Defensive linemen Cliff Avril (left) and Michael Bennett (right), who combined for 18.5 sacks in 2012, will join the Seahawks’ pass rush in 2013
Three weeks since the start of the 2013 League year, we take an updated look at who has come and who has gone around the NFC West via trades and free agency.
Out: S Kerry Rhodes (released); S Adrian Wilson (released, signed by New England Patriots); RB Beanie Wells (released); WR Early Doucet (released); CB William Gay (released, signed by Pittsburgh Steelers); QB Kevin Kolb (released, signed by Buffalo Bills); QB John Skelton (released); CB Greg Toler (free agent, signed by Indianapolis Colts); LB Quentin Groves (free agent, signed by Cleveland Browns); LB Stewart Bradley (released, signed by Denver Broncos); G Rich Ohrnberger (free agent, signed by San Diego Chargers)
In: CB Antoine Cason (free agent, signed from San Diego Chargers); DE Matt Shaughnessy (free agent, signed from Oakland Raiders); RB Rashard Mendenhall (free agent, signed from Pittsburgh Steelers); LB Jasper Brinkley (free agent, signed from Minnesota Vikings); S Yeremiah Bell (free agent, signed from New York Jets); CB Jerraud Powers (free agent, signed from Indianapolis Colts); LB Lorenzo Alexander (free agent, signed from Washington Redskins); QB Drew Stanton (free agent, signed from Indianapolis Colts); DE Frostee Rucker (released from Cleveland Browns); S Jonathan Amaya (free agent, signed from Miami Dolphins); QB Carson Palmer (trade with Oakland Raiders)
For a full Cardinals free-agent tracker click here.
San Francisco 49ers
Out: S Dashon Goldson (free agent, signed by Tampa Bay Buccaneers); DT Isaac Sopoaga (free agent, signed by Philadelphia Eagles); TE Delanie Walker (free agent, signed by Tennessee Titans); DT Ricky Jean Francois (free agent, signed by Indianapolis Colts); K David Akers (released); WR Tedd Ginn (free agent, signed by Carolina Panthers); QB Alex Smith (trade with Kansas City Chiefs)
In: DL Glenn Dorsey (free agent, signed from Kansas City Chiefs); S Craig Dahl (free agent, signed from St. Louis Rams); LB Dan Skuta (free agent, signed from Cincinnati Bengals); WR Anquan Boldin (trade with Baltimore Ravens); K Phil Dawson (free agent, signed from Cleveland Browns); WR Marlon Moore (free agent, signed from Miami Dolphins); QB Colt McCoy (trade with Cleveland Browns); CB Nnamdi Asomugha (free agent, signed from Philadelphia Eagles)
Out: RB/KR Leon Washington (released, signed by New England Patriots); DE Jason Jones (free agent, signed by Detroit Lions); WR Ben Obomanu (released); QB Matt Flynn (trade with Oakland Raiders); DT Alan Branch (free agent, signed by Buffalo Bills)
In: DE Cliff Avril (free agent, signed from Detroit Lions); DE Michael Bennett (free agent, signed from Tampa Bay Buccaneers); WR Percy Harvin (trade with Minnesota Vikings); DT Tony McDaniel (free agent, signed from Miami Dolphins)
For a full Seahawks free-agent tracker click here.
St. Louis Rams
Out: RB Steven Jackson (free agent, signed by Atlanta Falcons); WR Danny Amendola (free agent, signed by New England Patriots); S Craig Dahl (free agent, signed by San Francisco 49ers); CB Bradley Fletcher (free agent, signed by Philadelphia Eagles); WR Brandon Gibson (free agent, signed by Miami Dolphins); C Robert Turner (free agent, signed by Tennessee Titans); S Quintin Mikell (released); OT Wayne Hunter (released); TE Matthew Mulligan (released)
In: OT Jake Long (free agent, signed from Miami Dolphins); TE Jared Cook (free agent, signed from Tennessee Titans)
Expectations will be high for the Seahawks in 2013. If that much wasn’t already clear from the way the Seahawks players and coaches have handled themselves since the loss to the Atlanta Falcons in last year’s divisional playoff round, it will be now, after the staff at ESPN.com has compiled their first NFL Power Rankings of the 2013 season.
The Seahawks rank atop the list, one slot above the division rival San Francisco 49ers, who fell in last year’s Super Bowl to the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens rank No. 8 on the ESPN staffers’ list.
ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando (who cast a No. 1 vote for the Seahawks) offered some analysis of the group’s rankings:
“The Seahawks have been gaining on the 49ers for the past couple years. The 49ers were already an elite team. Seattle had more room for improvement. I felt as though the Seahawks caught the 49ers late last season. Seattle did benefit from a run of late-season home games against division opponents.
“Percy Harvin, Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril have the potential to become high-impact additions. There was risk in making the Harvin move. Will he run his course in Seattle, same as he did in Minnesota? It’s a fair question, but I think the results will be positive in the beginning, at least.
“The NFC West remained the highest-ranked division with a 12.3 average ranking for its teams. That was up slightly from a 12.8 average at regular season’s end.”
We’re just over one week into free agency and Nate Davis of USA Today has handed out his first offseason report cards, and Seattle should feel good about the mark they’ve earned. Davis tabbed the Seahawks with an “A” grade after acquiring the likes of wide receiver Percy Harvin and defensive ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. The Seahawks were one of just two teams (the Minnesota Vikings being the other) to earn the high mark.
Here’s a look at what Davis had to say about the moves general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll have made to this point:
Seattle Seahawks (A): The offense (Harvin) and defense (DEs Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett) have been supercharged, and the pay scale really didn’t suffer much even if GM John Schneider had to part with a few picks, including this year’s first rounder, for Harvin. The Niners should be worried.
Arizona Cardinals (C): At the outset of free agency, they only had about $3 million available. But new GM Steve Keim has made quite a few moves to churn his roster: he signed QB Drew Stanton and parted with Kevin Kolb, picked up RB Rashard Mendenhall after punting Beanie Wells and completely remade the secondary. But should Keim have devoted his newfound money to a worrisome O-line in order to give Stanton (or whomever) a chance? Maybe next month.
St. Louis Rams (B+): If free agency is any indication, St. Louis is very confident its youngsters are ready to supplant Amendola, Gibson and Jackson. New LT Jake Long and TE Jared Cook should make QB Sam Bradford a very happy man. Armed with two first-round picks, the Rams’ drastic improvement over the past year should continue at draft time.
San Francisco 49ers (B): They chose to move on from all-pro FS Dashon Goldson and a few others. But given this team’s return to NFL royalty under GM Trent Baalke and coach Jim Harbaugh, who’s going to argue? WR Anquan Boldin and DE Glenn Dorsey look like cost-effective additions, but is Craig Dahl really the man to fill Goldson’s cleats?
Here’s a look back at ten of the most memorable meaningful action photos of the season.
Marshawn Lynch Flips into the End Zone (Seahawks vs. Atlanta, October 2, 2011).
Marshawn Lynch decided to "flip" himself into the end zone at the end of an 11-yard touchdown run against the Atlanta Falcons at CenturyLink Field.
Seahawks defense forces Eli Manning to fumble (Seahawks at NY Giants, October 9, 2011)
Seattle's visit to New York resulted in one of their best victories of the season which featured Chris Clemons forcing Giants quarterback Eli Manning to fumble.
Doug Baldwin’s Crowd Silencing Touchdown (Seahawks at NY Giants, October 9, 2011)
Undrafted rookie Doug Baldwin played fearlessly against New York, and his 27-yard touchdown reception from Charlie Whitehurst with 2:37 left in the game silenced the pro-Giants crowd at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
Brandon Browner’s Pick-Six Seals the Win (Seahawks at NY Giants, October 9, 2011)
With the Seahawks trying to protect a fragile lead late in the game at the New York Giants, the defensive backfield came up big in the final minutes. An Eli Manning pass intended for Victor Cruz was tipped by Kam Chancellor and intercepted by Brandon Browner, who raced 94-yards for a game-sealing touchdown.
Chris Clemons Smiling and Sacking (Seahawks at Chicago, December 18, 2012)
Chris Clemons smiles as he sacks Chicago quarterback Caleb Haney during Seattle's victory at Chicago. Clemons equaled his 2010 output with 11 sacks again in 2011.
Big Red Heads to the House (Seahawks at Chicago, December 18, 2011)
Big Red Bryant does his best high step as he returns an interception to the end zone for a touchdown in the Seahawks 38-14 victory at Soldier Field.
“Feetball” (Seahawks vs. San Francisco, December 24, 2011)
Seattle's Marshawn Lynch reaches the ball into the end zone amid a sea of feet for a touchdown during the divisional battle with the San Francisco 49ers on Christmas Eve at CenturyLink Field.
Heath Farwell’s Blocked Punt (Seahawks vs. San Francisco, December 24, 2011).
Heath Farwell joined the Seahawks during the 2011 season and made a huge impact on special teams. His blocked punt against San Francisco set up a touchdown by Marshawn Lynch, the first rushing touchdown the 49ers had given up all season.
D-Backs Double-Team (Seahawks at Arizona, January 1, 2012)
Cornerback Brandon Browner and safety Earl Thomas both earned Pro Bowl honors for the 2011 season, and plays like this double-team against Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald in Week 17 were part of the reason why.
Rocket Launches (Seahawks at Arizona, January 1, 2012)
Rookie Ricardo Lockette earned his way into the active roster in Week 16 and wasted no time making his mark. This juggling catch on a deep route resulted in a 61-yard touchdown against the Cardinals. His season totals? Two catches for 105 yards (52.5 ypc) and a touchdown. Expect big things from Lockette in 2012.
The Seahawks traveled to the Valley of the Sun for the season finale against the Arizona Cardinals. Both teams sought a victory to finish the season with an 8-8 record, but the Cardinals prevailed in overtime, 23-20.
The roster says he's a rookie but receiver Ricardo Lockette looked All-Pro in a three-piece suit as he boarded the team charter.
Upon arrival in Phoenix, Tarvaris Jackson walks from the plane to the buses in the warm sunshine.
On game day, injured left tackle Russell Okung talks with general manager John Schneider during the early warmup period.
Rookie receiver Doug Baldwin listens to music as they players make final preparations to take the field.
Players including Chris Maragos gather for their traditional team prayer shortly before leaving the locker room prior to kickoff.
Chris Clemons takes a moment to himself on the sidelines as the Seahawks wait for the Cardinals to be introduced.
Leon Washington is brought down after a gain in the first quarter.
Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson stiff-arms Arizona's Daryl Washington in the backfield.
Arizona's dangerous receiver Larry Fitzgerald is brought down by Seahawks linebacker David Hawthorne, who led Seattle's defense with nine tackles.
Seahawks defensive tackle Alan Branch breaks through to sack Arizona quarterback John Skelton.
Running back Leon Washington dives for the corner of the end zone to score Seattle's first touchdown on a 48-yard run in the third quarter.
Cornerback Brandon Browner (39) and safety Earl Thomas (29) both leap high to prevent a completion to Arizona's intended receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
David Hawthorne's hard hit on Arizona's Andre Roberts sent the Cardinal receiver's helmet flying.
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman races down the left sideline after intercepting a pass that set up a Seattle field goal.
Atari Bigby put a big hit on Arizona's kickoff returner A.J. Jefferson with the help of Earl Thomas.
Seattle's biggest offensive highlight came when rookie receiver Ricardo Lockette made a juggling one-handed catch for a 61-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was pumped after Lockette's touchdown tied the game at 20-20 in the fourth quarter.
Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald showed why he's one of the best in the game, hauling in three catches on the final drive of overtime.
Seattle's Red Bryant had blocked three field goals already this season, but couldn't get his big hands on the final kick in overtime.
In the quiet locker room after the game, players brought their hands together for the final time of the 2011 season.
Head coach Pete Carroll spoke on the phone as the team boarded the charter bound for Seattle after the game.
Each member of the team's traveling party has a name plate above their seat, and the Seahawks Director of Video Thom Fermstad's was waiting for him on his final road trip. Fermstad is retiring after the season and has been with the club since Day One of its existence.
The Seahawks hoped to continue their five-game winning streak with a Christmas Eve game against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field. Santa hats were everywhere, but the 49ers played the part of the Grinch and escaped with a hard-fought 19-17 victory, essentially eliminating the Seahawks from playoff contention.
Seahawks fans were both in the Christmas spirit and the Skittles spirit as they hoped for a big day from Skittles-loving running back Marshawn Lynch.
In the locker room, Lynch prepared a new pair of Skittles-themed Nike shoes for the game.
Seahawks receiver Golden Tate is introduced to a raucous crowd at CenturyLink Field.
Rookie wide receiver Ricardo Lockette was active for the first time in his young career, and wasted no time making his mark by hauling in a deep ball from Tarvaris Jackson.
San Francisco defensive back Carlos Rogers didn't make it easy, fighting for the ball as Lockette landed with a 44-yard reception on the second play from scrimmage.
Receiver Doug Baldwin celebrates after scoring on a 13-yard touchdown reception from Tarvaris Jackson, giving the Seahawks an early 7-0 lead.
Richard Sherman kept San Francisco's Michael Crabtree from making a catch on a deep ball in the first quarter.
Doug Baldwin flies towards the first down marker after a reception from Tarvaris Jackson.
Shoes were a hot topic but not these cleats as Marshawn Lynch (right) tried to stretch the ball over the goal line just before halftime. After an official's review, the ball was placed at the one-yard line.
Seattle's defense, including Chris Clemons, chased San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith all afternoon, but Smith's ability to buy time kept many 49ers drives alive.
Linebacker K.J. Wright tackles 49ers running back Frank Gore from behind for one of his four tackles.
Seattle's special teams came up big when Heath Farwell blocked a punt by San Francisco's Andy Lee in the fourth quarter.
Marshawn Lynch made sure the Seahawks capitalized on the turnover as he raced into the end zone from four yards out to give the Seahawks a 17-16 lead.
Lynch celebrated with Ricardo Lockette as Skittles rained down into the end zone after the touchdown.
Members of the Seahawks grounds crew used blowers in an effort to remove the Skittles from the field.
After a San Francisco field goal gave them the lead at 19-17, Seattle tried to rally but a fumble by Tarvaris Jackson ended hopes.
Doug Baldwin sat alone on the bench in the waning minutes.
Earl Thomas walks dejectedly towards the Seahawks locker room after the game.
Seattle's locker room was somber after the defeat, but head coach Pete Carroll reminded them how far they'd come this season and that they still had the opportunity to finish strong next week in Arizona.
The Seahawks hoped to stretch their winning streak to three games against the visiting Washington Redskins, who traveled to Seattle losers of six games in a row. Seattle survived a rough first quarter to take a 10-point lead in the second half, only to see it snatched away in the fourth quarter.
Hours before kickoff, receiver Sidney Rice enters the team's locker room at CenturyLink Field.
General manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll chat in the rain during pregame.
Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor heads into the smoke and fog of the pregame introductions.
After a near melee between co-captains, order was restored and referee Clete Blakeman only allowed one captain per team to attend when he finally was able to toss the coin.
Safety Earl Thomas makes a diving pass deflection on a ball intended for Washington's Santana Moss.
Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks offense found the going tough in the first half, as the Redskins held them to only only ten minutes of possession time.
Cornerback Brandon Browner makes a leaping interception in front of Washington's Jabar Gaffney in the second quarter.
Behind blocks by offensive linemen Paul McQuistan, left, and Robert Gallery, right, Marshawn Lynch wove his way to a 20-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.
Marshawn LYnch celebrates his 20-yard touchdown pass and run from Tarvaris Jackson.
Washington's Jabar Gaffney stretches but can't reach this pass on a fade route as Seattle's Richard Sherman defends.
Red Bryant gets through to block a 23-yard field goal attempt by the Redskins.
Bryant was still fired up when met by coach Pete Carroll on the sidelines after the blocked field goal.
The 12th MAN gave their all as the Seahawks tried to hold onto a second half lead.
Marshawn Lynch got his "Beast Mode" on and punished Washington's Oshiomogho Atogwe on this run. Lynch ran for 111 yards on 24 carries.
Heath Farwell and the Seahawks special teams did their part as Jon Ryan landed this punt near the goal line which was kept in play by Farwell's hustle and balance.
Michael Robinson and teammates did the rest, downing the punt on the two yard-line.
Cornerback Richard Sherman also intercepted a pass by Rex Grossman, then returned to the sidelines pumped up by the turnover.
Seahawks receiver Golden Tate couldn't hold on to this pass in the end zone, and Seattle settled for a field goal to take a 10-7 lead.
On Seattle's next possession, Tate was able to haul in a 15-yard touchdown pass from Tarvaris Jackson, but his falling celebration earned him an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
After Washington scored to take a 20-17 lead, Red Bryant blocked the extra point for his second block of the day and kept the Seahawks within three points of the Redskins in the fourth quarter.
Seattle's best hope at a tie or chance to win was thrwarted when Doug Baldwin got open deep in Washington territory on a pass that fell incomplete despite contact from the defender that fans thought should have been called a penalty.
Seattle's fourth quarter woes were evident when Jackson was sacked on fourth down with just over two minutes remaining in the game.
After he threw an interception on what would be Seattle's final drive, Tarvaris Jackson watched as the Redskins ran out the clock for an 20-17 victory.
The Seahawks started the second half of the season at a disappointing 2-6, and faced the visting Baltimore Ravens, holders of a gaudy 6-2 record and first place in the AFC North. However, Seattle never trailed and upset Baltimore, 22-17 on Military Appreciation Day at CenturyLink Field.
Hours before kickoff, safety Earl Thomas sat alone at his locker, studying his playbook before facing the Ravens.
In honor of Military Appreciation Day, the Sea Gals showed off their patriotism during their pregame routine.
A U.S. serviceman carried the American Flag and led the Seahawks out of the tunnel during pregame introductions.
As the teams stood for the Star Spangled Banner, fans throughout the stadium joined to perform a card stunt that thanked America's service veterans.
Cornerback Chris Maragos upends Baltimore's Ladarius Webb on a punt return in the first quarter of a hard-hitting game.
Baltimore's David Reed is hammered on a kickoff return and the ball squirts loose, one of his two fumbles recovered by the Seahawks.
Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin can't get his hands on a pass from Tarvaris Jackson in the end zone and the Seahawks settled for a field goal.
Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons is collared as he tries to get to Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco.
Seahawks defensive backs Brandon Browner and Earl Thomas collide in the end zone and nearly intercept a pass from Flacco.
After scrambling out of the pocket, Tarvaris Jackson lets fly after finding Doug Baldwin open downfield.
Baldwin made the catch and looked for running room and the play netted 50 yards.
Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka signals that the Seahawks have recovered Baltimore's second fumbled return of the first half.
In the locker room at halftime, Gus Bradley gave instructions to his defensive unit.
Seattle's defense held up against Baltimore's 52 pass attempts, and Roy Lewis nearly intercepted this pass intended for the Ravens' Torrey Smith.
The Seahawks insisted on establishing their ground game, and it paid off. Marshawn Lynch breaks through a hole on his way to some of his 109 rushing yards.
All in all, seven Seahawks had receptions, including tight end Anthony McCoy who rambled upfield for a 14-yard gain in the second half.
Rookie cornerback Richard Sherman talks to teammates on the sidelines between series.
Receiver Golden Tate played well after an injuries to Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin. Tate celebrates after his huge 24-yard reception on third down that helped seal the victory.
On Seattle's final drive, Marshawn Lynch followed his blocks and the Seahawks killed the clock with a 13-play drive.
Seahawks Chairman Paul Allen greets players including Michael Robinson as they returned to the locker room after the victory.
Running back Marshawn Lynch and his fullback Michael Robinson celebrate in the locker room.
Marshawn Lynch, who is normally reserved in the locker room, stepped up and spoke to the team after the game.
Head coach Pete Carroll talks to his players and coaches in the happy locker room after upsetting the Ravens.
The Seahawks traveled to Dallas in Week Nine, and fell to the Cowboys 23-13.
Players boarded the team's Hawaiian Airlines charter under cloudy skies in Seattle.
On three day road trips, the team does a brief walkthru practice at a local school then visits the stadium for a quick look at the surroundings. Making this trip unusual on Saturday was Cowboys Stadium was full of fans as part of enhanced tour. Punter Jon Ryan is protected from curious fans as he takes in sight lines from the hashmarks.
On Saturday evening, coach Carroll sat in a far corner of the team's meal room, taking notes before the team's final meeting of the night.
Game day arrives and under the roof of Cowboys Stadium, Seahawks defensive backs huddle before pregame warmups.
Visiting players, including Texas native Earl Thomas, walk through an exclusive fan area lit by a large star as they make their way from locker room to the field.
Texas natives and honorary captains Clint Gresham (49) and Russell Okung (76) joined season captains Tarvaris Jackson (7) and Michael Robinson (26) for the coin toss.
Seattle's defense started tough, with Leroy Hill (56) and K.J Wright (50) combining to stop Dallas running back DeMarco Murray.
Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch doled out early punishment and knocked off the helmet of Cowboys safety Barry Church on a first half run.
Seattle native and Dallas Mavericks star Jason Terry (center) watched from an end zone suite, and saluted Seahawks defensive tackle Brandon Mebane during a timeout.
Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson fires a pass towards the sideline.
Head coach Pete Carroll congratulates Heath Farwell after a special teams tackle.
Safety Kam Chancellor dives but could only come up with the towel of Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray on this play.
Seahawks cornerback Roy Lewis came up with the football after Richard Sherman's hard hit forced Dallas' Dez Bryant to fumble near the goal line.
It's said that everything is bigger in Texas, and in Dallas that includes stationing dancers high above the field on elevated stages near the roof of the stadium.
Marshawn Lynch ran, rumbled and rolled for 135 yards on 23 carries, one of the bright spots for the Seahawks.
Marshawn Lynch reaches the ball over the goal line for Seattle's lone touchdown on a four-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson scrambles and is brought down in the fourth quarter.
Marshawn Lynch sits on the turf after being tackled and losing his helmet.
The noon kickoff meant that the Seahawks boarded their return charter in the fading Texas light.
On the return flight to Seattle, offensive line coach Tom Cable was already going over game video with rookie right guard John Moffitt as staff and players wasted no time working to find ways to improve.