Stick a fork in the Seattle Seahawks.
Their days of ruling over the NFC West with an iron fist are over. The Los Angeles Rams have already caught up, and the San Francisco 49ers’ prized young quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, will ensure they do the same.
Seahawk head coach Pete Carroll is smart enough to know the swan song is playing for the juggernaut roster he built from the ground up. That’s why he’s attaching yard sale prices to some of his best players.
Three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett was shipped to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fifth-round draft pick and a former undrafted wide receiver no one has ever heard of (Marcus Johnson).
Richard Sherman, the best cornerback in the league over the last several years, was already saying goodbye to teammates on Tuesday. He is expected to be traded or released for nothing in return. No franchise tag was placed on five-time Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham, meaning he could end up playing elsewhere in 2018. Defensive stalwarts Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril could all end up playing for other teams next season.
It’s a fire sale in Seattle, and Carroll is officially committing to rebuilding his team around 29-year-old quarterback Russell Wilson. That means the end for the Seahawks as we know them—a terrifyingly well-rounded team built on the backs of one of the all-time great defenses.
The Legion of Boom is dead.
“I didn’t think it was going to be this dramatic,” Avril said, during an appearance on NFL Network’s Up To The Minute Live. “You’ve seen it with the coaching staff a little bit. But I didn’t expect this many guys to even be considered to be leaving. Some of these guys have played at a high level for a long time. And to kind of see this playing out the way it’s playing out right now is, again, interesting. And we’ll see how it plays out, though.”
The Seahawks are sure to face plenty of growing pains along the way, which could upset some fans that have grown used to the idea of the team being perennial playoff contenders. Those days are likely in the rearview for the next few years as Carroll and general manager John Schneider work on rebuilding the roster.
It doesn’t help being in an NFC West Division that continues to get better each year. Along with the Rams and 49ers both seeing dramatic improvements, the Arizona Cardinals might simply be a quarterback away from competing as well. If they manage to sign Kirk Cousins in free agency, it’ll be another nail in the Seahawks’ coffin.
The Seahawks haven’t missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons in nearly 10 years. The upcoming 2018 season will probably end that run, as well as memories of a potential dynasty that floundered and faded too soon.