By Brent Stecker
Much has been made about whether the Seahawks will be able to maintain their championship roster and sustain their status as a perennial title contender.
Like all Super Bowl winners, the Seahawks have a lot of decisions laying ahead as they look to keep key players but stay under the salary cap. This period hasn't snuck up on Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider, though, as ESPN NFL business analyst Andrew Brandt told "Bob and Groz" on 710 ESPN Radio.
Strong drafting by general manager John Schneider has been a key in the Seahawks' rise to world champions, and ESPN NFL business analyst Andrew Brandt expects the team to continue to follow that blueprint. (AP)
"Obviously everyone's talking about (Richard) Sherman and (Earl) Thomas and Russell Wilson and the contracts that are gonna come up over the next couple years, but listen – if you and I and everyone else is talking about it, they've been planning it for years," Brandt said. "I mean, this is not something new where they look around and say, 'Oh boy.' So there's a plan."
Brandt certainly has an insider's perspective on what the Seahawks are going through. He was the Packers' vice president from 1999 to 2008, and over that time he built a relationship with Schneider, who was in the team's front office from 2002 to 2009.
"Knowing John Schneider as I do working together for six years in Green Bay, I admit, full-disclosure, I'm a huge fan and a personal friend. I just think if anyone's gonna be able to keep it together, it's him and Pete Carroll," Brandt said.
There's more reasoning behind Brandt's optimism in the Seahawks' day-to-day operations than his personal relationship with Schneider, though.
"I think they've got a good story going up there where they not only can encourage guys to stay, but also the way they have their roster churn," he said. "They turn over more players than anyone in the league – more tryouts, more workouts, more visits. They're always going to be moving through the bottom third to the bottom half of the roster."
The Seahawks have earned a reputation for drafting well, and Brandt sees that as a key to both how they've turned into a championship team and how they can continue to contend for titles. It's already in practice, as in the case of second-year quarterback Wilson, who has two more years left on his rookie contract and can't even be given a raise until after the 2014 season.
"They cannot by rule of the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) invest in Russell Wilson til at the earliest next offseason, which gives them a planning model at least for that player," Brandt said. "There's certainly a plan to invest in one or two young players this offseason. ... The key is solid drafting where you have a good portion of your roster under rookie contracts that can balance out what you need to pay the big guns."