By Brady Henderson
The initial salary-cap report from ESPN Stats & Information estimates that the Seahawks are more than $3 million over the projected 2014 threshold, which is a reminder of the tough decisions they'll have to make this offseason in order to maintain and add to their championship roster.
Potential subtraction, retention and addition were among the topics covered in the latest edition of "Hawk Talk" with Danny O'Neil. The full transcript can be found here. Highlights are below.
BlatantChipmunk asked if defensive end Red Bryant is a candidate to have his deal restructured.
Red Bryant (79) is scheduled to count $8.5 million against the Seahawks' salary cap in 2014, but who would fill his role as the team's run-stuffing defense end in his absence? (AP)
Beast asked about the possibility of Seattle trading Bryant and re-signing Michael Bennett with the intention of having him replace Bryant as the strong-side defensive end.
O'Neil: You're not going to trade Red Bryant because you would take the same significant cap hit you would as releasing him. And Michael Bennett is fully 50 pounds lighter. He's not going to be able to be that every-down five-technique.
Beast asked whether the speculation about the Seahawks cutting Zach Miller for financial reasons in premature based on how valuable the tight end's blocking is to Seattle's offense.
O'Neil: Yes, I think the discussion of letting Miller go is horribly premature and overblown. Hard for me to imagine him not on the team next year. He played 58 of 60 snaps in the Super Bowl.
MikeH asked if backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson will be back next season or if he'll get a chance to start elsewhere.
O'Neil: Great question, and I don't know if anyone knows the answer to that. I don't think he'll get a starting spot, but could he be a veteran bridge for a team looking to break in a younger quarterback? And I look at a team like Jacksonville with Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert and I can't help but think that he would be better.
MikeH asked if fullback Michael Robinson is planning to play again next year.
O'Neil: Knowing Mike Rob, I would expect he's a competitor who is hoping to play next season. Knowing Mike Rob, I also know he's a realist who's not counting on that as a certainty.
Whidbey Mike marveled over Marshawn Lynch's running ability and wondered whether Christine Michael will ever be able to replicate it.
O'Neil: Do I think it's likely that Christine Michael will be as good as Marshawn Lynch? No. I don't think that's likely. I also think Marshawn Lynch is the best running back this franchise has had, and that's really saying something. I think that Michael can be an effective runner in the league, maybe even exceptional, but expecting him to be like Lynch is unrealistic.
kobe berg expressed confidence in Bruce Irvin's ability to be a good outside linebacker with more experience.
O'Neil: The problem is that Bruce Irvin's dominant skill is his pass rush, and he was in a role where that wasn't used – pretty much at all – the second half of the season. I would expect the Seahawks to try and get him back to some pass-rushing opportunities. I would agree with you, though, that he's a competent starting linebacker in this league. I just think that he's more talented than that.
Hozzzy said the Seahawks would be a great fit for Missouri's Michael Sam – who recently announced he's gay – even though they don't need much help at linebacker.
O'Neil: I don't think Seattle is the only place that would be great for the player, but I totally agree that Seattle would be a great environment. Everything about Pete Carroll's approach to coaching is not to "let" players be who they are, but to celebrate who they are. But I honestly have no idea how Seattle evaluates him. He seems stockier than they've typically liked their LEOs.
Mr. Triangle asked about Austin Seferian-Jenkins' blocking ability and whether the former Washington tight end would fit in Seattle's offense.
O'Neil: I don't think ASJ is a good blocker let alone a great one. His height actually poses kind of a problem in that department. The presence of Luke Willson makes it even more unlikely Seattle would choose a more receiving oriented tight end in that spot.