The Seattle Seahawks have followed their first Super Bowl-winning season with a brilliant offseason.
The Seahawks secured key cogs -- cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas -- with contract extension, as well as adding to coach Pete Carroll's deal. That’s what elite teams do. They keep their own. They don’t let the players most responsible for success get away.
The San Francisco 49ers -- arguably the NFL’s second-best team behind the NFC West rival Seahawks -- realize this. San Francisco general manager Trent Baalke preaches the virtue of “keeping your own” nearly every time he speaks publicly.
Now that the Seahawks have done so much fine work securing their own, it should serve as motivation to the 49ers to get their own work done -- and there’s plenty to do.
The two biggest deals facing the 49ers are quarterback Colin Kaepernick and coach Jim Harbaugh. The two are major reasons the 49ers are an elite team and why there is so much hope for the future. Kaepernick is entering the final year of his deal and Harbaugh has two seasons remaining.
The 49ers, who also soon have to address deals for receiver Michael Crabtree, guard Mike Iupati and pass-rusher Aldon Smith, have talked to both men about new deals. No extensions appear imminent, but they are certainly on the horizon. The 49ers have no choice. They must get these deals done at some point to maintain their level of excellence.
If they ever lose that vision, all they have to do is look up at the Seahawks and see what they are doing with an eye on the future.