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Seahawks next challenge: who to keep and resign in free agency

It's been over 24 hours since the Seahawks frustrating playoff loss in the first round. The Hawks will have to make some tough decisions about its roster.
Credit: AP
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is pictured during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner before an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Seattle. The Rams won 30-20. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

It's been over 24 hours since the Seahawks frustrating playoff loss in the first round.  But as Russell Wilson says, "No time to sleep."  The Hawks will have to make some tough decisions about its roster.

Seattle has 24 players heading to free agency, plus more starters marching towards the final year of their contracts.  And the Hawks only have $17.5 million in cap space currently available.   Here's a look at some of the top names.

On offense, the Hawks could lose a few starters and valuable backups.  Chris Carson is the headliner.  The former 7th-round pick ran for over 1,000 yards twice in four seasons with Seattle.  Carson has scored nine touchdowns in each of the last three seasons.

The Hawks will also have to figure out if they want to re-sign center Ethan Pocic and left guard Mike Iupati.  Pocic will be 26 in August.  Iupati hits 34 in May.

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Plus, left tackle Duane Brown will turn 36-years-old before the 2021 season starts.  He still has one-year left on his deal worth $13.35 million.  Seattle could save $11.35 million by cutting him or they could restructure his deal to lower his cap number.

Greg Olsen, Jacob Hollister, and Carlos Hyde played on 1-year deals and those contracts officially expire on March 17 at 1 p.m.

On defense, Seattle could lose a lot more.

K.J. Wright has spent ten seasons in Seattle.  He hopes to get an 11th season, but he knows it's up to head coach Pete Carroll and G.M. John Schneider.

"They know how much I mean to this team. They know that I'm a baller. They know I'm a great teammate a great leader, and it will be a great investment, in my opinion, if they invest in K.J.," said Wright.  "You know you get what you pay for. And I bring a lot to the table. They've got to choose wisely."

When asked if he would play elsewhere, if it didn't work out with Seattle, K.J. simply said, "Yes."

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Despite a banner year, it would appear Wright would have to take a paycut to play next season.  

His cap hit was $10 million this past season.  He will turn 32 when the season begins this fall. 

The Hawks will have plenty of decisions to make as four more defensive starters are entering their contract year.

Carlos Dunlap has a $3 million roster bonus due on March 21, according to overthecap.com.  The Hawks will have to decide on whether to keep him and his 14.1 million dollar cap hit, give him an extension to reduce that number, or let him go and save $14.1 million in cap space.

Dunlap helped transform Seattle's pass rush to a bottom dweller and into a top 10 squad.  Seattle ended up with 46 sacks, good for 7th place in the NFL.

Jamal Adams' base salary becomes guaranteed on March 18.  The safety's final year will cost the Hawks $9.86 million.  He's a good candidate for an extension.  Adams is facing shoulder surgery to fix a torn labrum and he says he needs surgery to fix his two broken fingers.

Quandre Diggs could also be in line for an extension.  He's slated to make $5.5 million, pretty reasonable compared to what they'll have to pay Adams.

Shaquill Griffin and his twin brother Shaquem will also be free agents.  For Shaquill, it's been four seasons in Seattle.  He made the Pro Bowl once in 2019.  His cap number was $2.3 million in 2020.  He's due for a pay raise. 

Shaquem made nearly $618-thousand.  He's a restricted free agent.

Another member of the defensive backfield marches towards free agency. Quinton Dunbar's deal will run out soon.  He made $3.4 million last season, but was injured a lot. Dunbar only played 6 games in Seattle and 24 over the last 3 seasons. 

While free agents can officially sign with other teams on March 17, the tampering period begins on March 15.  That gives teams a few days to hammer out details of a free agent contract.