With the 2017 NFL season upon us, it’ll be four years since the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Denver Broncos 43-8 to win their first Super Bowl. That does not seem like a long time ago, but in the NFL, it’s longer than most careers.
In that case, maybe it’s not surprising then that more than roughly 80-percent of that team is now gone. However, most of the ones who remain are the main reasons why the Seahawks won that Super Bowl to begin with, and unlike most Super Bowl champions, have remained in contention for the three seasons since then.
Here are the 13 Seattle players who are going for at least their fourth NFL ride together, including eight starters on defense, five members of the secondary, the best QB-WR duo in the league, and a punter entering the decade mark with the Seahawks.
Russell Wilson, QB
Acquired: 2012 draft, 75th overall
Basically, when it all started. Really the only key difference that you’ll see between 2012 and 2013 is the two Pro Bowl players who were added to the d-line. A lot of the success was building in 2010-2012, and many of these players are going into their sixth season together.
Doug Baldwin, WR
Acquired: 2011, undrafted free agent
Baldwin and his unit-mates were the subject of a lot of ridicule and deemed the big “weakness” headed into that Super Bowl, and he’s since led the NFL in touchdown catches for a season, gone to a Pro Bowl, earned a contract that pays him more than $10 million a year, and become the best slot receiver in the league.
Jermaine Kearse nearly made the team for his sixth season in Seattle, but then didn’t.
Luke Willson, TE
Acquired: 2013 draft, 158th overall
Willson is the only player left on the team from the 2013 draft class. He had an opportunity to leave via free agency but apparently the market wasn’t too keen on Willson’s lack of production either and so he returned on a one-year deal.
Michael Bennett, DE
Acquired: 2013 free agency, one-year deal
Bennett and Avril are the only two free agents on this list, if you don’t include Jon Ryan since he was an early September pickup. Pete Carroll and John Schneider like to find their long-term players through the draft — or another way to put it is that their free agent and veteran trade pickups haven’t always worked out like they hoped they would. Bennett was not used as heavily in 2013 as he has been in the last three years (that’s the reason for the holdout that came shortly after he re-signed with Seattle after the Super Bowl) but with more playing time he’s become one of the best and most complete defensive ends in the league.
Cliff Avril, DE
Acquired: 2013 free agency, two-year deal
Avril had eight sacks and six forced fumbles in 2013 despite also playing in limited action that season. If not for an injury to Avril in the 2014 Super Bowl, they might have two rings at this point. Avril had a career-high 11.5 sacks in 2016 and made his first Pro Bowl.
Bobby Wagner, ILB
Acquired: 2012 draft, 47th overall
I think Wagner gets a lot of credit, but I don’t know, maybe it’s not enough. He’s like the Wilson of the defense in not only is middle linebacker often the “quarterback” on that side of the ball, but he shot up like a bullet (for a gun that’s pointing to the sky, I guess) as a rookie in 2012 and hasn’t looked back, only improving and becoming more ubiquitous with Pro Bowl games and All-Pro lists. Wagner just turned 27 in June.
K.J. Wright, OLB
Acquired: 2011 draft, 99th overall
Perhaps the most underrated player on this team still.
Also, anyone else find it interesting that a third of these guys have a last name that stars with ‘W’?
Richard Sherman, CB
Acquired: 2011 draft, 154th overall
It’ll be interesting to see if this is Sherman’s seventh and final season with Seattle; well, we know for a fact that it’ll be his seventh, but will it be the last? His swagger is what I think turned the Seahawks into what they became from late 2011 to being the “Legion of Boom” in 2013 and so on, but it appears to be wearing thin on some people at this point. The latest incident included him going on Twitter to let everyone know that I guess he thinks a different teammate of his instead of Kasen Williams should have been cut on Saturday.
Jeremy Lane, CB
Acquired: 2012 draft, 172nd overall
Not the most highly regarded of the bunch here, Lane struggled post-contract in 2016 but remains on the team either way. There were trade rumors in the last week or two but obviously that has not happened despite the fact that all the other trade-or-release moves (Alex Collins, Ahtyba Rubin, Cassius Marsh, Jermaine Kearse) happened. For now, Lane looks to be a starter, but he too may be going into his final season with the team.
DeShawn Shead, CB (PUP)
Acquired: 2012, undrafted free agent
Shead was still earning his way onto the team for most of 2013, but he played in five games that year and made two tackles in their postseason run. Shead starts out this season on PUP, which doesn’t put him on the 53-man roster but does keep him under club control for a sixth year.
Earl Thomas, FS
Acquired: 2010 draft, 14th overall
The idea of Earl not going into his eighth season with the Seahawks felt all too real when he hinted at retirement last year, but thankfully he is only 28 and seems ready to keep the train going indefinitely. Thomas looked as good as ever in the preseason (health-wise, at least) and he’s the key to this whole thing working on defense, it seems.
Kam Chancellor, SS
Acquired: 2010 draft, 133rd overall
This will be Kam’s seventh season as the starter at strong safety, but he’s looking for his first full season since that 2013 campaign. He was also Seattle’s best player in the playoffs that year; can he stay on the field and play at 100-percent (the only percentage he knows) without getting hurt again?
Jon Ryan, P
Acquired: Picked up a week before 2008 season
Ryan is going into his 10th season with the Seahawks. Since being released by the Packers in 2008, Green Bay is now on their fifth punter, rookie Justin Vogel.
Mike Morgan, who was released on Saturday but could return after Week 1.
Steven Hauschka, who the team was not interested in bringing back following a rough 2016. For now that seems to have worked out splendidly for Seattle.
Jeron Johnson, who returned late last year but was not brought back and is now on IR with the Jaguars.
Marshawn Lynch, who I guess technically was a Seahawks running back only about six months ago.
Tony McDaniel, who was picked up by the Saints over the offseason but is a free agent again and could be coming back at some point, theoretically.