Time for our weekly Seattle Seahawks mailbag. If you have a question for next week's edition, email it to email@example.com.
@SheilKapadia who would you pin as the most critical FA to resign. Assuming that gets done which position do you target w/ #1 pick in draft— JHouston (@JHouston73) January 26, 2016
The first player I would talk to is Russell Okung. Why? Because there's not an obvious replacement for him on the roster.
Okung is representing himself in free agency, but he's dealing with a shoulder injury. Competent offensive line play is tough to find in the NFL, so Okung will likely have a market. But if he doesn't see the dollars he covets, there's at least a chance he might do a short-term deal in Seattle and test the waters next offseason. It might be a long shot, but it's something for John Schneider and company to look into.
In a perfect world, they would be able to bring all four of those guys back. Mebane and Rubin performed consistently well against the run. Lane was their second-best cornerback down the stretch. And Irvin filled a versatile role on the edge.
But the Seahawks have the core of their roster locked up and are unlikely to pay big money to any of those guys. Irvin will probably generate a competitive market. We saw last year with Byron Maxwell that other teams covet Seahawks defensive backs, so Lane should get a nice deal elsewhere. Mebane and Rubin will be attractive to teams looking for veteran run-stuffers.
Offensively, the starters who are free agents are WR Jermaine Kearse, right guard J.R. Sweezy and Okung.
Much of this relates to younger players on the roster. Could Mark Glowinski replace Sweezy? Could Tyler Lockett start in place of Kearse? Are the Seahawks comfortable letting players compete at right cornerback? I think the answer to those questions is probably yes. So don't be surprised if the majority of the team's unrestricted free agents find better deals elsewhere.
Do you think there will be any coaching changes in store for the Seahawks this offseason? https://t.co/ADrgKX7tWh— Bad Spellr 12 (@Bad_Spellr_12) January 26, 2016
I don't. Based on what Pete Carroll said after the season, I get the sense that he envisions tweaks, not major changes. And really, that's the right approach. Defensively, the Seahawks led the NFL in fewest points allowed under Kris Richard, and as far as I could tell, guys loved playing for him.
Offensively, Darrell Bevell probably had his best year as a coordinator, and the job he did getting the offense on track in the second half of the season was really impressive.
I get a lot of questions about Tom Cable. It's true that the offensive line needs to get better, but my guess is the focus will be on personnel, not coaching. It's easy to forget, given the first half against the Carolina Panthers in the divisional round, but this offense was one of the best in the league during the last two months of the season. I think the play here is continuity, not a massive overhaul.