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Some fans of the Seahawks want to blow the whole thing up after this disastrous 2021 season is over. It’s tough to blame them, especially after the team blew a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter for the second time this year in Sunday’s stunning loss to Chicago.

The instinct to fire Pete Carroll and John Schneider, trade Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner and restart next year with a totally clean slate is a tempting one, but ultimately too risky. It’s also the least-likely scenario we’re going to see this offseason. Carroll says he and team owner Jody Allen agree that the franchise doesn’t need a restart. For now, we have no reason not to believe him.

There’s more good news for fans of keeping this group intact – the Seahawks will have plenty of salary cap room in 2022 to retain all of the pending free agents they want to and sign a couple of marquee names, as well.

Some major roster changes are needed – most notably upgrading the offensive line and the edge rotation. However, there are some vets still worth keeping around. Here are nine of their own players who are about to become free agents that should be re-signed.

RB Rashaad Penny

(AP Photo/Matt Patterson)

It took him nearly four years, but Rashaad Penny is finally starting to deliver on the potential that made him a first-round pick to begin with. Carroll credits the influence of Adrian Peterson for inspiring Penny’s recent run of exceptional play. Whatever the cause, Penny has been posting legitimate superstar numbers of late.

Over the last three weeks, he’s totaled 311 rushing yards – despite a frustratingly light workload against the Rams – averaging over seven yards per carry and scoring three touchdowns.

It is a small sample and Penny’s injury history does need to be taken into account. However, we’ve seen enough to believe Penny is worth bringing back and being given a legitimate chance to start, especially with Chris Carson’s neck injury bringing his future into question. If Penny is amenable to signing a one-year deal to prove this streak isn’t a fluke Seattle should not hesitate.

TE Gerald Everett

(AP Photo/Justin Rex )

The Seahawks haven’t found a ton of success in free agency in recent years. Landing Gerald Everett on a team-friendly $6 million deal last year was one of their better under-the-radar moves in a while, though.

Everett has proven quite valuable for an offense that has struggled immensely to sustain drives and produce consistently. Like Penny, Everett is finishing the 2021 season on a high note. He’s totaled 10 catches, 143 yards and two touchdowns over the last three games.

Given the state of things, the Seahawks can’t allow any of their offensive playmakers to walk away in March. Everett is easily the best tight end they’ve rostered since Jimmy Graham and is worth bringing back for another two or three seasons at market value.

QB Geno Smith

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If this season has taught us nothing else, it’s how vulnerable this team can be when Russell Wilson is injured or not playing to his full potential. That’s why it makes sense to bring back Geno Smith for another round as QB2.

During his three games and a quarter as Seattle’s starter this year, Smith faced a difficult run of defenses (except Jacksonville) and performed about as well as any NFL team can expect from a backup. His limitations were clear – Smith took too many sacks (13 total) and never posted more than 209 passing yards in a single game. However, he took care of the ball and gave his team a chance to win each time out. The one interception he threw was not remotely his fault and he scored six total touchdowns.

Smith is a competent and reliable backup option and as long as the Seahawks are retaining Wilson there’s no reason not to continue with No. 7 as the understudy.

OT Duane Brown

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Assuming they don’t plan to fire Carroll or Schneider, what to do with Duane Brown is perhaps the most difficult internal personnel decision the front office will face this offseason. At 36 years old, Brown can’t be considered the long-term option at his position, no matter how well he’s played it for the last 15 years.

Whether it’s taking advantage of a deep free agent class or attempting to find one in the draft, this team needs to start looking for their next franchise left tackle right away. However, until that guy actually arrives they should hang onto Brown.

It’s clear his game has begun to decline – his 68.0 pass blocking grade is his lowest since 2009 – but there’s no better alternative at his spot currently on the roster. Brown may not go for another one-year deal given how last offseason unfolded. The Seahawks have to try, though.

DT Al Woods

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This defense has had its flaws all season long. The one exception to the rule – the one variable that’s been solid all year is the interior of the defensive line, where Al Woods and Poona Ford have put on a clinic of consistency.

Retaining Woods will be critical to maintaining the one thing this unit does best – stop the run. Heading into Week 17, the Seahawks are tied with the Saints allowing a league-low 3.7 yards per carry for their opponents. Woods clogging up the middle of the line of scrimmage is the primary reason why they’re so good at the part of the game.

Woods is 34 years old and can’t have many good seasons left – but for now he’s a critical defensive piece and has unquestionably earned a new contract and a raise.

FS Quandre Diggs

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Diggs is in the same bucket as Woods in that it’s a no-brainer decision to re-sign him. He is the best ballhawk the Seahawks have had on the back end of their defense since Richard Sherman was in his prime.

Since he came over in the hilariously lopsided trade with the Lions, Diggs has racked up 13 interceptions in just 36 games. Turnovers are only part of the treat, though. Diggs has been exceedingly stingy in coverage this year, only allowing one touchdown and a 58.4 passer rating.

If the Seahawks fail to re-sign literally everyone else on this list but they still manage to keep Diggs, we can live with it. Allowing him to walk would be a ghastly blunder by the front office, which should have never let him go this long without an extension to begin with.

SS Ryan Neal

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Truth is, Seattle has one of the deepest safety rooms in football. Diggs and Jamal Adams make for perhaps the best starting combination in the NFL and Ryan Neal offers an extra punch coming off the bench that few teams can match.

Thanks to multiple injuries for Adams, Neal has seen some extended playing time over the last two seasons and he’s mostly risen to the challenge. Like Adams, he thrives near the box disrupting the quarterback and the run game. Neal has only missed four tackles this season. As long as he’s not asked to cover somebody like Alvin Kamara, Neal looks like he can be a solid role player for this unit for a few more seasons.

CB Sidney Jones

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Heading into the 2021 season cornerback looked like it was the greatest weakness for this team. As the year is winding down, now it looks like a strength and one of the deepest position groups on the roster.

General manager John Schneider waited too long to address the fire – but he deserves credit for making the moves he did – including getting Sidney Jones in a trade with the Jaguars just before the regular season started.

Jones exhibited some growing pains his first few games, but he settled in nicely and looks like an excellent No. 3 option at outside corner. During his time on the field, Jones has only allowed a 61.8% completion rate and an 87.3 passer rating. If he can be sold on returning in a backup role, he’ll be worth every penny.

CB D.J. Reed

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Last but definitely not least, the Seahawks have to find a way to keep their starting cornerback rotation together.

Tre Brown is locked in on his rookie contract and looks like a long-term starter on the left side. Meanwhile, D.J. Reed has performed exceptionally well since moving over to his natural position on the right side.

Reed has proven to be a top-notch run defender for his position and has only given up a 48.6% completion rate this season. He can probably cash in with a legitimate long-term deal if he hits the open market, which the Seahawks cannot allow to happen.

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