draft pick? In addition, if you trade Flynn, you need to find another backup.

    A decision needs to be made, but the best decision may be to stick with the existing situation.

    Granted, Flynn has been relatively quiet about his role. In the offseason, that may change.

Draft Needs

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    As mentioned, the Seahawks are building a young, athletic team that has many of the key pieces needed to be a contender for the next couple of years.

    Seattle will obviously need to draft some players. However, the challenge will be assessing whether particular areas are genuine weaknesses or whether the team simply needs to be patient and allow current players to have one or two more years of development.

    The Seahawks are a playoff team in 2012, and the general goal is to keep the team moving in the right direction without current stars feeling like they need to look over their shoulder.

    Should Seattle look for another defensive lineman? More depth on the offensive line? How about another playmaker at wide receiver?

    Maybe the 'Hawks could go local and draft Desmond Trufant to take over for Marcus, though Desmond may not be tall enough for Pete Carroll.

    Or, should the Seahawks go with the classic strategy of taking the "best athlete available" when their pick comes up?

In-House Free Agents

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    After every Super Bowl, teams begin to evaluate their rosters and begin the process of deciding whether to bring certain players back for another season and beyond.

    Seattle took care of a lot of business before the 2012 season, and it will not face the same number of key decisions in 2013. Still, in addition to the previously-mentioned Jason Jones, there are choices that will need to be made.

    How much will Seattle be willing to spend on a 28-year-old Alan Branch and how many years will it be willing to give?

    Do the Seahawks bring back the veteran Marcus Trufant for another season?

    What about a 30-year-old Leroy Hill? Will he return or be replaced by a 2013 draft pick?

    Will Steven Hauschka continue kicking for Seattle, or will he also be replaced by a rookie?

    Decisions, decisions.

Shopping on the Open Market

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    The Seahawks must decide on in-house free agents. They must also decide on how to address needs through the draft.

    Then there is the tempting but dangerous free-agent market, which includes shopping for big-money players and veteran pieces that could put a team "over the top."

    There are always excellent lists of potential free agents that a team like Seattle could go after. Fans may never know how many of these players are actually looked at by management.

    The dilemma is whether a team like Seattle, which is arguably close to a Super Bowl, should commit a large contract to an outside star or continue to focus its efforts on building from within.

    Adding a player like Dwayne Bowe, Mike Wallace, Osi Umenyiora, Greg Jennings or Andre Smith is interesting. The question will be whether Seattle can afford a top free agent, or if it feels a need to pursue a major upgrade.

    This article on Bleacher Report suggests the Seahawks should get Wes Welker. That would certainly be an intriguing addition.

    2013 could be a very interesting year for the Seattle Seahawks.