It’s been a turbulent season to say the least for the Seahawks, who parted ways with two of their most famous quarterbacks Russell Wilson and linebacker Bobby Wagner before the start of their new league year.
Ushering in a new era after the most successful decade in franchise history, Seattle replaced Wilson with Denver in two first-round picks, two second-round picks, a fifth-round pick, and a trio of veteran players. Hours later, reports emerged that the team would release Wagner directly and after he reached the market, he finally signed a five-year deal to join Ramez. In the wake of these moves, no player remains on the roster from the last two Super Bowl teams.
The Broncos are set to play at Lumen Field and the Rams obviously play two divisional games against the Seahawks, fans will have to see Wilson and Wagner dress up differently at their old stadiums in 2022. But as 12s knows all too well, this won’t be The first or last time a star player returns to town with a new sporting thread.
Since the arrival of General Manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll in 2010, the Seattle-based mental trust team has made many tough roster choices to go from cherished stars with All-Pro and/or Pro Bowl pedigrees. How did these players perform in their new surroundings after they left?
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Before Wilson and Wagner add their names to this unwelcome list, here’s a look back at eight former Seahawks who achieved stardom with the franchise before continuing their careers elsewhere.
Once a major cog in the “Legion of Boom” debut, injuries and suspensions slowed Brawner in his final two seasons with the Seahawks after being called the Pro Bowler in 2011. Limited to just nine games during the team’s Super Bowl win in the 2013 campaign, he signed a two-year contract. Three years worth $17 million with the Patriots. Once back from suspension, he became a New England high school fixture and eventually helped his new team oust his former employer at Super Bowl XLIX. He was going to play another sub-season in New Orleans and didn’t make the Seattle roster out of training camp in 2016 before his career was over.
Despite being left out just a few years after the First-Team All-Pro pick, after battling injuries and limiting him to six games in 2014, the Seahawks sent Unger and a first-round pick to the Saints for a Jimmy Graham court finish. While Graham made a pair of Pro Bowls in his three seasons in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle struggled to find a viable replacement for Unger, who brought stability to New Orleans’ offensive line over the next four seasons. He finished his career on a strong note, making it third and final in a Pro Bowl while helping the Saints hit a record 13-3 in 2018. Meanwhile, the Seahawks continue to look for a long-term center option all these years later.
Choosing to represent himself without an agent, Okung chose to bet on himself and while the Seahawks were interested in re-signing, he ended up going to the Broncos on a one-year, $5 million deal with an additional four-year, $48 million option. While starting all 16 of Denver’s games, the team rejected that costly option and immediately became a free agent again, this time signing a four-year, $53 million contract with Los Angeles. He made his second Pro Bowl the following season and ended up playing three seasons with the Chargers. He last played for the Panthers in 2020, and only watched seven matches due to injury.
On the day of Super Bowl 50, after suffering injuries throughout the 2015 season, Lynch famously posted a photo on Twitter of his cleats hanging from a phone cord, announcing his retirement the way only “Beast Mode” could. He sat through the 2016 season, but once news broke that the Raiders would eventually move to Las Vegas, he was inspired to return to play for his hometown team in Oakland. The Seahawks swapped Lynch for a sixth-round pick with the Raiders for a fifth-round pick and in his first season back home, he raced for 891 yards and seven touchdowns. Injuries slowed him down in 2018, but he was still effective in six games at a north of four yards per carry and was on track for a 1,000-yard season. After being briefly out of the game again, he made his return to the injury-stricken Seahawks to play in the season finale in 2019 and scored three points in two playoffs.
After recovering from surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon and set to earn $11 million in 2018, the Seahawks decided to release Sherman before starting free agency, paving the way for him to immediately sign a three-year contract with the 49ers. . Staying at NFC West, he helped his new team win the division and advance to the Super Bowl in his first season, where he was unable to collect his second Lombardy Cup. While the team returned to last place in the division in 2019, it earned a Second-Team All-Pro honor and made its fifth Pro Bowl game of a vintage season. Since then, while playing well when he was healthy, injuries have been limited to 10 games over the past two seasons and he may be at the end of the streak in his illustrious career.
Despite making the Pro Bowl for the third consecutive season in 2017, the Seahawks decided to recharge the aging defensive end to the Eagles in the fifth round of picking and receiving Marcus Johnson. Instantly making a difference to the defending champion, the versatile defender scored 34 tackles and 9.0 sacks to help Philadelphia return to the playoffs as a wild card. After the season ended, he traded again, this time going to the Patriots for a future fifth-round pick. His tenure in New England didn’t come close either, as he received a one-game suspension for detrimental team conduct and was traded to Dallas before the deadline. After jumping into his last two NFL seasons, he announced his retirement in July 2020.
While Thomas has always been considered one of the best-dressed Seahawks with five All-Pro picks on his résumé, his passing may be the most chaotic divorce in franchise history. Unhappy with not being awarded a new contract, he set up most of the training camp before the 2018 season and reported shortly before the regular season opened. He started four games before breaking a leg against the Cardinal and left the field on a wagon while conceding a flyer poorly toward coach Pete Carroll on the sidelines. With the bridge burned beyond repair, he signed with the Ravens and made the Pro Bowl in 2019, though his tenure didn’t end well there either. He was released before the start of the 2020 season due to his detrimental behavior to the team, and he hasn’t played a surprise since.
Wright, the latest high-profile defensive player to leave Seattle, wanted to return for the eleventh season and reached out to the team during training camp in hopes of making it happen. But the interest wasn’t mutual despite the fact that the veteran full-back enjoyed a solid season in 2020 as he was the only player in the league to tackle double-digit tackles due to losses and broken passes. By choosing to go ahead with Daryl Taylor as a strong quarterback instead, Wright eventually landed the Raiders shortly before the start of the regular season and finished with 51 tackles and two tackles to lose in 17 games. He is currently an unrestricted free agent and hopes to play in 2022.