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What we learned from the Seahawks’ offseason

Bruce Irvin’s offseason surgery could open the door for second-year defensive end Benson Mayowa. (AP)

The year-round reality of the NFL schedule is emphasized by the fact that we now summarize – and even evaluate – a team’s offseason.

On Thursday, Seattle concluded a three-day minicamp and adjourned until training camp, which leaves it a great time to recap what we learned about the Seahawks over these past two months and look at what we’re still trying to figure out:

Three things we’ve learned:

1. The Seahawks’ receivers have quickly impressed.

The key word: quickly. The Seahawks have some serious speed with Percy Harvin, Paul Richardson and Ricardo Lockette all having sub-4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash. So while this offseason may have started with the expectation Seattle would look to add size on the outside, it ended with the reality that this team has so much speed there that there’s already been a new nickname suggested: Legion of Zoom.

2. Eric Pinkins is a safety.

Yes, the Seahawks drafted him in the sixth round out of San Diego State with a plan to use him at cornerback, and while that plan hasn’t been scrapped completely, it became evident over the past month that Pinkins is a better fit at safety. Now, what’s intriguing is that Pinkins does have experience covering slot receivers in college, which makes him an interesting candidate for the nickel defense down the road. But in the meantime, he’s competing for a roster spot as a safety and special-teams mainstay.

3. Benson Mayowa couldn’t ask for a better opportunity.

Mayowa made the team last year as an undrafted rookie from Idaho, showing enough promise that Seattle kept him on the 53-man roster the entire year even though he only played in two games. He has put on the weight the team wanted, adding 15 pounds of muscle over the past 12 months. Not only that, but Bruce Irvin is coming back from hip surgery, which leaves Mayowa with a prime opportunity to earn time as an outside pass rusher. He’s going to have to find some traction coming off the edge, though.

Three things we’re still trying to figure out:

1. How far will Marshawn Lynch push his desire for a raise?

Sure, he showed up for the three-day minicamp – thereby avoiding fines – but there’s still plenty of uncertainty about his situation. Here are the three variables that will determine the path the story takes. 1) How much of a pay raise does Lynch want from his current contract, which calls for him to make $5.5 million in salary and bonuses in 2014? 2) How much more money – if any – is Seattle willing to pay its leading rusher for the past four years? 3) What will Lynch do if Seattle doesn’t give him the raise he’s seeking?

2. Who will the Seahawks use as a nickel cornerback?

Walter Thurmond’s departure leaves that spot open, and while Jeremy Lane filled in during Thurmond’s four-game suspension last year, Lane is a little light to be defending slot receivers. Second-year corner Tharold Simon has generated more buzz than any player over the past month, but like Lane, Simon’s skill set is more suited to playing on the outside. Phillip Adams, who was with the team in training camp in 2012, has an opportunity to earn playing time, and his bid for a roster spot could be helped by the fact that he returned punts for Oakland the past two seasons.

3. Is Terrelle Pryor going to make this team?

He might be the most puzzling piece of this roster. He is big, he is fast and his arm is certainly strong enough. The coaches have been encouraged by how receptive Pryor has been to coaching, but Pryor’s performance in practice has been inconsistent. Seattle hasn’t usually kept three quarterbacks on the roster to begin the season, and while Pryor is talented enough for the Seahawks to make an exception, he must be more consistent in training camp.