NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 19: A general view of atmosphere during the unveiling of the NIKE+ FuelBand at Highline Stages on January 19, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Seahawks Offseason: New Nike Uniforms to be Unveiled April 3rd; Seahawks Lock Up Red Bryant

Also: with the Colts release of Peyton Manning, are the Seahawks an option for the future hall of famer?

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Seattle Seahawks Sign Red Bryant To Five-Year, $35 Million Deal

The Seattle Seahawks have signed Red Bryant to a $35 million deal for five years.

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March Deadlines Have Potential To Reshape the Seattle Sports Landscape

Imagine a world where Seattle has professional teams in all five major sports: The National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, and Major League Soccer.

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NFL Free Agency 2012: Seahawks Facing Uncertain Future With David Hawthorne, Leroy Hill

The Seattle Seahawks have some big decisions to make in the coming weeks as free agency looms. With quite a few of their starters eligible for free agency, including star running back Marshawn Lynch, the team will have to be savvy with their spending if they hope to keep their roster intact. While just about everyone expects the team to re-sign Lynch and defensive end Red Bryant, linebackers David Hawthorne and Leroy Hill have less certain futures.

ESPN 710 Seattle has the latest update:

During a conversation with Brock Huard and Chris Egan on Thursday, Danny O'Neil of The Seattle Times expressed some uncertainty about the team re-signing Hill and Hawthorne. He noted that the current administration has yet to make a major financial commitment to a linebacker and cited Lofa Tatupu and Aaron Curry as examples of high-priced players that general manager John Schneider has jettisoned.

"We've seen him get rid of guys that this team has made big financial investments to," O'Neil said. "We haven't seen, is he someone that thinks that a linebacker (is a player) that you replenish through the draft? Does he believe in having veterans come back?"

Hill cited his familiarity with the organization as the reason he returned to the Seahawks last season on a one-year deal paying him the veteran minimum of $685,000. He should be in line for a nice raise following a strong season. Hill, 29, made 89 tackles and had four sacks while playing in all 16 games for the first time in his seven-year career.

Hawthorne, 26, made 115 tackles to lead the team for the third straight season. He had three interceptions, including one he returned 77 yards for a touchdown. A knee injury caused him to miss Week 1 and limited his mobility throughout the season. Hawthorne made a base salary of $900,000 as part of a one-year extension he signed in November of 2010.

There are some with the belief that rookie K.J. Wright had a strong enough rookie season to allow the franchise to become comfortable with letting Hawthorne go to a different team. Head coach Pete Carroll has also praised Wright's versatility, saying he could fill in for either player should they go elsewhere.

The uncertainty should be at least somewhat concerning to Seahawks fans. After they saw the unit rank in the top-10 in scoring defense and yards allowed, it is an unsettling thought to see two of their talented linebackers leave in 2012.

For more on the Seahawks, head on over to Field Gulls.

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2012 Seahawks Opponents: A Quick Look

The Seahawks 2011 season is over with a third place finish in the NFC West. With the third-place finish comes a third place schedule and though the dates and order of the games haven't yet been announced, the opponents have been.

At home, the Seahawks will face, of course, the three NFC West divisional rivals, the Arizona Cardinals, the San Francisco 49ers, and the St. Louis Rams. In addition to those obvious matchups, the Seahawks will host the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings, the Dallas Cowboys, the New England Patriots, and the New York Jets

As for their away games, naturally the Hawks will travel to Arizona to take on the Cardinals, San Francisco to face the 49ers, and St. Louis to play the Rams. They will also travel to play the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers, Buffalo Bills, and the Miami Dolphins.

Let's take a little bit closer look at the teams they'll face next season.

The NFC West is definitely a division on the rise. After being a bit of an embarrassment to the NFL last season while sending a 7-9 team to the playoffs with a home game, the NFC West secured the number two seed with a 13-3 San Francisco 49er team and had two more, the Seahawks and Cardinals, that were still in the Wild Card Playoff hunt until Week 16. The Hawks will face off twice against each of these teams and gone are the days where you could almost automatically count "W's" when looking forward on the schedule.

The Seahawks match up well with the 49ers, and both teams have a pretty similar makeup. Both teams have tough, run-stopping defenses and balanced, smashmouth offensive philosophies. Both of their games this season were close and hard fought, and I would expect much of the same next season. The 49ers swept the season head-to-head this year by winning both games, but I wouldn't expect the same results next year. I would expect the 49ers to re-sign Alex Smith and their offense will continue to lean on him to distribute the ball to Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter, Michael Crabtree, and elite TE Vernon Davis. Their defense is likely to stay very strong as well, so San Francisco will be the team to beat next year in the division.

The Cardinals started the season very poorly, going 1-6 through seven weeks but then finished the year out strong for an 8-8 record and a 2nd place finish in the division. They should continue to improve in the run game with the return of 2011 2nd round pick Ryan Williams to pair with already excellent Beanie Wells. Kevin Kolb is likely to return more ingrained into the offense and improved, and I would expect a quicker start for this Arizona team next season. Oh, and they have this guy named Larry Fitzgerald that is pretty good at football. Patrick Peterson is emerging as an elite cornerback and kick returner, and there's a good chance Arizona will be a very tough football team in 2012.

The Rams are once again the cellar-dwellers after a 2-14 season. They will undergo a full coaching makeover with the departure of head coach Steve Spagnolo and OC Josh McDaniels, and Sam Bradford will have to learn his third new offense in this third season. That said, they have some young talent on their roster and if they can recover from some key injuries, they could surprise some teams. Not to mention, they now hold the #2 pick in the Draft this year, and will undoubtedly pick up a premiere talent with that pick. I can't say that St. Louis is going to be a cakewalk next year.

The Seahawks, somehow, managed to grab a pretty tough schedule at home next year despite the third-place finish. Let's start out with the most obvious two - Green Bay and New England.

Green Bay is the immediate favorite to win it all this season with their 15-1 record and will likely be very dangerous next season as well. They're an offensive Juggernaut but don't possess a great pass defense. When you face Green Bay, typically, it's going to be a race to score more points than them but if the Seahawks can put together some long drives, maintain ball possession, and keep Aaron Rodgers and company on the sideline, they would have a chance. With ARod, Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, James Starks, and most of their stars on defense all returning, this will be a game to circle on your calendar.

New England is another favorite for the Super Bowl this season after a 13-3 regular season campaign. Like Green Bay, the Patriots enjoy one of the most prolific offenses in the game and struggle a bit on defense. Your only hope is to contain Tom Brady and his main offensive weapons, particularly Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker. Good luck, Seahawks. Regardless, should be a fun game and a solid test for the young Seahawks next year.

The Hawks get some respite at home by hosting the Minnesota Vikings, a team that will be led by soon to be-sophomore Christian Ponder and elite running back Adrian Peterson. The Vikings finished 3-13 this season and this will be one of those games that everyone assumes the Seahawks will handle with ease. Compared to New England and Green Bay, sure, but this is a dangerous team with a very good pass rush and some weapons on offense.

The Hawks host the Jets next year and this game should provide some interesting storylines. There is still that lingering bitterness apparent between Mark Sanchez and Pete Carroll, after Carroll voiced his opposition to Sanchez's decision to go pro. Rex Ryan is interesting, albeit fairly obnoxious, and the Jets share a similar identity as a hard nosed defense and ball-control offense. It should be a fun game between two teams that match up well with each other.

Left on the home schedule are the Cowboys. The Seahawks went to Dallas this season and lost a tough one, and Dallas is likely to be an improved team next season. Look out for DeMarco Murray, and the Seahawks will surely have their hands full with Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. It's always fun to play 'America's Team' and this game will be something to look forward to.

On the road again. No rest for the weary as the Seahawks will face tough tests at an improving Miami team, an exciting Carolina squad, will travel AGAIN to Chicago, face a very strong Detroit team, and travel to the cold north of Buffalo.

First off, seriously? The Seahawks have to go to Chicago again? For the fourth time in two years, the Seahawks will travel to Soldier Field to take on the Bears, in what's becoming, by default of frequency of matchup, a pretty good rivalry. The Hawks have won two of three there and will look to make it three of four, but this time should have a bit tougher time of it with an assumption that Jay Cutler will be under center. That said, it's looking like a new offensive coordinator and system change in Chicago is in order, so hopefully that will cause problems for the Bears' offense. Their defense, on the other hand, should continue to be very strong.

The Dophins will have a new coaching staff and have question marks at quarterback. Will they stick with Matt Moore, who came on strong in the end of the season? Will they draft a QB? Sign a free agent? Much change can be expected there but make no mistake, the Dolphins have some weapons on offense, including Reggie Bush, Brandon Marshall, and Davone Bess. Daniel Thomas will have a chance to come on strong in his second season, and the Seahawks shouldn't overlook this team despite their eventual 6-10 record from this season.

Carolina finished 6-10 this season but showed that Cam Newton is the real deal. Newton set all kinds of rookie records and if Carolina can improve on defense a bit, could be a very dangerous team. They are very, very young and I am actually pretty excited about this matchup. I have no doubt that Carolina will be a much improved team in 2012 and may threaten for the playoffs. Look out for DE Charles Johnson on defense, and WR Steve Smith on offense, with rushing stalwarts DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart returning. This game will be no cake-walk.

Buffalo finished the season in a tail-spin after a very strong start, but also have some impressive weapons on offense, particularly Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. They have a nice young receiving corps and it will be interesting to see if Ryan Fitzpatrick remains their starting QB. Should be an interesting matchup.

Finally, Detroit. Obviously, a scary team on offense that will retain an extremely strong defensive line, anchored by Ndomakong Suh and Nick Fairly. Their pass defense is actually pretty good, and this team is a few pieces away from being elite. They are very young, and should only continue to improve. Circle this game on your calendar as well, because it should be a great one at Ford Field in MoTown.

For more on this and other Seahawks' news, make sure you check out Field Gulls.


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A Look At The Seahawks Free Agents for 2012

The Seahawks have 18 unrestricted free agents to consider re-signing or letting walk once the NFL's league year ends and free agency begins, and several restricted and exclusive rights free agents as well. Several of them are key players. Several of them are leaders. Several of them you've probably never heard of. Let's take a look at who they are, and whether or not they should be, and possibly will be, priorities for the Seahawks. Tip of the Cap to the readers of Field Gulls for putting this list together and discussing as well, make sure you head over there to join in.

First up...

Exclusive Rights Free Agents
1. Kennard Cox, CB 

2. Clinton McDonald, DT

An Exclusive Rights Free Agent is an 'NFL player who is not under contract, but has only two years of NFL experience. If his former club makes him an offer at the three year veteran minimum salary, then that's it, he has to take it or leave the NFL. These guys have no right to negotiate with other teams. They are "free" only in the sense that they're free to quit.'

Kennard Cox is a special teams ace whose one and only role is for just that - special teams. He was brought back to the team after being initially released, but after the Seahawks surrendered several big special teams returns, most notably at San Francisco to Ted Ginn Jr., he was brought back. That said, I think it will be a similar situation for him next year, and he'll likely have to beat out higher-upside players like Ron Parker and Byron Maxwell to retain his spot on the 53-man roster.

Should he be re-signed? Yes. A lot depends wholly on the development of the above-mentioned corners Parker and Maxwell and their ability to play that role. Will he be re-signed? Yes, but I doubt he will make the final 53-man roster.

Clinton McDonald was acquired for Kelly Jennings at the start of last season, and played a pretty large role in the defensive line rotation for Seattle this season. He's 24, and has a lot of upside. Simply put, he will be retained, as he should.

Restricted Free Agents
1. Roy Lewis, CB
2. Stephen Hauschka, PK

Restricted free agents may negotiate with other teams, but the Seahawks have the right to match any offers. Roy Lewis is a former UDFA out of Washington that is the primary nickelback for the Seahawks. He'll often replace an OLB in passing downs, and he acquitted himself well enough in that role this season. That said, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Seahawks let him walk. Seattle has a stable of young, athletic and physical cornerbacks and with the eventual return of Walter Thurmond, Lewis becomes somewhat expendable. The exciting potential of Maxwell, Parker, Philip Adams, and most likely a draft pick or undrafted free agent next season means Lewis will have to play extremely well in camp to retain his job, if he re-signs.

Stephen Hauschka will likely be retained after connecting for 25 of 30 field goals this season. He's a solid kicker with some upside and he's still only 26.

Unrestricted Free Agents
1. Charlie Whitehurst, QB --
2. Marshawn Lynch, RB -- 

3. Justin Forsett, RB -- 

4. Michael Robinson, RB -- 

5. John Carlson, TE -- 

6. Breno Giacomini, T -- 

7. Mike Gibson, G --
8. Paul McQuistan, G/T --
9. Raheem Brock, DE --
10. Red Bryant, DE --
11. Jimmy Wilkerson, DE --
12. Anthony Hargrove, DE/DT --
13. David Hawthorne, LB --
14. Leroy Hill, LB -- 

15. Heath Farwell, LB --
16. David Vobora, LB -- 

17. Matt McCoy, LB -- 

18. Atari Bigby, S --

That leaves the 18 unrestricted free agents currently on Seattle's roster. Let's run through them.

Charlie Whitehurst may return, but gone is the idea that he's a potential quarterback of the future for this franchise. If he is re-signed, he'll take a modest contract with the idea that he'll be a designated backup. That said, I don't think he'll be back and I don't think the Seahawks should bring him back. I believe they'll Draft a QB or sign another young Free Agent with some upside, or both, and that Whitehurst will not have a spot on the team.

Marshawn Lynch earned himself some money this season by rushing for over 1000 yards and scoring 12 rushing touchdowns. He's the MVP of the Seahawks offense and is the cornerstone on which they built it this season. I believe the Seahawks should re-sign Lynch, and I think they will.

Justin Forsett had a rough season, and despite the fact he's a respected leader in the locker room, I don't think he should or will be back. I believe the Seahawks will look to continue to get younger, and Forsett's lack of upside will make him expendable. I could see Seattle drafting a RB in the mid-rounds to take his spot, or possibly picking up a young free agent.

Michael Robinson will be back. He loves it here, he's beloved by his teammates, and he doesn't seem like the type of guy to bolt for a little more money. The Seahawks will give him a modest contract, but fullbacks don't make a lot of money in the first place. Robinson has a place on this team and is a big part of the offense, and the team will reward him for his service the past two years.

John Carlson is definitely the wild-card. The Seahawks still proclaim that they have high hopes for the Zach Miller - John Carlson 2TE tandem in their offense and frankly, I believe them. I think that the two of them both provide legitimate dual-threat looks and would give offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell something very versatile to work with. That said, Carlson is likely able to start on another team so it may come down to how much he likes it in Seattle, and whether he can stand sitting behind Zach Miller. The Seahawks will try to hard-sell the "Gronk-Hernandez" combination or something along those lines but ultimately won't give him big money. I would love to see the Seahawks re-sign Carlson but I just don't know if it's in the cards. As of now, I don't see it happening.

Breno Giacomini played well as a backup right tackle in the early part of the season and held his own as starter when James Carpenter went down. I believe the Seahawks will look to re-sign him, and I think they'll get it done.

Mike Gibson was brought back as depth and as a backup center to Max Unger at the end of the season, after John Moffitt and James Carpenter went down. I doubt the Hawks will resign him, instead opting to rely on Lemuel Jeanpierre as depth at C and looking to develop or possibly draft another guard.

Paul McQuistan will likely be back. He's versatile, hard-working, and played at three positions along the offensive line this season. The Seahawks should, and will, re-sign him to a modest veteran contract. He'll stick with the team that believed in him.

Raheem Brock will probably not be back. He's not getting any younger, and the Seahawks will look to develop their young defensive ends in Dexter Davis and Jameson Konz. It's believed they'll look to draft a DE this season as well, possibly early. I figure that Brock's days are numbered here, but I've been wrong before.

Jimmy Wilkerson. I have no idea. He impressed in camp and apparently the Seahawks had big plans for him. He was on the injured reserve all season and he's also not getting any younger at 31. Again, I really have no idea if Wilkerson will be back. I kind of doubt it, but that's just a wild guess.

Anthony Hargrove provided a nice spark in the defensive line rotation for the Seahawks this year and is a leader in the locker room. I could see the Hawks giving him another year or two, but that's about it.

David Hawthorne will likely be re-signed. He's a leader, both statistically and in the locker room, and will likely come relatively cheap. I could see him giving the Seahawks a 'hometown discount' as well. He'll likely be back, but the Seahawks will need to start looking toward the future at MLB regardless.

LeRoy Hill is another huge question mark. He started for the Seahawks all year and played well. He's a veteran, and will likely too come cheap. I imagine the Hawks would look to sign him to a one, two year deal max so it's probably a case of how much he is looking to get paid. My guess is he'll leave.

Finishing up with some special teams contributors - Heath Farwell will be back. He's made some huge plays on special teams and the Seahawks front office takes this aspect of the game very seriously. David Vobora and Matt McCoy are probably mutually exclusive - if McCoy is willing to stay on a cheap veteran contract he'll probably have the advantage over Vobora but I could see both competing next season on one-year deals.

Atari Bigby will likely not be back, though I wouldn't mind him on another one-year deal. I figure the team will makes way for the development of Jeron Johnson, Chris Maragos, and Philip Adams. I could see the team drafting a young strong safety in the mid-rounds this year and likely pick up a UDFA or two at the position as well.

Well, that's my take. It will be very interesting to see which Seahawks' free agents the team brings back for next year.

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