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Breaking Down the Seattle Seahawks' Dynasty Potential

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Breaking Down the Seattle Seahawks' Dynasty Potential
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

At least one prominent member of their chief rivals thinks the Seattle Seahawks are blazing a path towards becoming the next NFL dynasty. 

Speaking with NFL.com's Jeff Darlington at the NFL Rookie Symposium (h/t Dan Hanzus of NFL.com), San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis said what the Seahawks have put together this offseason has caught his eye. 

"They're building a dynasty over there," Davis said. "These guys are coming to take us out. I respect them, but we want to win, too. We have to...play each game like it's our last game."

Slow down, Vernon. 

The term "dynasty" is often overused and abused in the sporting language.

The Green Bay Packers of the 1960s were a true NFL dynasty. The same can be said for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the '70s, the San Francisco 49ers of the '80s, the Dallas Cowboys of the '90s and even the New England Patriots of the 2000s. Each won multiple championships and otherwise dominated the decade.

The Seahawks "dynasty" currently has an 11-win season and one playoff triumph to lean back on. As it stands, Seattle doesn't exactly fit the traditional usage of the word. 

However, that reality doesn't mean the Seahawks aren't building their way towards becoming the next member of the NFL's established group of dynasties. Great teams like the Packers of the '60s and Steelers of the '70s don't emerge overnight.

Slowly but surely, the Seahawks have put in place the necessary ingredients for long-term success. Now, old-fashioned luck and a run of titles should follow. 

Here's a breakdown of how Seattle stacks up in the dynamics of an NFL dynasty: 

 

Quarterback

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Bart Starr. Terry Bradshaw. Joe Montana. Troy Aikman. Tom Brady.

Russell Wilson?

History shows that every dynasty needs Hall of Fame play from the quarterback position. That style isn't streamlined—each of the five quarterbacks listed before Wilson were different players who did different things well. 

It would obviously be jumping the gun to call Wilson a future Hall of Famer, but his rookie season was encouraging. 

After a five-week start that saw the Seahawks mostly handcuff their first-year starter, Wilson took off.

He threw 19 touchdowns against just four interceptions over the final 11 games. According to Chris Wesseling of NFL.com, Wilson led the NFL in passer rating (120.3) during the second half of the season. He had a passer rating of over 100.0 in seven of the final eight games. 

Wilson's first two postseason starts followed the same script. 

After an efficient win over the Washington Redskins that included 254 total yards and one score, Wilson torched the Atlanta Falcons for 385 yards passing, 60 yards rushing and three total touchdowns. 

The Seahawks rallied from an early 20-0 deficit to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, but the Falcons kicked a field goal as time expired to escape the upset. 

Still, both results—at least from a quarterback standpoint—should give Seattle all the confidence it needs to enter 2013 as one of the true contenders in the NFC.

Wilson is an emerging star at the game's most important position. 

 

Head Coach

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

If there's a weak link to the Seahawks' long-term dynasty claim, it may be head coach Pete Carroll. 

While an 83-game winner at the helm of college powerhouse USC, Carroll has just a 58-54 career record in the NFL. Only three times has he won a playoff game and his 25-23 record over three years with the Seahawks is merely average. 

Carroll is cool and charismatic, and he appears to be an ideal personality to lead this group of players.

However, he still has much to prove (such as back-to-back winning seasons) before anyone can claim he's ready to pilot an NFL dynasty. 

 

General Manager 

Carroll is the executive vice president of football operations, which gives him final say over personnel matters in Seattle. However, he works closely with John Schneider, his up-and-coming general manager. 

Since joining the Seahawks in 2010, Schneider has helped build one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. And he's accomplished the feat through a variety of avenues. 

In the draft, Schneider has nabbed top picks such as left tackle Russell Okung, safety Earl Thomas, linebacker Bobby Wagner and quarterback Russell Wilson. Dynasties can't be constructed without stacking together successes at the top of drafts.

But Schneider has also done well later in drafts, snagging players such as cornerback Richard Sherman, safety Kam Chancellor and linebacker K.J. Wright. Each is a key part of Seattle's defense. 

While not always aggressive in free agency, Schneider has signed the likes of receiver Sidney Rice, tight end Zach Miller and defensive ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. 

Schneider's best work might come on the trading table. His three major trades—running back Marshawn Lynch, defensive end Chris Clemons and receiver Percy Harvin—have each been lauded as successes. The deal for Harvin is yet to play out, but most believe the Seahawks acquired a difference-making offensive weapon for the 2013 season. 

There's no sure-fire formula for constructing a dynasty-worthy roster, especially in the age of free agency.

However, Schneider and Carroll have been right far more than wrong in their decisions, resulting in a roster capable of sustaining long-term success.

 

Young Core

Dynasties may never again be in the form of the '60s Packers or '70s Steelers, where entire teams remain whole for long stretches. The introduction of free agency has effectively shrunk the window for dynasty formation by making it difficult to keep top players under contract. 

However, the Seahawks have done well in obtaining a young, relatively cheap core. 

Wilson still has several years on his rookie contract before a mega deal is (likely) needed. Sherman, one of the top cover corners in football, has two years left on a $2.2 million deal. A number of other young players will play the next few seasons under cap-friendly contracts as well. 

According to Spotrac.com, the Seahawks will enter the 2013 season with roughly $5 million in total cap room. 

At some point down the road, Carroll and Schneider will have to make difficult decisions on which young players to keep and which to let go. The salary cap simply doesn't allow for teams to keep everyone in house, especially for a roster with so much young talent right now. 

Those days are still in the future, though. The Seahawks have an opportunity in the present to put together a run of a highly successful seasons before worries about losing any of the core come about. 

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