Unger had been scheduled to reach unrestricted free agency in March 2013. He's now off the market. Other key players along the offensive line, including tackle Russell Okung and guard John Moffitt, are also signed for the long term. Right tackle Breno Giacomini has a deal through 2013.
While the Seahawks have been known for making wholesale personnel changes under coach Pete Carroll, this deal affirms their willingness to build around select players inherited from the team's previous leadership. A long-term deal for defensive end Red Bryant provides another example.
The Seahawks probably wouldn't sign an offensive lineman to a meaningful extension without strong support from assistant head coach/offensive line Tom Cable. Unger obviously fits the Cable mold. This from general manager John Schneider, via a team statement: "Pete and I are excited to lock up a young core leader on our offense. Max's consistent and professional approach to his job transcends the locker room and the huddle."
Unger is the second Seattle starter to sign a contract this week, joining veteran defensive end Chris Clemons, who also could have become a free agent after the season. Defensive linemen Jason Jones and Alan Branch are signed through 2012 only. Jones is entering the first year of a one-year deal. Branch played well last season after signing from Arizona in free agency.
Looking further ahead, strong safety Kam Chancellor could be a candidate for a new contract. His deal runs through 2013, however, so there is time. Two surprise players from last season, Doug Baldwin and Brandon Browner, are also signed through 2013. A line exists between being proactive and setting dubious precedent. Extending contracts after only one season is more exception than rule.
Which Seahawks player would you consider re-signing next?