Five bold predictions for the Seattle Seahawks in 2019
The Seahawks (10-6) start their playoff run tonight at Dallas (10-6). Whether the season ends today or not, the offseason promises to be another interesting one for Seattle, which despite reaching the playoffs is still in rebuilding mode.
The Seahawks have a strong chance to greatly improve by the start of the 2019 season and make a serious run at winning the NFC West Division, despite the presence of the Los Angeles Rams (13-3), who took down Seattle twice to win the division.
Here are five predictions for what is a very promising upcoming year for Seattle.
1). MLB Bobby Wagner receives a contract extension
This might seem like a no-brainer given that Wagner has been named All-Pro for a fourth time. However, Wagner turns 29 this summer, has one year remaining on his contract at $10.5 million and Seattle has not exactly been friendly to aging defensive stars.
Seattle released Richard Sherman after he injured his Achilles. The Seahawks refused to extend the contract of Earl Thomas, who broke his leg in Week 4. Plus, Seattle is still eating the $25 million extension it gave safety Kam Chancellor in the final year of his deal before he injured his neck, ending his career.
Nevertheless, Wagner has been extremely productive and durable, and he is the quintessential leader.
Seattle has a chance to contend over the next couple of years with Wagner and shouldn't allow a potential contract dispute to become a detriment like it did with Thomas.
2) LB K.J. Wright will not return
The star players from the recent Super Bowl-era have been dropping off of Seattle's roster at an alarming rate and Wright could be next.
He is in the final year of his contract and is coming off an injury-plagued season that limited him to five games.
Wright turns 30 this offseason and unless he is willing to take less than the $7.2 million he made in 2018, it doesn't appear likely that Seattle will sign him given his knee issues.
Seattle has a promising young linebacker on the roster in Jacob Martin and could view outside linebacker as an area to address in the draft or free agency.
3) Rashaad Penny will lead the team in rushing
Chris Carson (1,151 yards) is having an amazing season but Seattle selected Penny in the first round last year for a reason and he will be given every opportunity to either become the starter or split carries in 2019.
Penny's challenge for playing time got derailed by an injury during training camp, some setbacks during the season and the play of Carson. However an offseason of improvment will allow Penny to earn more playing time next year.
The greatest difference between the two is straight speed. Penny is more of a breakaway threat. If he learns to run as tough and smartly as Carson, Penny's speed will set him apart and allow him to gain more yards even if the two split carries.
In the end, Seattle will have two very good running backs to lean on next season.
4) Guard Ethan Pocic will reach his potential
The second-round pick in 2017 has had a rough first two years. He's been very inconsistent and penalty prone. But sometimes development takes time, especially with offensive linemen. Pocic is just 23 and has shown flashes of being a quality NFL linemen.
Seattle going out to get veteran J.R. Sweezy to replace Pocic in the starting lineup not only sent a message that that he wasn't ready but also spoke to the importance of experience.
From a physical standpoint, Pocic is a very lean 6-6, 320 and moves extremely well. His lack of strength has been his weakness but that can continue to be corrected in the weight room.
Expect Pocic to continue to develop into a maintay along the offensive line.
5) Seattle will win the NFC West
Seattle is closer than most people might think. Consider that the Seahawks lost 33-31 at home to the NFC West champion Los Angeles Rams (13-3) and 36-31 at the Rams. Reverse those two outcomes and Seattle would have finished 12-4 and the Rams, 11-5.
So, in theory, Seattle was just seven points away from winning the NFC West and will only get better next season.
We will see how the playoffs shake out, but the Rams regressed down the stretch and their defense has turned to be a negative despite plenty of star power.
Meanwhile, Seattle has a glut of young players that should improve enough to allow the Seahawks to win the NFC West.