Paul Allen died last week at age 65. The NFL is deferring to the Seahawks to make Allen's plans for the team public at the appropriate time. USATSI

The sudden passing of esteemed Seahawks owner Paul Allen last week after another bout with cancer stripped the NFL of one of its most revered and respected owners, and will likely lead to the eventual sale of the franchise. Allen, a giant in the tech and sporting worlds, was just 65, but he had long prepared for the day in which he would no longer own his professional sports teams.

Allen has no heirs and is not passing the team on to anyone, league sources said, but did make plans and stipulations for the team. The NFL is not making any formal comment on the future of the team and is deferring to the Seahawks organization to make public with Allen's plans at the appropriate time, but sources said the exchange of the franchise is likely to follow a similar path as when Ralph Wilson passed away as owner of the Bills

In that instance, there were provisions about the franchise remaining in that region and, in the end, it was sold to Terry Pegula, who already had strong ties to Buffalo. 

There was no immediate rush to put the Seahawks on the market, and Allen has set up a trust that should allow for the sale of the team in due course. Allen was a champion of the Seattle region and Pacific Northwest in general, owning the Seattle Sounders and Portland Trail Blazers as well, and the Seahawks are almost certain to set a record price at sale, eclipsing the roughly $2.3 billion Jerry Richardson received for the Panthers this year.

The Seahawks boast one of the best stadiums in the NFL, and one of the premier practice facilities, they have an vast and passionate fan base and plenty of economic infrastructure. They have been one of the league's top franchises the last 10 years, and there will be no shortage of billionaires eager to submit bids at the appropriate time.  

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