Under Pete Carroll, the Seahawks have functioned as one of the most consistent team in football, almost always journeying to the playoffs while riding the arm of Russell Wilson and the backs of the Legion of Boom. Now though, with the Seahawks coming off their first playoff-less season since 2011, an uncertain future awaits the Legion of Boom.
Strong safety Kam Chancellor might be forced to retire with a neck injury. Cornerback Richard Sherman is entering the final year of his contract and is coming off a season wrecked by a torn Achilles. Free safety Earl Thomas is also entering the final year of his deal and could hold out -- not to mention he's already expressed interest in leaving Seattle for the Dallas Cowboys in the long-term.
Despite all of the turmoil and uncertainty facing the defense, Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin doesn't think the Legion of Boom will simply cease to exist. To him, it's more about the idea than the players.
"Right now [the Legion of Boom's future] is kind of in the air, but trust me, the Legion of Boom will never go away," Griffin said, via Pro Football Talk. "The thing is these are the guys who created the Legion of Boom. We all know that. But just because they might not be here or they're not coming back, the Legion of Boom is not over. This is a legacy that they created for young guys to come and take over. Trust me, we've got some great younger guys that are ready to compete and are ready to play ball. The Legion of Boom is never going to be over, but of course we want those guys back, because those are the originals."
Griffin, 22, figures to be around in Seattle long after the original members of Legion of Boom are gone. A third-round pick last year, Griffin flashed plenty of promise in his rookie season. He appeared in 15 games with 11 starts and racked up 15 passes defended and one interception. According to Pro Football Focus, Griffin allowed a 75.2 passer rating when targeted in coverage, which ranked 23rd among qualified cornerbacks. Guess who ranked 24th with a 75.5 passer rating: Richard Sherman.
Sherman expects to be back and healthy for the 2018 season, but even he understands that his future beyond that is cloudy. Meanwhile, Thomas has indicated he could holdout this offseason while Chancellor is trying to find a way to play again after suffering a serious neck injury. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Chancellor intends to play if he can get cleared.
Answering one part of a looming question for the #Seahawks: S Kam Chancellor (neck) does intend to play in 2018 if he gets medically cleared, I'm told. No plans to retire (despite some murky social media posts). His $6.8M for 2018 was fully guaranteed on 2/9.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 13, 2018
"Right now I feel like he's going to come back," Griffin said of Chancellor. "I know he loves the game, and I know it's going to be hard for him to go without it. It's something for us to look forward to, because I feel like Kam is definitely going to come back. At the end of the day, though, it's his decision. We're going to see how that goes. When it comes that time for him to make that decision, I feel like he'll do that."
The looming changes aren't just limited to the secondary. Defensive lineman Michael Bennett has said that he doesn't think he'll be brought back while defensive end Cliff Avril could be forced to retire with his own neck injury. Meanwhile, the Seahawks fired defensive coordinator Kris Richard and replaced him with Ken Norton Jr.
So, we'll soon find out if the legacy the original Legion of Boom created can withstand all of those changes. The best bet is that the Legion of Boom remains relatively strong in 2018 with Thomas and Sherman still around, but if those players depart after the season, it'll be difficult for the new-look Seahawks to replicate the success the Legion of Boom saw. Mentality and legacy are important, as Griffin indicated, but without the pure talent that guys like Sherman, Thomas, and Chancellor contain, sustaining their historic run of dominance might just be impossible.