How long will Seahawks’ biggest rival continue its NFC West reign?

Jun 26, 2024, 3:06 PM | Updated: 4:09 pm

San Francisco 49ers Fred Warner Seahawks 2022...

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner after making a tackle against the Seattle Seahawks in 2022. (Christopher Mast/Getty Images)

(Christopher Mast/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks were the class of the NFC in the early 2010s, back when they reached back-to-back Super Bowls and were a perennial contender with Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and their famed Legion of Boom defense.

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In recent years, however, their biggest division rival has been the NFC’s preeminent force.

The San Francisco 49ers have made four NFC Championship game appearances in the past five seasons, including a pair of trips to the Super Bowl. During that span, they have won three NFC West titles and reached the 12-win mark three times.

How much longer will the 49ers remain atop the NFC West? Pro Football Focus lead NFL analyst Sam Monson was asked that question Tuesday on Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy. Seahawks fans probably won’t like the answer.

“I don’t think the 49ers are going away any time soon,” Monson said.

San Francisco remains loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. PFF has the 49ers at No. 1 in their current power rankings with point spread team rating of 6.4, which means they would be a 6.4-point favorite over a league-average team on a neutral field. The Kansas City Chiefs are second at 6.1. No other team is above 4.5.

San Francisco has a whopping eight players who were graded by PFF as top-five players at their positions last season: Tight end George Kittle (No. 1), running back Christian McCaffrey (No. 2), wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (No. 2), left tackle Trent Williams (No. 2), linebacker Fred Warner (No. 2), edge rusher Nick Bosa (No. 3), cornerback Charvarius Ward (No. 5) and right guard Jon Feliciano (No. 5). And of course, they also have quarterback Brock Purdy, who finished No. 1 in ESPN’s QBR metric last season as a second-year pro.

“I think they’re probably still (atop the NFC West) for a couple of years, and in particular if Brock Purdy continues playing at the kind of level he was playing at last season,” Monson said. “There’s a debate as to how much of it is him, and how much of it is the system, how much of it is (coach Kyle) Shanahan, how much of it is the weaponry around him. To an extent, it doesn’t really matter whether he’s a big piece of that puzzle or a smaller piece. As long as the puzzle remains intact, they’re gonna be phenomenal.”

Purdy still has two seasons left on his rookie contract, which gives San Francisco some salary cap flexibility to continue paying its slew of other top players.

“It only becomes a problem once he signs a big-money contract, and then that starts to have an effect on guys like Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, and suddenly they have to start shipping off a couple of those players,” Monson said. “That’s when it does matter if he’s not a huge piece of that overall puzzle. But I think that’s a few years away.”

The Aiyuk drama

There has been a bit of drama in the Bay Area surrounding Aiyuk, who is heading into the final year of his rookie contract.

In a recent video he posted to TikTok, Aiyuk told former college teammate and current Washington Commanders quarterback Jayden Daniels on a FaceTime call: “They said they don’t want me back.” As ESPN reported, it’s unclear whether Aiyuk is implying the 49ers don’t want him back this season, or whether they don’t want to pay him for a long-term contract extension. According to ESPN’s Ryan Clark, Aiyuk and the 49ers are meeting this week.

“I think they can probably keep Brandon Aiyuk if they want to do that,” Monson said. “And if they didn’t, I would imagine they would’ve traded him away already at this stage. So I imagine they’re gonna keep that group. Even if they lose one of Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, they’ve already sort of been drafting for that contingency, with (first-round draft pick) Ricky Pearsall coming in to what is already a ridiculously loaded skill position group.”

Listen to the full conversation with PFF’s Sam Monson at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. Tune in to Bump and Stacy weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

• Will Metcalf and Lockett both still be on Seahawks’ roster in 2025?
• Will Seahawks sign DK Metcalf to second extension? Insider weighs in
• Brock: The area where Seahawks’ Geno Smith is a top-five QB
• Insider: Why Seahawks could be in on Dak Prescott next offseason
• Baldinger: The biggest jump new Seattle Seahawks OC Grubb will face in NFL

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