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Paul Richardson, Steven Terrell and 8 other Seahawks with something to prove in these final games

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

There are at least two games left for the Seattle Seahawks this season. Hopefully more, but at least two. In those games, there will be several players trying to showcase themselves for jobs in 2017. This isn’t the final say, just ask Chris Matthews about that, but some guys are getting opportunities right now to really put themselves on the radar for next season.

I’m trying to avoid players like Tanner McEvoy or DeAndre Elliott in these cases. Those are cheap players who at worst would probably not be released until the final round of cuts next year just because of their cost and upside. More likely than not, they’ll make the team in 2017 anyway and if they do enough to earn starting or near-starting roles, so be it.

There are others though who the team either needs to start next season or decide to bench or part ways with completely. These next two+ games could go a long way in determining their actual long-term value.

Paul Richardson, WR

As I wrote on Monday, now is the time for Richardson to step up. The injury to Tyler Lockett means that the Seahawks need another dynamic receiving target besides Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham. Perhaps C.J. Prosise will return in time for some playoff action, but either way, Richardson needs to make himself known. It’s been three years since he was the team’s top pick and while he’s flashed some incredible ability, he hasn’t done enough to draw the attention of Russell Wilson very often.

He should get increased snaps, but whether or not he makes himself open or make big contested catches on a consistent basis will say a lot about his role on the team in 2017, if he still even has one.

Jermaine Kearse, WR

I don’t foresee Kearse going anywhere in 2017 but the fact that he had basically lost his starting role to Lockett gives some glimpses of hope that the coaching staff is finally starting to relent on their adoration of him. Yes, he’s a good blocker. Yeah, he’s made some big catches. But too often it seems Wilson is forcing throws to Kearse that result in interceptions, or a drop, or a drop that turns into an interception. Releasing Kearse won’t save much money, but it could give someone else a chance to prove what they can do. If Richardson outplays Kearse over the rest of the games, that might be enough for the team to start evaluating their options as far as parting ways with Kearse. If Kearse outplays Richardson, then they might look for a trade partner for P-Rich or outright release him.

Of course they could keep both, but with Baldwin and Lockett a sure thing to be around, and McEvoy showing promise as a receiver, and the likely need to draft or sign a couple more options, things could get a little crowded.

Alex Collins, RB

Collins got significant and important action vs the Cardinals and played okay. He looked much faster, more decisive and impactful than he had been at any point until Saturday. That’s definitely the type of player they expected when they drafted him in the fifth round out of Arkansas. But without more advancement, Collins could definitely be someone they cut next year. Despite how many running backs they drafted or signed in 2016 (it feels like an unexaggerated 20), they’ll be looking to reload again in 2017. Collins is in a competition to be Thomas Rawls’ backup and a good showing here would mean that Pete Carroll can feel a little more comfortable about that role moving forward.

George Fant, LT

The big conundrum of the offseason is whether or not the team takes a chance to see if Fant will pan out, thereby saving them potentially a ton in free agency, or if they bit the bullet and starting investing money into the o-line. If they go with Fant and he’s much better in a year, they could save $10 million or something, which could go to other positions. If they go with Fant and he’s as bad as Garry Gilliam was, then they’re left with the same thing they have now. If Fant has a couple of good games vs a couple of bad games, that might be enough to sway the staff one way or another.

Mark Glowinski, LG

Same for Glow, as that competition may be re-opened next year, with Rees Odhiambo putting his name in the mix.

Garry Gilliam and Bradley Sowell, RT

I suspect Sowell won’t be brought back, while Gilliam might also be let go. It starts over the cycle at right tackle, but if Gilliam plays well over the rest of the games, or if it’s Sowell again, that could tell us all we need to know about who will be in the competition next year.

DeShawn Shead, CB

Shead is a restricted free agent next year, so he’ll definitely be back. I would also assume he’ll be starting. But if he can have a really good playoffs run, perhaps that would help facilitate a long-term extension this offseason rather than just waiting it out to see how 2017 goes.

Steven Terrell, FS

With Earl Thomas tweeting out that he’d definitely be back next season, Terrell no longer has to play for a starting role on the Seahawks next year. However, he could be playing for his life as a backup or as a starter somewhere else. As Sam Gold wrote on Wednesday, Terrell is obviously not on the level of Thomas and the defense is suffering for it. Nobody expected him to play like an All-Pro but can he keep a job over Kelcie McCray and Tyvis Powell? The team may also seek a safety in the draft, perhaps even in the first or second round.

Steven Hauschka, K

It’s long been assumed that the only concern with Hauschka is whether or not he’d test free agency and walk away from the team. But after missing a go-ahead extra point on Saturday, his fifth missed extra point of the season, the bigger question is whether or not the Seahawks want to make him a high-paid kicker or find someone newer, cheaper. Yes, Haushcka is 58-of-64 on field goals over the last two seasons, but it’s the misses vs Arizona that could be the difference between Seattle being 9-5-1 or being 11-4 right now.

That’s more acceptable for a kicker who doesn’t cost anything as opposed to one who might cost $3 million or more per year.

To a lesser extent:

Tony McDaniel, DT

Cassius Marsh, DE

Mike Morgan, OLB

Jeremy Lane, CB

I suspect all of these players will still be on the team next season, perhaps with the exception of McDaniel. I think they obviously need to draft a defensive tackle again and evaluate the free agent market there, but McDaniel was available after all of training camp and preseason to be signed, so I don’t see him being a high priority. They need to think about the future at that position.

Morgan and Marsh have value beyond defense, which is one of the reasons they’ll still be around, but it would be nice to see them have a bigger impact on that side of the ball.

Lane is under heavy scrutiny both for his play and his attitude. The new contract he signed means he probably isn’t going anywhere, but the competition at nickel corner is probably an open one and if he doesn’t win it and retain it, they’ll walk away from the deal mid-2017 — that wouldn’t surprise me at all.