It's no secret that professional sports is a business. Players are traded or waived to save money.
The NFL is no different, particularly because of its strict salary cap.
These five players on the Seahawks' roster could be facing uncertainty heading into 2015.
Their performance could determine what happens to their future in 2016.
Russell Okung, left tackle
Russell Okung has been a main cog along the Seahawks' offensive line ever since being drafted by the team in 2010. But the big question mark is this: Can he stay healthy? Okung has yet to play a full season in five year with the Seahawks. Out of a possible 80 games, the Oklahoma State product has appeared in 59.
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Another factor is whether the team has enough money to resign Okung. Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner agreed to extensions recently, plus Kam Chancellor and Michael Bennett are asking for a bigger payday. Is Okung worth more to that offensive line than you can assign a dollar amount?
Okung's backup, undrafted free agent Garry Gilliam, will be making $604,000 in 2016. The club boasts a track record of finding talent in later rounds and via free agency and developing them, which could factor into the decision as well.
How Okung performs in 2015 can go a long way into what kind of deal will be negotiated later on, particularly if his body holds up.
Brandon Mebane, nose tackle
Like Okung, Brandon Mebane has been a fixture on the Seattle Seahawks roster, except on the defensive side. Drafted in 2007 by Seattle, Mebane has started a possible 110 regular-season games out of 128.
Prior to his 2014 season ending prematurely due to injury (hamstring), Mebane had not missed a game in three straight years.
Mebane will turn 31 in January, he's getting paid a base salary of $5.5 million in 2015 and entering a contract year. The Seahawks already parted ways with Tony McDaniel, indicating perhaps his job is safe. But the club also signed Ahtyba Rubin in the offseason on a one-year deal at $2.6 million, a cheaper replacement option if it comes to down to dollar signs at the end of the day.
Bruce Irvin, linebacker
The Seahawks declined to pick up Bruce Irvin's fifth-year option on his rookie deal, so 2015 will be a contract year for him. Irvin has started 25 games over the last two seasons and remains a key cog in the Seahawks' defense.
However, the Seahawks already paid linebacker K.J. Wright, who signed a four-year, $27 million contract, and they extended linebacker Bobby Wagner on a four-year deal worth $43 million. Even Irvin acknowledged the club can only pay so many people, particularly with the salary cap restrictions in place.
Irvin's backup, Michael Morgan, has appeared in all 16 games in three straight seasons and his salary is a lot more cap friendly (also a free agent, but will be making $1 million in 2015).
Ricardo Lockette, wide receiver
When it's all said and done, Ricardo Lockette may be known more for what happened in Super Bowl XLIX than anything else. He will be entering a contract year, but it's certainly a crowded wide receiver corps in Seattle now.
Jimmy Graham was acquired in the offseason and the Seahawks drafted Tyler Lockett out of Kansas State. Then there's Jermaine Kearse, Doug Baldwin, Paul Richardson, Super Bowl sensation Chris Matthews and second-year man Kevin Norwood. Lockette could be the odd man out.
Though he played in all 16 games last season, Lockette didn't produce much. The 6-foot-2 wideout totaled 11 receptions, 195 yards and two touchdowns.
Whether the Seahawks believe it's worthwhile to keep more than five receivers around could be a deciding factor.
Robert Turbin, running back
Since being selected in the 2012 NFL Draft, Robert Turbin has yet to see meaningful time on the playing field. Of course, that's difficult when Marshawn Lynch is the de facto No. 1 option on the team and has yet to miss a game during that span. Now the 5-foot-10 back from Utah State is entering a contract year.
Outside of Turbin, the Seahawks also have Christine Michael (drafted in 2013) under contract for one more season. Another player that is making some noise in training camp is undrafted running back Thomas Rawls.
The Seahawks could just choose to go a different direction if they feel Michael and potentially Rawls are better options in the backfield moving forward.
*All salary cap information used via OverTheCap.com