The Seattle Seahawks' roster continues to look one of the strongest in the NFL as we head toward the 2015 campaign.
Indeed, with the offseason addition of Jimmy Graham and a new deal for Marshawn Lynch there's a strong argument for saying Pete Carroll's team is in an even better position than it was 12 months ago.
Looming on the horizon though are contract negotiations for several of the team's top players. And, with reports today that one of them has revealed he plans to quit the team for the Atlanta Falcons in 2016, dreams of a dynasty developing have taken a hit.
According to Samuel Logan of Black Sports Online, Seattle Defensive End Bruce Irvin made it clear that he sees his future away from the Seahawks when his rookie contract comes to an end after this season:
"I'm going to be in Atlanta next season. I'm ready," was Irvin's apparent response when quizzed on his future plans.
"Atlanta is where I want to be. Believe that."
The pass rusher has been an integral part of Seattle's imposing defense since being drafted by the franchise with the 15th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft. In three seasons Irvin has 94 combined tackles, 16.5 sacks, three interceptions and two touchdowns.
With his rookie deal coming to an end soon though there has been much speculation about his future, and his home state city of Atlanta have been mentioned often with a potential reunion with former Seahawks DC Dan Quinn (the new head coach in Atlanta) much discussed in the media.
The Seahawks, despite turning down the fifth-year option of Irvin's contract earlier this month, are said to be very keen on keeping him with the franchise on a long-term deal.
With a big new deal for franchise quarterback Russell Wilson also to negotiate, however, there are question marks over whether Seattle will be prepared to pay Bruce Irvin as much as he is likely to expect when the sides begin contract talks over the next few months.
These latest comments then will only add to the speculation that, after two season's riding high with Super Bowl appearances, the Seattle Seahawks are facing a real fight on their hands to keep their hugely successful roster together beyond the 2015 campaign.
Seahawks fans: How big a loss would Bruce Irvin be? And, should a player be making comments like these anyway? Have your say in the comments section below...
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