When the Seattle Seahawks missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011 this past season, most veterans in the locker room expected the team returning next year could look quite different.
Even so, the amount of turnover this offseason has caught several players by surprise.
Linebacker K.J. Wright said Tuesday that the upheaval has been difficult to handle.
“It’s been one of the toughest offseasons to deal with,” Wright said on Sirius XM NFL Radio, via Alex Marvez of the Sporting News. “Every year it’s not fun when guys leave, but this has hurt pretty bad. You just didn’t see that happening the way it did.
“It’s a ruthless business. We know what we signed up for; however, it still doesn’t make it easier.”
The Seahawks released cornerback Richard Sherman only to see him sign with the San Francisco 49ers, traded defensive end Michael Bennett to the Philadelphia Eagles and released cornerback Jeremy Lane. Deshawn Shead was also released, though they are hopeful for a return on a new contract. Additionally, defensive end Cliff Avril and safety Kam Chancellor both have their careers in jeopardy due to serious neck injuries.
That doesn’t account for the departure of eight assistant coaches – including all four of the top assistants on staff – and the six new coaches added to the organization, or the impending departures of Jimmy Graham, Paul Richardson and potentially others in free agency as well.
While there are reasons for why Seattle has done what it has this offseason, it’s likely difficult for members of the premier defensive unit of the decade to look at a roster that held the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles to 10 points in a Seahawks victory in early December and believe such change was needed.
Wright is still optimistic that the group they cobble together for the future will be able to find out a new way to deliver the standard of play they’ve performed to for many years.
“This is the NFL. A lot of guys are real talented,” Wright said. “I believe we have people who will step up for us.”