It's been a busy offseason for the Seahawks, who've spent the past couple of months dumping star players who turned them into the dominant franchise that they've been for the past several seasons. Just don't call it a rebuild.
On Friday, Seahawks general manager John Schneider denied that they're undergoing a rebuild. He prefers calling it a "reset."
"It's a constant reset every single year, it doesn't stop," Schneider told 710 ESPN Seattle. "When I say 'reset' people are like, 'Well it's a rebuild.' We're not rebuilding; it's just a reset. We've got some pretty good players on this football team. And there's a lot of young players that people don't necessarily – they haven't heard their names yet. I remember going through this when we traded Josh Wilson, and Kelly Jennings and Marcus Trufant were here. And nobody knew who Byron Maxwell, and Richard Sherman, and Walter Thurmond were…"
"I'm telling you man, there's a lot of good young football players that people don't know about. Tedric Thompson was one of our best special teams players this last year. He didn't get to play much at strong safety. Kam [Chancellor] was one of our best special teams players the first year he played. He didn't get to play strong safety because Lawyer [Milloy] was here. Trust the process, man."
That's a fair point. Schneider, who took over as GM in 2010, did draft stars like Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Bobby Wagner, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, and K.J. Wright and so on. For the process to work, he needs to make sure he drafts their replacements.
But that doesn't mean we should expect the Seahawks to contend in 2018. After all, they're coming off a 9-7 season in which we saw the stacked Rams rise to power and the 49ers emerge as a dangerous team with Jimmy Garoppolo under center. And then they spent the first portion of the offseason gutting some of their top talent. Michael Bennett was traded to Philadelphia. Richard Sherman was cut before he landed in San Francisco. Earl Thomas' name is being floated in trade talks. Speedy receiver Paul Richardson signed with Washington. Jimmy Graham left for Green Bay. Then there's the fact that Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril might not be able to play football again. We haven't even mentioned the coaching changes yet, as the Seahawks replaced both their offensive and defensive coordinators.
So long as the Seahawks have Russell Wilson at quarterback, they won't be an awful team, but they're no longer the powerhouse they once were, especially considering they've been surpassed by the Rams (a team that's only gotten better this offseason) -- not to mention that the 49ers will, at the very least, present a challenge on a weekly basis and that the Cardinals won eight games a year ago despite all of their injury issues. The NFC West is competitive. The NFC as a whole is stacked.
Rebuilding? Resetting? It doesn't really matter what you call it. The Seahawks are transitioning to a new era of football after years of dominance. And there's no guarantee they'll maintain their level of success in the years to come with this new-look team.