For the first time in 14 years, the Seahawks will be hiring a new head coach this offseason, and general manager John Schneider sees it as "a very attractive job" for a number of reasons.
For starters, there's one of the NFL's most passionate fan bases, not to mention supportive ownership, a front office that has proven it knows how to find talent and top-notch facilities.
But the specific element of the team Schneider was discussing when he touted the attractiveness of the job is the team's young talent that should allow the Seahawks to continue to grow and improve in 2024 and beyond.
When the Seahawks made the franchise-altering decision to trade quarterback Russell Wilson in 2022, they moved on from a franchise icon, but they helped reset the franchise for the future, receiving multiple first and second-round picks, in addition to three players, that Schneider and company used to help restock the roster with young talent.
Seattle turned those first and second-round picks into starting left tackle Charles Cross, starting outside linebacker Boye Mafe, who led the team in sacks with 9.0, Pro-Bowl cornerback and Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate Devon Witherspoon, and outside linebacker Derick Hall, who didn't have a big role on defense this year but showed flashes while also being a core special teams player.
And the Seahawks have added plenty of other standout players in the last two drafts beyond those four early-round picks, including starting running back Kenneth Walker III, cornerback Riq Woolen, who was a Pro-Bowler as a rookie, starting right tackle Abraham Lucas, versatile defensive back Coby Bryant, receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, whose 63 catches were the second most in franchise history for a rookie, and running back Zach Charbonnet. The Seahawks have also landed two special teams standouts in the late rounds of the last two drafts in Dareke Young and Jerrick Reed, and this year added four players they expect to help in the trenches going forward, center Olu Oluwatimi, guard Anthony Bradford, who started 10 games at guard, defensive end Mike Morris, who spent his rookie season on injured reserve, and nose tackle Cameron Young.
"I think it's a young, talented team that feels like they're right on the cusp," Schneider said. "I think there's a lot of guys who have a ton of confidence in their abilities."
The Seahawks finished the season with 15 rookies on their 53-man roster, the second most in the league behind Green Bay's 16, and had 22 first or second-year players. And there's plenty of youth even beyond those first and second-year players, with 29 players 25 and under and 36 who are 26 or younger, including standouts like receiver DK Metcalf and safety Julian Love.
None of that young talent can erase the sting of how things went in 2023, a 9-8 season that saw the Seahawks miss the postseason for just the fourth time in 14 seasons under Schneider and Pete Carroll. But what all that youth does mean is that the Seahawks are set up for a bright future, and that they should be an attractive job for the candidates Schneider will be interviewing in the coming weeks.
"They're all highly disappointed in what just happened, and I think, to a man, they would all tell you—and I know this from the exit interviews that I had—that we still should be playing," Schneider said. "Everyone was very disappointed. But I think it's a great core, I think we're a very attractive job because of that. There's young talent all over the place."
Seahawks clear out their lockers and sit in their last team meeting at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Wash. to conclude their 2023 season.