Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Can the Seattle Seahawks Build the Next NFL Dynasty Following Super Bowl Win?

After the Seattle Seahawks’ dominating and somewhat surprising Super Bowl performance over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos 43-8, the question on everyone’s mind is whether this team can construct the next NFL dynasty.  The last true dynasty to emerge in professional football was Tom Brady and his New England Patriots, who came to fruition a decade ago and are still very competitive to this day.  But Tom Brady never abused a team in a Super Bowl quite like what we just witnessed, and I suspect that 31 NFL teams are absolutely terrified about competing with the Seahawks in the near future.  Is Seattle going to be unbeatable?
They seem to have all the pieces of the puzzle: A great hard-hitting defense, a strong running game, and a quarterback capable of making plays when necessary.  Perhaps the most important hint that Seattle should find future success is their young age and promising careers up ahead, though as we will discuss, this could become their downfall as well.
The Seattle Seahawks have taken advantage of several great recent drafts and used free agency to fill the voids in order to make this team incredible.  While the early success of star players like Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, Malcolm Smith, and Russell Wilson is an absolute joy to see, it will present a major problem in roughly 2 years.  Still on their rookie contracts, these key players make up just a miniscule fraction of the team’s salary cap.  But when it comes time for their first paydays, the team will be scrambling to manage their salary cap.
Because of these talented and cheap youngsters, Seattle has used their money on many highly prized free agents in the last few years, including Cliff Avril, Sidney Rice, Red Bryant, Chris Clemons, Percy Harvin, Marshawn Lynch, Brandon Mebane, and Zach Miller.  With each of these players making over $5million, there will be little room for re-signing their superstars unless drastic cuts are made.  Unfortunately, they may begin this year, as playmaking wide receivers like Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin are free agents.  Pass rusher Michael Bennett (who led the team in sacks) is a free agent, as are cornerbacks Walter Thurmond and Brandon Browner.  There is simply too much talent on this team for the general manager to afford.  And while that may seem to be a good problem to have, it could also destroy this roster.
After the celebration and merriment in Seattle concludes, they will have to make adjustments.  The team needs to focus on who their true stars are (Wilson, Sherman, Chancellor, Thomas, and Lynch in my opinion) and focus their big-money contracts on them.  The majority of the rest will either have to make serious financial compromises or take their talents and their paydays elsewhere!  While it will be hard for Seattle to replicate this type of success with new players, this has become the standard for the NFL in the salary cap era, and the Seahawks will have to put faith in their ability to keep drafting playmakers in the future.  Only if they can continue to find impact players through the draft will this team be able to survive its impending departures and truly establish a dynasty.  With the modern NFL having such an even playing field and with its salary cap complications, creating a dynasty is harder now than ever.  But after witnessing last night’s beat down, I think anything is possible with this Seahawks team!
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