NFL Nation's Terry Blount examines the three biggest issues facing the Seattle Seahawks heading into training camp.
Replacing some key losses: Ten players who were part of the Super Bowl roster are gone, and that doesn’t include cornerback Brandon Browner, who was suspended at the time. Six of those players were starters and nine of them had significant playing time during the season. But it sounds far worse than it is. All Super Bowl teams lose players, who see their value increase with other teams. For the most part, the Seahawks kept the players they wanted to keep. Seattle lost receiver Golden Tate but have added two talented rookie draft picks in Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood, not to mention having a 100 percent healthy Percy Harvin. They released defensive ends Red Bryant and Chris Clemons for salary-cap reasons, but they also saw both men as players on the downside of their careers. And they drafted talented defensive lineman Cassius Marsh of UCLA, a relentless pass-rusher who also can play inside. Seattle also drafted Missouri offensive tackle Justin Britt as a possible replacement for right tackle Breno Giacomini, who signed with the New York Jets. Britt is battling second-year player Michael Bowie for the starting spot. How all the new pieces fit remains to be seen, but the Seahawks did better than most Super Bowl winners in keeping the core group together and rewarding their top players (free safety Earl Thomas, cornerback Richard Sherman, receiver Doug Baldwin and defensive end Michael Bennett) with new deals.
The health of four key players: Strong safety Kam Chancellor and outside linebacker Bruce Irvin had offseason hip surgery. On this team more than most, hip surgery is a scary thought considering what happened last year, when Harvin missed most of the season after hip surgery. Outside linebacker Malcolm Smith, the Super Bowl MVP, had ankle surgery and offensive tackle Russell Okung had surgery to repair a torn ligament in a big toe, an injury that caused him to miss half of last season. All of them except Irvin are expected to be on the field to start training camp, but we won’t know for sure until we see them on the field. The main thing, of course, is to have them healthy for the start of the regular season, so look for them to take it slow in camp.
Can the Seahawks keep Lynch happy?: After all the talk on whether he would show up for minicamp, running back Marshawn Lynch was there, but only as an observer. Officially, he had a sore ankle. Unofficially, he has a beef over his contract, wanting more money up front from the Seahawks. Lynch hasn’t spoken on the subject. But others have, including his close friend, former Seattle fullback Michael Robinson, who has advised Lynch on the pros and cons of his desires to get his contact reworked in some fashion. Everyone was all smiles at minicamp, but will it last if Lynch doesn't get what he wants? Lynch is in the third year of a four-year deal worth $30 million. He is scheduled to make $5 million in base salary this year and $5.5 million in 2015. The Seahawks won’t give Lynch a new contract, but he attended the minicamp in good faith, believing the team will do a little something to change his number for this season. The question is what happens if they don’t? Does Lynch take a stand and skip part of training camp, or does he just let it go and continue to let Beast Mode do the talking for him?