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Which Seahawks star could be next to retire?

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Wild Card Round - Detroit Lions v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Since becoming a dominant force in 2012, the Seattle Seahawks have not seen many of their stars from that era walk away from the game just yet. Chris Clemons and Red Bryant have retired, while Brandon Browner has been out of the game for a year but continues to try and work his way back in. Even the Seahawks’ biggest star to retire, if not their biggest star period, came back to the game this year as a beast in a different city.

With Jay Cutler recently retiring from football to join Fox, and Justin Forsett also calling it a career last week (Forsett of course spent two years under Pete Carroll in Seattle), it got me thinking about which Seahawks star of this era could be the next to leave the game. Especially since the core of the team has aged considerably since 2010-2012, and the dreaded word “retire” was even bandied about by the age-less Earl Thomas last season.

Who could be next?

Earl Thomas, 28

He’s young, but Thomas said he was contemplating retirement after he broke his leg. He was quick to recant after it became apparent that Seattle would not be the same without him, and he may be their last hope of winning another Super Bowl before Carroll himself retires.

Kam Chancellor, 29

Seven seasons in, the body’s taken quite the beating. Not even a dump truck can escape damage if it hits a Miata 1,000 times over. The career lifespan of players like Kam never seems to last as long as you want them to, which is a big reason why there aren’t a lot of safeties in the Hall of Fame.

Michael Bennett, 31

Bennett is the oldest “star” on the team, turning 32 in November. He just signed a contract extension, but so did Marshawn Lynch not too long before he semi-retired.

Jimmy Graham, 30

A lot of people would say Graham is quite lucky to not be retired already following that dreaded knee injury in 2015. But he worked hard to return and play about as good as ever last season. That being said, would a time come where Graham feels he’s made enough money and done enough in the NFL to make a “Calvin Johnson” move and walk away while he still can? I think “early retirement” is on the table for a lot of players these days.

Max Unger, 31 (Saints)

He might seem older to you than he is because he hasn’t been with the Seahawks for a couple of years. But Unger just signed a three-year extension last September and centers often remain effective into their mid-30s. Coincidentally, it was reported on Monday that Unger has a foot injury that is expected to cost him the start of the 2017 season.

Paul Richardson, 25

Just to take a different angle on a player — Richardson has never been a star for Seattle, though he was a second round pick and made some great catches late last season. He has all the talent for a career that could last another decade, but so far not the stamina. Would one more injury plagued season be enough for Richardson to say he’s been through enough?

Cliff Avril, 31

Also over 30, Avril has now added “Pro Bowl” to his list of accomplishments, alongside Super Bowl champion and 73 career sacks. He also underwent surgery this year and could begin seeing some of the negative physical effects that nine years in the game will do to a body. He’s signed through 2018, and maybe that’s the end date for him overall.

Jon Ryan, 35

Age isn’t on his side, but being a punter means Ryan could play another 10 years.

Some players I didn’t list:

  • Tony McDaniel, 32 - A starter for the Super Bowl team, but I wouldn’t deem him a “star” either. Also, too easy.
  • Richard Sherman, 29 - He was out there trying to sling trades for himself. He has no intention of leaving the game that he’s so thoroughly informed us he dominates.
  • Doug Baldwin, 28 - Receivers like him tend to last for a long time.
  • Golden Tate, 28 - Three straight 90-catch seasons in Detroit, doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
  • Russell Okung, 29 - Still relatively young and just signed a new five-year deal.
  • Percy Harvin, retired - You’d have to be pretty generous with the term “Seahawks star.”
  • Byron Maxwell, 28 - Decent corners tend to have long careers. He’s not a star, but he’s decent.

Poll

Which player is most likely to retire first?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Earl Thomas
    (123 votes)
  • 32%
    Kam Chancellor
    (579 votes)
  • 22%
    Michael Bennett
    (400 votes)
  • 5%
    Jimmy Graham
    (96 votes)
  • 2%
    Paul Richardson
    (36 votes)
  • 13%
    Cliff Avril
    (248 votes)
  • 4%
    Jon Ryan
    (74 votes)
  • 1%
    One of Sherman, Baldwin, Tate, Okung
    (23 votes)
  • 11%
    Max Unger
    (210 votes)
1789 votes total Vote Now