The 2012 league year begins in 10 days, on March 13 which is the first day of free agency. Until that day teams can re-sign their own players but no matter how hard they try to keep all their own talent in house, some players will inevitably showcase their talents elsewhere.
The Seattle Seahawks, who are coming off a 7-9 season in which they won five of their last eight games, are one of the teams that could benefit from signing a couple free agents would definitely help their cause in 2012 by bringing back their own guys. Pro Football Weekly recently came out with their top 100 free agents and on that list there are five potential former Seahawks.
The first on the list is running back Marshawn Lynch, who comes in at No. 17.
Lynch was the tone setter for the Seahawks' offense in 2011, rushing for a career-best 1,204 yards and 12 TDs. He is still relatively young, and his punishing style would endear him to teams looking for a tough focal point for their running game. The Seahawks figure to work to bring him back. The knocks on Lynch? He has encountered some off-field trouble in the past. Also, how much longer can he play at a high level, considering his running style?
The second Seahawks player on the list is defensive end Red Bryant, who comes in at No. 50.
A giant defensive end, Bryant is an excellent run stuffer. He is also a difference maker on special teams; note his two blocked field goals at Cleveland in a 6-3 Seattle loss last season. Though he is not much of a pass rusher, he fits Seattle's scheme very well.
The next player on the list is middle linebacker David Hawthorne, who comes in at No. 59.
Hawthorne has led the Seahawks in tackles in each of the past three seasons. The question is: Will Seattle re-sign him or veteran LB Leroy Hill? There are some questions about Hawthorne's durability.
Next is tight end John Carlson, who comes in at No. 61.
Carlson missed the 2011 season with a shoulder injury, but he has been productive when healthy. He could be a nice value signing if he is able to return to his pre-injury form.
The last Seahawks player on the list is fullback Michael Robinson, who comes in at No. 97.
The one-time collegiate quarterback earned Pro Bowl honors as a blocker in 2011. He also is an exceptional special-teams player.
The Seahawks are a quarterback away from having a solid team and competing in the NFC West. If they re-sign their own players, draft well and maybe pick up one or two free agents, they could find themselves in the playoffs in 2012.
For more on the Seahawks, head to Field Gulls.