The Seattle Seahawks had one of their worst seasons in franchise history last season, going 4-12. The previous five seasons the Seahawks won the NFC West and had one trip to the Super Bowl. Now the key for Seattle is staying healthy.
Last season, the Seahawks struggled with a series of injuries. They had three different starting quarterbacks (Matt Hasselbeck, Seneca Wallace, and Charlie Frye), 10 different starting wide receivers (Deion Branch, Nate Burleson (played in only one game), Bobby Engram, Ben Obamanu, Logan Payne, Billy McMullen, Michael Bumpus, Mike Hass, and Koren Robinson, each starting at least one game.
The Seahawks lost all four starting offensive linemen (Walter Jones, Mike Wahle (ended on IR), Chris Spencer (misses’ entire 09 season), Rob Sims, and Sean Locklear. They also lost DE Patrick Kerney midseason.
So, what happens when you lose basically all of your key players? It equals a 4-12 record and the fourth overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft.
The Seahawks decided that their worst season should be backed up by their best offseason in recent memory. Coming into the offseason, the Seahawks had needs at wide receiver (a true No. 1), offensive line depth (C, LT), CB, S, QB (future QB), and DT.
They had a few key free agents but no-one that was “five star caliber”. They did not retain DT Rocky Bernard, RB Maurice Morris, QB Charlie Frye, FB Leonard Weaver, WRs Bobby Engram and Koren Robinson, TE Will Heller, OG Floyd “pork chop” Womack, LS Tyler Schmitt (cut), and DT Howard Green.
They did, however, re-sign OLB Leroy Hill to a two year $13 million contract (six year $36 million contract), RT Ray Willis (two year contract), WR Ben Obamanu, LB D.D Lewis, and FS C.J Wallace.
Their most hated move by fans at the time was their decision to trade OLB Julian Peterson to the Detroit Lions for DT Cory Redding and a fifth round draft pick. The key reason they made the trade was that Redding was willing to restructure his contract whereas Peterson was not. Redding wound up restructuring his contract to a one year, two million dollar deal, blowing up the last six years of his contract.
Some other moves that weren’t so well noticed, but the Seahawks are very high on, were DT Colin Cole, TE John Owens, CB Ken Lucas (after the draft), and FB Justin Griffith (after the draft).
Where the Seahawks made their biggest mark was in the NFL draft. They had 10 total picks coming into the draft, including the fourth overall pick. There was a lot of buzz that the Seahawks would draft QB Mark Sanchez, but that did not happen. They went with a player that was not expected to fall to them—outside linebacker Aaron Curry.
Right after the draft, a lot of people around the league said that, with the addition of Curry, the Seahawks now have the best linebacking corps in the entire NFL. They have MLB Lofa Tatupu (who signed a six year $42 million contract) and OLB Leroy Hill (who was released when they drafted Curry but wound up signing a six year, $36 million contract).
For the rest of the draft. They traded their second round pick to the Denver Broncos for their first round pick in 2010 (which based on 2010 mock drafts and common consensus could possibly be a top 10 pick).
Second round pick (trade w/Chicago), C Max Unger. Third round pick (trade with Philadelphia), WR Deon Butler. Sixth round pick, QB Mike Teel. Seventh round picks, FS Courtney Greene, DE Nick Green, and TE Cameron Morrah.
Max Unger could have a great opportunity to beat out current starter Chris Spencer for the starting center job.
Deon Butler will be looking more at the fourth WR and possibly KR/PR duties. Courtney Greene could beat out FS Brian Russell for the starting job but look to the 2010 draft for the Seahawks future FS, Taylor Mays.
On ESPN.com, John Clayton named the Seattle Seahawks the best team in the offseason. Now there might be some bias opinions, but the Seahawks were still one of the top teams this offseason, success wise.
The key now, no matter who the Seahawks sign, is health. If the Seahawks' entire team, or at least two thirds of it, can stay healthy they have a great chance of going deep into the playoffs. The Seahawks' top passing game and shutdown defense could even lead them to the Super Bowl.
The 12th man would love to see the Seahawks flying high this season and, if they can stay healthy, they will be in for a heck of a ride (in a good way).