33 Seahawks entering final year of contracts

There is no sense in sugarcoating it, the 2015 season will be the final one in Seattle for some Seahawks. Not everyone can be the highest paid at his position after all and with well over half of the team's players (including 12 projected starters) about to enter the last year of their contracts, it is clear that John Schneider faces a task far greater than just keeping Russell Wilson in town.

One can't blame the media for focusing on the ongoing negotiations for Wilson but Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll can take solace in the fact that the Seahawks technically own the quarterback's rights for at least the next four years. He is under contract for 2015 and under the rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the club can elect to franchise him for up to another three years after that. Of course, to do so would severely restrict the Seahawks ability to retain "others."

So who could be affected? Just taking a quick peek at the list of players scheduled for free agency following the upcoming 2015 season shows how difficult Schneider's job is. According to the salary cap website Spotrac.com, no less than 33 players currently on Seattle's roster will have their contracts expire in 2016. Of this list, 12 players are projected starters, including left tackle Russell Okung, guards J.R. Sweezy and Alvin Bailey, centers Patrick Lewis and Lemuel Jeanpierre, wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, defensive linemen Brandon Mebane, Ahtyba Rubin and Tony McDaniel, linebackers Bobby Wagner and Bruce Irvin and punter Jon Ryan. Oh, and Wilson, of course.

Not surprisingly, the Pro Bowl trio of Wilson, Okung and Wagner would be the most difficult to replace. Some would argue that replacing a young franchise quarterback with a sterling off-field record like Wilson is simply not an option. That strategy could mean that the Seahawks are not able to afford to keep both Okung and Wagner. In fact, the Seahawks may not be able to keep either of them.

By making the roster as undrafted free agents in the first place, Garry Gilliam and Brock Coyle have already bucked the odds. Replacing one of the best at their respective positions in all of the NFL, however, could be more than either is realistically capable of achieving. As such, Schneider and his scouting department could be paying extra attention to left tackle and inside linebacker prospects this fall.

It could also be very tough to keep Sweezy, Bailey and Irvin. As Tom Cable expected, Sweezy has emerged as one of the game's better young interior linemen. He'll have plenty of suitors if he gets to free agency. So too could Bailey and Irvin, who were in good shape at OTAs and are real breakout candidates this season.

From a Seahawks perspective, the ideal solution would be for Wilson to prove that he's as committed to the team-first mentality as he's preached throughout his young career. Teammates may have a tough time relating to Wilson should he or agent Mark Rodgers really being pushing to be the best-paid player in league history, as some suggest.

If Wilson and Rodgers aren't committed to working out a fair deal with Schneider and the Seahawks in a timely fashion, Seattle's general manager may be forced to switch his focus to others first.

At least, Schneider and the Seahawks won't be left wanting for things to do.

A full list of all 33 players currently on the Seahawks roster with contracts expiring in 2016:

OG Alvin Bailey

CB Will Blackmon

CB Marcus Burley

FB Derrick Coleman

DE Demarcus Dobbs

TE Cooper Helfet

OLB/DE Bruce Irvin

QB Tarvaris Jackson

WR Jermaine Kearse

DE David King

CB Jeremy Lane

OC Patrick Lewis

WR Ricardo Lockette

OC Lemuel Jeanpierre

WR Chris Matthews

TE Anthony McCoy

DE Tony McDaniel

DT Brandon Mebane

TE Keavon Milton

OLB Michael Morgan

LT Russell Okung

DT Ahtyba Rubin

P Jon Ryan

DL Greg Scruggs

S DeShawn Shead

DT D'Anthony Smith

OG J.R. Sweezy

DB Steven Terrell

FB Will Tukuafu

RB Robert Turbin

MLB Bobby Wagner

DT Jesse Williams

QB Russell Wilson

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