The Seattle Seahawks traded Michael Bennett on Wednesday afternoon, signaling a roster reconstruction to come in the days ahead.
All good things come to an end. For fans of the Seattle Seahawks, they are currently re-learning that lesson the hard way.
The first sign was both coordinators being let go in January. Then, on Wednesday, the Seahawks traded Michael Bennett to the Philadelphia Eagles, a three-time Pro Bowl defensive end off the roster. General manager John Schneider saved $2.2 million with the move, while incurring $5.175 million in dead money.
In other words, this wasn’t about saving a few million. It was about getting younger and moving forward.
In the coming weeks, Seattle will continue to shed its championship skin. The Seahawks will either cut or trade former All-Pro corner Richard Sherman, a 29-year-old future Hall of Famer. Sherman is a cap savings of $11 million, and after a torn Achilles in 2017, the time has come to let him go.
Then there are Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor. Both veterans have neck injuries that could force them into premature retirement, and in Chancellor’s case, potentially giving us one of the all-time what ifs. Chancellor was a brilliant, versatile safety who could seemingly do anything on a football field, and now he’s poised to become a memory.
Factor in the likely departures of Sheldon Richardson and Jimmy Graham in free agency, and a team once defined by annual Super Bowl dreams will suddenly be a work zone.
For Seattle, the future is going to revolve around Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner. At 29 years old, Wilson needs more help than in prior years, particularly giving him a quality offensive line. Last year, the former Wisconsin star took a beating, and ended up leading the team with 586 yards on 95 attempts. Many of those were not by design.
Wilson’s current deal runs through the 2019 season, when he is owed $25 million. Afterwards, Schneider and his Super Bowl-winner quarterback will be hammering out one more major deal, hopefully with a long-term vision coming into focus.
Defensively, Wagner is the future. The Seahawks have other pillars in Earl Thomas, K.J. Wright and Frank Clark, but the defense will unquestionably run through the man in the middle. With the Legion of Boom being blown to bits, the front seven will become the identity of Ken Norton Jr.’s group.
For the Seahawks, a run of unparalleled excellence in their franchise history is ending. A new day is coming for the Emerald City, one that is equal parts inevitable and painful.