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Seattle goes into offseason with core group intact and only a few free agent questions

  • 8558947b95f78301260f6a70670015d2.jpg

    Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) runs past Atlanta Falcons defensive end Kroy Biermann (71) during the first half of an NFC divisional playoff NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman) (The Associated Press)

  • e7fffa7595c18201260f6a706700bb56.jpg

    Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) is tackled by Atlanta Falcons' Akeem Dent (52) during the first half of an NFC divisional playoff NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman) (The Associated Press)

As belongings were packed up, the phrase became a popular refrain coming from all corners of the Seattle Seahawks locker room.

"We have a really good core group here."

Whether it was safety Earl Thomas or rookie quarterback Russell Wilson uttering those words, they resonated with substance because the Seahawks went from a young team with potential to a team on the cusp of being an NFL power this season.

The expectations will be different in 2013. No longer will the Seahawks be a pleasant surprise, but instead hold the title of contender. Among their starting 22 on offense and defense, the Seahawks have just two players who are unrestricted free agents — defensive tackle Alan Branch and outside linebacker Leroy Hill.