The Seattle Seahawks open training camp on July 25 at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Washington. Here's a closer look at a few storylines:
When Clark and Reed combined for 23.5 sacks last season, defensive line looked as though it could be one of the strongest position groups on Seattle's roster heading into 2019. But Clark's trade to Kansas City and Reed's six-game suspension leave this as easily the Seahawks' most suspect unit -- even more so than a secondary with no more original Legion of Boomers remaining. If Ezekiel Ansah were healthy, it would be reasonable to think he could produce a season similar to what Clark had in 2018, but Ansah is recovering from shoulder surgery and might not be ready by Week 1. The Seahawks drafted L.J. Collier with the first-round pick they got for Clark, but recent history tells us that only so much can be expected of a rookie pass-rusher drafted outside of the top 15. You've heard of a "backfield-by-committee" plan; the Seahawks might have to go "sacks-by-committee" with other players like Poona Ford, Quinton Jefferson, Cassius Marsh, Barkevious Mingo, Jacob Martin and Rasheem Green pitching in along with whatever veteran defensive tackle Seattle adds to compete for a roster spot in light of Reed's suspension. As for replacing Earl Thomas, rookie second-round pick Marquise Blair will get every opportunity to start at one of the safety spots alongside Bradley McDougald. Neither Blair nor veterans Delano Hill or Tedric Thompson distinguished himself over the offseason program, so this will be one of the most wide-open position battles in camp.
How soon will Bobby Wagner's extension get done?
On one hand, extending their best defensive player and perhaps the best linebacker in the NFL is a no-brainer. Why would the Seahawks trade Frank Clark in lieu of paying him more than $20 million a season if they weren't going to re-sign Wagner instead? But C.J. Mosley's bloated contract pushes the presumptive price to north of $17 million. That is a complicating factor, as is the fact that Wagner is representing himself, meaning he'll have to navigate negotiations without the expertise and the buffer of an agent. Nevertheless, there’s confidence in the organization that a deal will get done. Ideally, the two sides would have an agreement before July 25 or Wagner would continue negotiating amid the grind of camp. Wagner was present but didn't practice during the offseason program.
How much will Russell Wilson miss Doug Baldwin?
Tyler Lockett averaged a career-best 16.9 yards per catch last season, sixth-best in the NFL. Only two receivers helped their quarterback earn a higher passer rating on go routes in 2018 than David Moore, according to Pro Football Focus. DK Metcalf has a massive frame and 4.33 speed. Fellow rookie Gary Jennings Jr. can run, too. Wilson's best strength might be his deep ball and he'll have no shortage of vertical threats. Less clear is which of them can do the things that Baldwin did so well, like creating instant separation with his quick releases and using his feel for defenses to get open underneath. Baldwin had a dog mentality and seven years' worth of trust built up with Wilson. Those aren't easily replaced. Expect Lockett to take over some of Baldwin's slot duties while Keenan Reynolds, John Ursua and Terry Wright compete for a spot there.
Carson is coming off a 1,151-yard, nine-touchdown season and figures to be the No. 1 option as long as he's healthy. That's an important qualifier. He drew rave reviews from Carroll for his physical fitness upon returning for offseason work but was sidelined for OTAs and minicamp following a knee procedure. His injury history dating back to college helps explain why the Seahawks spent a first-round pick on Penny in 2018. Penny should have a bigger role than he did as a rookie now that Mike Davis is gone, and Seattle's commitment to running should leave him with an opportunity to make an impact. But it may still be a complementary role unless Carson is sidelined again.
What’s in store for Shaquill and Shaquem Griffin?
The twins are each at something of a crossroad in their careers. Shaquill gave himself a barely passing grade for his 2018 season, saying he overextended himself because he was too focused on making plays while replacing Richard Sherman at left cornerback. He has a different mindset and a lighter frame after dropping 12 pounds this offseason, and he's entering the all-important third year, meaning he'll be eligible for an extension at season's end. Shaquem, meanwhile, is moving from weakside linebacker to the strong side as he tries to keep hold of a roster spot. He'll also get a chance to rush off the edge, meaning his role is similar to the one he had at UCF. But with a strong trio of starting linebackers and two draft picks in the mix, he appears to be squarely on the roster bubble.