Now that the season has started to fade a little bit into the rearview mirror, it’s time to take a look at each of Seattle’s position groups, a task we will tackle in this space over the next few weeks. We’ll look at the players at each spot, their 2014 contract status, and project how the position could evolve next season.
We’ll start with quarterback, a position led by Russell Wilson (pictured above):
2014 contract status: Will be in third year of four-year rookie contract, scheduled to make a base of $662,434. Contract cannot be renegotiated until after 2014 season.
Comment: Hard, really, to do more in 2014 than what Wilson did — quarterback a team to a Super Bowl win. Sure, Wilson had a lot of help from a great defense and a better-than-average running game. But he is also the perfect fit for this offense, able to do whatever is needed to win the games, but also more than willing to sublimate his ego and throw it sparingly when the occasion calls.
In fact, it’s that latter attribute that is often overlooked in discussions of Wilson. The easy (lazy?) point of focus when judging Wilson is to look solely at passing yardage numbers. Wilson ranked “just’’ 16th in the NFL in passing yards this season with 3,357 — get ready for lots of off-season analysis that he still needs to show he can throw it more prolifically to be deemed an elite QB. Such analysis misses the point of what Wilson means to the Seahawks in running the offense, having the mobility to escape danger (how many sacks did he avoid this season?) and create plays with his feet, and make the accurate throws when needed.
He had a few rough moments near the end of the season — no QB is perfect. But any real questioning of Wilson’s place in the NFL should for now be put to rest.
2014 contract status: Unrestricted free agent.
Comment: Jackson was the perfect backup quarterback in 2013 as a respected locker room presence who played more-than-competently when called upon. Jackson completed 10-13 passes in the regular season for 151 yards, a touchdown and a 140.2 passer rating (158.3 is perfect). He can also say he played in a Super Bowl as he got some snaps at the end of the game.
There seems little question Seattle would want Jackson back, especially at a salary similar to the $840,000 he made in 2013. The question will be whether Jackson, who turns 31 in April, will be offered a chance at a starting job somewhere and would want to pursue that. If not, the assumption would be that Jackson will return for another year as Wilson’s backup.
OTHERS ON ROSTER
2014 contract status: Last season of two-year deal, scheduled to make $495,000.
Comment: The Seahawks signed Daniels away from the 49ers’ practice squad early in the season, and then re-signed him to their own practice squad late in the year after cutting him briefly in November when they brought Russell Okung back to the active roster.
Daniels was active for just one game this season, at Atlanta, but did not play, with Seattle going with just Wilson and Jackson for every other game in 2013.
The 5-11, 217-pounder has a skill set similar to Wilson (as well as size) and the Seahawks insisted at the time he was signed because they like his long-term potential and how he would fit into the offense, and didn’t sign him just to steal him away from the 49ers.
2014 position outlook: Obviously there is no battle for the starting job, and it seems like there’s a decent chance the depth chart could remain the same in 2014. And with Wilson still working under the terms of his rookie contract, Seattle will again have one of the best salary cap situations at QB of any team in the NFL, getting an elite player at the spot for a bargain-basement salary. That will end in 2015. But for one more year, Wilson’s situation gives Seattle great salary flexibility elsewhere.