Rounding Up Seattle Seahawks' Offseason Buzz, Post-Minicamps
It's been an interesting offseason in Seattle thus far, though the dust is starting to settle. Marshawn Lynch finally returned to the team's activities after mumbles loudened regarding his potential retirement, though he is still looking to get paid.
He was made the league's fifth-highest paid runner with his current contract, but is looking for more moolah after turning in another great year in 2013.
Outside of Lynch's return, one main storyline has Paul Richardson and the noise he's making at the receiver position. He's proven to be a valuable target because of his speed and ability to separate from defensive backs, which will certainly be a valuable trait in the NFL.
Overall, things are starting to piece together and the picture is coming into focus for the Seahawks. They're gearing up for another competitive year and will surely be a team to watch out for as they quest to repeat as world champions.
J.R. Sweezy and James Carpenter Are Locked in as Seattle's Starting Guards
Tom Cable has been mum on who'll be starting where across his O-line, but he recently gave away that James Carpenter and J. R. Sweezy will be at the top of the depth chart (via Terry Blount, ESPN.com). Sweezy is a logical pick given his level of play from last year, but the confidence in Carpenter is a little surprising, though it's totally understandable.
He struggled with a nagging injury throughout 2013, but the coaches are finally saying he's healthy and ready to go. Carpenter has attributed his recent ascent to his ability to actually run this offseason—something he could not do much of last year while struggling with a knee injury.
The team sent him a clear message when it opted not to pick up the fifth year option of his contract. It seems like Carpenter has done nothing but improve and impress since, and may not be a bad option at guard after all.
Paul Richardson Impressing, Will Add New Dimension to Offense
When Paul Richardson was drafted, he wasn't expected to be a big piece of Seattle's offense right away, but he's proving that maybe the expectations of him were wrong.
Richardson displayed blazing speed at the 2014 combine, and that speed will be what brings him playing time. Stephen Cohen noted in a recent write-up that he's been able to get downfield and separate from defenders easily, which should open up Seattle's playbook even more.
Richardson is looking like he'll be a legitimate vertical threat for the Seahawks, which will act as a nice complement to Percy Harvin, Doug Baldwin and Sidney Rice.
Terrelle Pryor Primed to Be Russell Wilson's Backup
Terrelle Pryor had an up-and-down career with the Oakland Raiders, but could find some success in a backup role with the Seahawks. According to Jim Trotter, Pryor actually has a "legit shot" to earn the right to be Russell Wilson's backup.
Tarvaris Jackson has been a quality backup, but Pryor definitely offers more as an overall weapon, though Jackson is the superior passer. Even so, Pryor has time to sharpen his skills as a passer before the season starts and the preseason will be the real test.
Pryor's elite athleticism and maturing passing abilities look like they'll add up to a backup role with the team, which will allow him to grow and learn under Wilson. If he performs well, then there's little doubt he'll end up as the No. 2 quarterback in Seattle.
It's a favorable situation for both sides as Pryor can sit and develop while they groom a pretty good backup who could potentially come in and play well if Wilson were to go down.
Byron Maxwell Emerging as Next Star Defensive Back in Seattle
Byron Maxwell came on strong for Seattle at the end of last season, and parlayed that performance into a starting role. He already started to break out as a true star toward the end of last season, but expect him to truly have a breakout year in 2014.
Maxwell showed some finesse in minicamp recently when he recorded an athletic pick of Russell Wilson along the sideline (via Clare Farnsworth).
He'll be depended on as a starter from opening day and will surely maintain the continuity Seattle had with Brandon Browner. Maxwell is a big-bodied corner who plays physical and smart in coverage. He's not a damaging tackler like Browner, but can definitely lay the lumber and bring a receiver down.
Maxwell will be playing for a new contract in 2014, and my bet is that he delivers, earning himself a nice payday after the season.
Marshawn Lynch Finally Showed Up for Practice, and That's OK
It's safe to say Marshawn Lynch is considered a veteran player, and it's not weird for veterans to skip OTAs. Given the 1,200-yard, 12 touchdown season he turned in in 2013, it's also safe to say he's pretty comfortable within his role as the team's starter.
It was never a big deal that he was a no-show for those activities, and all the retirement talk seemed more like an attempted offseason storyline than anything. That's not to say Lynch doesn't still want (and deserve) more money, but there was never any doubt he would suit up for the team in 2014.
Plus, he saves himself about $70,000 in fines that would've been served to him for missing the team's mandatory minicamp.
Lynch will definitely be the same bruising runner he always has been once the season starts, though Seattle won't want to make him wait much longer for a raise.
If he can replicate or even improve upon his numbers from last season, the Seahawks will have a hard time declining his request.