Most of the Seattle offense remains intact with several free-agent re-signings. Left tackle Walter Jones and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck agreed to long-term deals. Also returning are backup wide receiver Alex Bannister, offensive linemen Chris Gray and Floyd Womack and tight end Itula Mili.
The Seahawks have been disappointed in the performance of talented wide receiver Koren Robinson, a former No. 1 pick who is reportedly on the trading block. This is a major statement for a team that had significant problems with receivers holding onto the football last season. The Seahawks have remained in contact with the Redskins regarding disgruntled receiver Rod Gardner and a deal could be in the offing.
The contract status of running back Shaun Alexander could be a major issue. The team is unsure if it should make a huge investment in Alexander and may opt to trade him on draft day. Not being able to draft a replacement with the 23rd overall pick should deter the Seahawks from hastily moving the NFL's second-leading rusher in 2004.
With all the changes on defense, coach Mike Holmgren will have to pull off his greatest coaching feat for the Seahawks to compete at the same level they did in 2004.
Defensive end – Even though defensive end Grant Wistrom was signed as a free agent last year, the end position remains an offseason priority. Wistrom missed most of the 2004 season due to injury, and sack leader Okeafor left for Arizona, leaving the Seahawks extremely susceptible. Bryce Fisher has been signed to replace Okeafor and the only other means to improve the quality and depth of the position is through the draft.
Linebacker – The Seahawks appear to be heading into the 2005 season with a new corps of starting linebackers. Veteran Anthony Simmons has been released, longtime Seahawk Chad Brown could be let go if he doesn't agree to restructure his contract and middle linebacker Orlando Huff signed with Arizona. Outside linebacker Sharper has been added, but the issue of athleticism and depth must be addressed in the draft.
Offensive tackle – Releasing offensive tackle Chris Terry potentially creates a large void at right tackle. The Seahawks are hopeful Floyd Womack, Sean Locklear or Wayne Hunter can settle into the spot. If not, the Seahawks will look towards the draft to solidify the position.
Running back – The Seahawks would like to pull off a draft-day deal with Alexander, but it's not likely. With Alexander's contract status unsettled, the team is unsure of what to expect from Alexander as the draft approaches. If the Seahawks are able to trade him, look for them to select a running back on Day 1 of the draft to team with Maurice Morris.
Quarterback – With the trade of veteran quarterback Trent Dilfer to Cleveland, the Seahawks are inexperienced at backup QB with Seneca Wallace and Gibran Hamdan. Adding a veteran is a possibility heading into training camp. Selecting a quarterback in the draft remains a possibility, too.
FREE AGENCY AND OFFSEASON
FRANCHISE PLAYER: RB Shaun Alexander.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: WR Alex Bannister, RB Kerry Carter, Chris Gray, TE Ryan Hannam, QB Matt Hasselbeck, LT Walter Jones, TE Itula Mili, DE Ron Smith, C Robbie Tobeck, WR Jerheme Urban, WR Jason Willis, OL Floyd Womack.
PLAYERS LOST: FB Heath Evans (Dolphins), MLB Orlando Huff (Cardinals), CB Ken Lucas (Panthers), DE Brandon Mitchell (Falcons), DE Chike Okeafor (Cardinals), WR Jerry Rice (released), S Damien Robinson (released), LB Anthony Simmons (released), OT Chris Terry (released).