The Seahawks went 11-5 and returned to the playoffs as a strong NFC wild-card team in 2019. But they have to make a few key moves with who's going and coming to make it to the postseason again this season.
Coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have been together for a decade and are good at recognizing what positions are in need of mass change, and which simply need timely tweaks. Although unorthodox at times, they stick to the script of finding players they know will fit well in their offensive and defensive schemes.
Sporting News takes a deep dive into the Seahawks' to-do list from before NFL free agency through the 2020 NFL Draft:
NFL FREE AGENCY 2020: Ranking top 50 players
Seahawks' top priority: Revamp the pass defense
The Seahawks were tied for 31st in the NFL in sacks (28) last season, and were 27th in pass defense (263.9 yards per game). It also wasn't like the team was dominant against the run, finishing 22nd in that category (117.7 ypg).
The bottom line is they need to get deeper, with increased disruption up front and fewer big plays allowed downfield. They want to be a run-heavy, ball-control offense, but Russell Wilson had to throw more than they would have liked with teams forcing their hands into passing duels.
The Seahawks were good at making plays on the ball, with 16 interceptions. But they gave up too many key chunks and finished 17th in third-down defense (38 percent success rate) as a result. They need a better pass rush and secondary harmony to get closer to "The Legion of Boom" days.
Seahawks free agents 2020
Here's a look at the Seattle Seahawks' key unrestricted, unsigned players for next season:
QB Geno Smith
RB Marshawn Lynch
RB C.J. Prosise
RB Robert Turbin
WR Jarson Brown
WR Josh Gordon
TE Luke Willson
OT Germain Ifedi
OT George Fant
G Mike Iupati
C Joey Hunt
DE Jadeveon Clowney
DE Ezekiel Ansah
DE Quinton Jefferson
DE Branden Jackson
DT Jarran Reed
DT Al Woods
OLB Mychal Kendricks
OLB Dekoda Watson
CB Neiko Thorpe
CB Kalan Reed
CB Akeem King
The Seahawks are good moving forward with their regular running back options, when healthy, and Brown and Gordon won't be back at wideout. There's a fair chance they bring back Iupati at left guard, but they are set to lose both tackles in Ifedi and Fant.
The priority defensively with all the line concerns is Clowney, who will get plenty of other suitors to help him hit the top of the edge pass-rusher market. The next guy up front they want to keep is Reed, who would be an affordable no-brainer should Clowney leave.
Seattle Seahawks salary cap
The Seahawks have $40.4 million in cap space, per OverTheCap.com. To create a little more room, the easiest cut candidate would be tight end Ed Dickson, who comes with a cap savings of $3 million. He is expendable after the team signed another former Panther in Greg Olsen.
Two wild cards for bigger savings are center Justin Britt ($8.5 million) and outside linebacker K.J. Wright ($7.5 million). The team would need to feel really comfortable about replacements to make those moves.
Biggest team needs
Edge pass-rusher: This easily tops the list with Clowney and Ansah unsigned.
Offensive tackle: Should Ifedi leave, they need an option on the right side opposite Duane Brown, who will turn 35 heading into his 13th NFL season.
Cornerback: They need subpackage help behind Shaquill Griffin and Tre Flowers.
Defensive tackle: Beyond keeping Reed, they need to strengthen their rotation.
Guard: There could be some interior reshuffling, depending on what happens with Iupati and at center.
Outside linebacker: Kendricks may not be back and this rises should they surprisingly cut Wright.
Wide receiver: They need to get better spreading the field to support Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.
Top free agent targets
There's a good chance Clowney won't be returning, and with the Jaguars franchise-tagging Yannick Ngakoue, the Seahawks would need to trade for him. Another couple edge rushers who fit Carroll's defense are the Rams' Dante Fowler Jr., a former Jaguar, and the 49ers' Arik Armstead. For a bit of a reclamation, there's the Falcons' Vic Beasley Jr.
For right tackle to replace Ifedi, the Seahawks' could go for the top and the Titans' Jack Conklin, or older and a little cheaper with the Packers' Bryan Bulaga. For a true slot receiver, the Cowboys' Randall Cobb has some appeal.
The Seahawks have been looking into T.J. Carrie, formerly of the Browns, for nickel back. The Cowboys' Anthony Brown is a possibility there, as is the Jets' Brian Poole. A former Seahawks defensive end, Michael Bennett, could be picked up again to replace Ansah.
Seahawks draft picks 2020
Round 1, Pick No. 27
Round 2, Pick No. 59
Round 2, Pick No. 64 (from Kansas City Chiefs)
Round 3, Pick No. 101 (compensatory)
Round 4, Pick No. 133
Round 4, Pick No. 144 (compensatory)
Round 5, Pick No. 162 (from Pittsburgh Steelers)
Round 6, Pick No. 214 (compensatory)
NFL Mock Draft 2020
The Seahawks have eight picks with which to work. Carroll and Schneider tend to go against the grain early — see running back Rashaad Penny and defensive end L.J. Collier the past two first rounds.
Sporting News has them taking Penn State edge rusher Yetur Gross-Matos in Round 1, with Iowa's A.J. Epenesa possibly being in play at the same position. Two other defensive targets might be Florida cornerback CJ Henderson and Oklahoma defensive tackle Neville Gallimore.
For the offensive line, they can consider Houston tackle Josh Jones and Wisconsin guard/center Tyler Biadasz. Also don't sleep on Arizona State receiver Brandon Aiyuk, maybe even with one of the second-rounders. Notre Dame edge-rusher Julian Okwara and Auburn tackle Prince Tega Wanogho are more Day 2 names to monitor.
The Seahawks will give us plenty of surprises in playing the best player available (to them) game. It's hard to argue with their results, given their ability to find gems in later rounds.