With the 2016 NFL season now in the books, and the 2017 league year not yet upon us, now is a good time to take a look at where things stand with the Seahawks roster. Over the next two weeks, we'll take a position-by-position look at the Seahawks, both looking back at the 2016 season and looking ahead to 2017. Today, the focus is on safety.
For most of Pete Carroll's tenure in Seattle, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor have given the Seahawks one of the best safety tandems in the NFL. And while both played at their usual high levels when they were on the field, injuries limited the playing time of both, most notably with Thomas finishing the regular season on injured reserve. Thomas, who had never missed a game in six seasons prior to 2016, missed one game with a hamstring injury, then came back, only to sustain a season-ending broken leg in Week 13. Chancellor, meanwhile, missed four games early in the season because of a groin injury, but otherwise had a very strong season.
"He had a really solid year, he played really good football," Carroll said. "Very few plays got away from him during the course of the year. He had a lot of good stuff happen, was really physical throughout. He had his health, he had that one little setback in there, but he had his health for the most part and finished really strong. I thought he played terrific for us."
Kelcie McCray and Steven Terrell did some good things filling in for Chancellor and Thomas, but it would be unrealistic to expect that the Seahawks could lose All-Pro-caliber players—and all of the experience they have—and have it not make an impact, so at times Thomas and Chancellor were missed in 2016.
Notable Number: 7
Because of Chancellor and Thomas' injuries, the Seahawks played only seven games, postseason included, with their two Pro Bowl safeties on the field together. Four of those seven came in the first four games, meaning that after their Week 5 bye, the Seahawks played only three of 14 games with both Thomas and Chancellor in the lineup, and Thomas left two of those games early with injuries.
The most important thing for the Seahawks this offseason is getting a healthy Thomas back, and the good news on that front is that Carroll said he does expect the All-Pro free safety to be ready for the start of the season.
From a contract perspective, Chancellor is heading into the final year of his deal in 2017, and Carroll acknowledged that an offseason extension is a possibility.
"Every case is an individual case, and we're on it," Carroll said. "We love Kam, he's a significant part of everything that goes on around here. I was so proud of him when we were done, for all the leadership he brought us in such a magnificent way. Coming out of whatever happened last year and to turn things around and really be all-in and the epitome of what leadership is all about. We know what's going on and we're involved in all that stuff."
The Seahawks also have some decisions to make when it comes to their depth at safety, as Terrell is a restricted free agent and McCray and Jeron Johnson are unrestricted free agents
What The Future Holds
With Chancellor and Thomas back again in 2017, the Seahawks can feel very good about their front-line talent, but as the 2016 season showed, having enough depth there is important as well. The Seahawks will almost certainly add depth here via the draft or free agency, and the competition for backup spots should be wide open in camp.
- Offseason Position Breakdown: Wide Receiver
- Offseason Position Breakdown: Offensive Line
- Offseason Position Breakdown: Cornerback
- Offseason Position Breakdown: Defensive Line
- Offseason Position Breakdown: Quarterback
- Offseason Position Breakdown: Running Back
- Offseason Position Breakdown: Linebacker
- Offseason Position Breakdown: Tight End
- Offseason Position Breakdown: Special Teams
The best photos from Seahawks practices at Virginia Mason Athletic Center throughout the 2016 season.