LA Rams face wide open NFC West in 2023
By Bret Stuter
Seahawks have a difficult choice to make in 2023
The next team to consider in the NFC West is the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks were a team that were far better than expected, finishing with a 9-8 record after dealing away their franchise quarterback, Russell Wilson. Not only that, but this was a team that did not bring back All-Pro inside linebacker Bobby Wagner, a player who eventually signed with the LA Rams. Despite their willingness to divest of their seasoned veterans, the Seahawks proved to be a far more resilient team than originally expected.
But before we praise the Seahawks too highly, let's point out some inconvenient facts. Four of the Seattle Seahawks nine wins came against the LA Rams (5-12) and the Arizona Cardinals (4-13). In fact, it was the easy schedule that ultimately paved the way for the Seahawks success, as the team benefitted from an NFL fourth-place schedule in their 2022 NFL season schedule.
Seahawks offseason strategy is not as simple as you may think
The Seahawks were led by a surprisingly effective quarterback Geno Smith, who significantly outplayed his contracted price of $3.5 million. That will be corrected this offseason, as Smith is projected to hit the NFL Free Agency Market, and is expected to fetch somewhere in the market of ten times that amount, or $35-40 million per year. That will significantly impact the Seahawks ability to re-sign a host of contributing players whose contracts have expired. Right now, the Seahawks are projected to have $31 million of available salary cap space in the 2023 NFL season. Extending Geno Smith will all but exhaust that surplus.
The Seattle Seahawks are loaded for bear in the 2023 NFL Draft. Per Tankathon.com, the Seahawks enjoy nine draft picks, and two of those fall in the first round. But here's the fun:
While the Seahawks will likely end Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft with five rookie additions to their roster, the Seahawks will be forced to cough up over $14 million in the first year of salary cap space for those rookie additions. The trick is, that is the cost whether or not any of those rookies take the football field in their first season.
Right now, the Seahawks have 48 players under contract with $31 million of available cap space. But even to extend their quarterback and to sign their 2023 rookie draft class, the Seahawks are likely looking at a commitment of nearly $50 million. Barring some accounting tricks of the trade, they will want to weigh free agent signings carefully. Their success in 2022 has created a bit of a challenge for the team. Originally, this was a team that was committed to rebuilding. Now? The lure of trying to compete for the NFL Playoffs may prove to be too tempting, which could derail their present plans as well as the quality of their future as well.