The Seattle Seahawks may not change a whole lot from 2014 to 2015. Most of their key players are signed through next season and many of the players they are set to lose have viable replacements lined up, but there will still be a few new starters when Week 1 hits.
The most important of which may become a new fixture in "The Legion of Boom" as the Seahawks look to make the Super Bowl for the third year in a row.
Before we take a closer look at the players that the team might gain in the offseason, let's take a look at the ones they might lose. Starting with the guy that might be the hardest to replace because he's going to be the hardest to retain.
"Just One of the Guys" is a season one episode of Full House. In it, cousin Steve (played by Kirk Cameron) comes over to hang out with the Tanner family. Oldest sister D.J. (played by Cameron's real life sister Candice) is excited to hang out with her older cousin, but it turns out that he's gone through some changes. He's more handsome, lost some zits or something, and doesn't want to do the same stuff as he did when he was younger.
Basically, Steve got "She's All That'd" and he had matured out of his time with cousin D.J. and was now 17, which meant that he had to go troll for poon* with John Stamos.
*Or as Kirk Cameron calls it ... No wait, Kirk Cameron does not have a name for that. See Saving Christmas, now on DVD (divine video disc) and blu-pray.
Well it turns out that Byron Maxwell also got She's All That'd and could be out of our
league price range.
Maxwell was an unknown, buried on the depth chart in 2011 and 2012, not advancing nearly quickly as teammate Richard Sherman, even though Sherman was drafted only a round ahead of him in the same year. This would seem to imply that Maxwell wasn't that good, but in reality he just wasn't right for any position other than being one of the two outside corners and those positions were already filled by Sherman and Brandon Browner. When Browner was injured/suspended in 2013, Maxwell got his opportunity.
He took that chance to the house and now he's going to keep going all the way to the bank.
Maxwell had four interceptions in his last four starts of 2013, then played steady defense on the way to winning Super Bowl XLVIII. He missed three games with injury in 2014, and had only two interceptions, but per ProFootballFocus, Maxwell was targeted 71 times and allowed 45 receptions for 567 yards, 12.6 YPC, and one touchdown. Good for a passer rating of 81.1.
It's a step down from the 47.8 passer rating he allowed in 2013, but there was a major difference in snaps and responsibility year over year, and it's still a very good passer rating allowed. For reference, Darrelle Revis allowed a passer rating of 81.4 with the Bucs in 2013. The other problem facing Maxwell is that he was penalized nine times, which is fairly high for a corner who only played 717 snaps. That being said, Browner was penalized 15 times last year.
And he played 591 snaps.
It's enough to make Maxwell the top corner on at least a dozen teams in the league, and good enough to be a starter basically anywhere. That's why the Eagles are reportedly hot on his feathertail, but he has people from New York to Green Bay also interested in his services.
Philly was 31st in passing yards allowed, 28th in passing touchdowns allowed, and 20th in pass defense DVOA. Starter Bradley Fletcher allowed nine touchdowns and a passer rating of 107.6. He's a free agent, so it wouldn't be a tough decision to just swap the two out and move forward with Maxwell, Brandon Boykin, and Cary Williams.
Between injuries and poor play, the Jets toyed around with at least a half-dozen corners last season and they were all bad. They also have $51 million in cap room, a GM ready to spend, and a new head coach that was a defensive coordinator with a background in developing corners.
Seattle probably has no hope of retaining Maxwell if he gets to March 10 without a new contract, and there is little reason to believe he wouldn't want to test free agency since he's going to be the best corner available at a time when teams are spending big money on secondary players because of what the Seahawks built.
Last year's free agent corners included Revis ($12 million for first year), Brent Grimes ($8M AAV), Vontae Davis ($9.75M AAV), Aqib Talib ($9.5M AAV), and Alterraun Verner ($6.375M AAV) but there aren't as many good corners available this season as there were last season. Despite Maxwell's inexperience (a little more than a full season of starts, including playoffs) he's the best of a potentially-weak market. That should put him closer to an AAV of $9 million than that of Verner's $6.375M. Now, average annual value isn't the end-all, be-all of contracts, because there is no end-all, be-all in the world of NFL contracts, there's also bonus and guaranteed money, but even if you hold off on extensions for Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner, it's tough to imagine another $7-$9 million squeezed into 2015, especially if you extend Marshawn Lynch.
It's not impossible for Seattle to pull off, but it could become improbable if they let him take a dip in those free agent waters.
That's what happens when you get rid of the glasses, the ponytail, and the paint-covered overalls.