The 2013 season is now over for all but eight NFL teams. All around the league, teams are working to make the tough decisions on which players might not be around next season. The Seahawks are no different, even if they are still playing in the playoffs.
Seattle will enter this offseason with little room to work with under the salary cap and 18 free agents that must be re-signed or replaced. It sets up a situation where the Seahawks will likely have to let go some of their high-profile players in order to avoid creating major holes in the roster at other positions.
With that in mind, here are five players on the roster bubble for the 2014 season.
To make this list, a player must be currently under contract for 2014 and must have played a significant role this season. That means that players whom the team could just let walk in free agency, like guard Paul McQuistan, aren't eligible. It also means that easily replaceable roster-filling players, like wide receiver Bryan Walters, also aren't included.
Position: Wide Receiver
2014 Cap Number: $9.7 million
Cap Savings: $7.3 million
2013 Production: 15 receptions, 231 yards, 3 touchdowns
Additional Notes via PFF: +1.4 rating overall. Played on 212 passing downs this season.
Wide receiver Sidney Rice would appear to be the most obvious of the team's salary-cap casualties. The Seahawks can save more than $7 million by cutting the veteran and should be able to replace his 2013 production for a fraction of that amount.
Rice's injured knee limited his effectiveness this year even before a torn ACL ended his season. Even a trip to Switzerland for a special treatment on his knee during training camp didn't appear to help.
Rice played in just eight games this season, and his absence was felt by the entire offense after his injury. So while Rice is almost certainly going to be in a different uniform next season, the Seahawks will need to find a replacement for the 6'4" playmaker.
Position: Defensive End
2014 Cap Number: $9,666,667
Cap Savings: $7.5 million
2013 Production: 24 tackles, 4.5 sacks
Additional Notes via PFF: -7.7 overall rating. NFL 18th most efficient pass-rushing 4-3 defensive end at generating pressure on the QB.
Age and injuries seem to have caught up with Seattle's once dominant defensive end. After three straight years with at least 11 sacks, Chris Clemons finished 2013 with just 4.5.
Clemons suffered a torn ACL in the playoffs a year ago, and returned fast enough to avoid the PUP list to start the season. After a quick start to the season, Clemons has seen his production slip considerably down the stretch.
An increasing salary coupled with decreasing production makes Clemons a likely salary-cap casualty this offseason.
Position: Left Guard
2014 Cap Number: $2,431,364
Cap Savings: $1,417,000
2013 Production: Played in all 16 games. Started 10.
Additional Notes via PFF: -13 overall rating. Gave up just four sacks and 8 quarterback pressures. Was 22nd among NFL guards pass-blocking efficiency.
This was supposed to be James Carpenter's breakthrough season. The former first-round pick was moved to guard in 2012, and he was finally healthy after finishing both 2011 and 2012 on injured reserve with a knee injury.
Instead, Carpenter has regressed as a run-blocker and has been relegated to splitting time with an unimpressive Paul McQuistan. It has also been McQuistan, and not Carpenter, who has started four of the last six games at left guard.
Carpenter is running out of time to prove he can be an NFL offensive linemen. If he cannot win a starting job in training camp before next season, don't be surprised to see him playing for another team in 2014.
Position: Running Back
2014 Cap Number: $684,114
Cap Savings: $455.886
2013 Production: 77 rushes for 264 yards, 3.4 yards per carry
Additional Notes via PFF: -0.1 overall rating, +1.3 pass blocking
Robert Turbin's inclusion here clearly is not because of his salary cap status. Instead, it is because of his lack of production.
Turbin isn't a threat as a runner. His insertion into the lineup tells the opposition that the Seahawks are almost certainly going to be passing the football. Either that or they're going to run a draw for 6 yards on 3rd-and-14.
The Seahawks also drafted a pair of running backs last April, so the writing may be on the wall for Turbin.
Position: Tight End
2014 Cap Number: $7 million
Cap Savings: $5 million
2013 Production: 33 receptions, 387 yards, 5 touchdowns
Additional Notes via PFF: +7.4 overall rating, 4th highest rated TE in run blocking, 10th highest overall rating
Tight end Zach Miller's contract becomes much more team friendly next season, which makes his removal from the roster far from certain. If the Seahawks were going to move on from Miller because of his contract, this season would have been the year to do so.
However, rookie Luke Willson has developed steadily into a solid player. The Seahawks could decide that Willson's presence on the roster means that Miller's contract is expendable.
Replacing Miller's skill as a blocker won't be easy though. Miller has been a big part of Seattle's success running the football over the past few seasons.