Seattle Seahawks players knew change was coming. They just didn't know the switch would be flipped so swiftly.
On Wednesday, the team agreed to trade Michael Bennett; Richard Sherman is expected to head out next; and NFL Network's Michael Silver added the Seahawks would listen to trade offers for Earl Thomas -- though it would take a hefty offer to pry the safety away.
Pass rusher Cliff Avril, who has been in Seattle since 2013, told NFL Network's Up To The Minute Live he didn't see the overhaul happening so suddenly.
"I didn't think it was going to be this dramatic," Avril said. "You've seen it with the coaching staff a little bit. But I didn't expect this many guys to even be considered to be leaving. Some of these guys have played at a high level for a long time. And to kind of see this playing out the way it's playing out right now is, again, interesting. And we'll see how it plays out, though."
Thomas was drafted in 2010, Sherman in 2011, but the Seahawks' defensive dynasty didn't crank up until the team added Avril and Bennett in 2013. The band has been together the past five seasons. Avril said it's a shock they lasted this long.
"I think there's definitely going to be some rebuilding," he said. "The difference would be, obviously, the experience that guys have and playing together for so long. I used to tell guys all the time, in the locker room, 'Look, this doesn't happen in the NFL, where you're able to keep nine guys or seven, eight guys together for a long period of time.' So, it's the same thing for management too. They're going to have to bring some guys in to try to jump into it right now. I definitely think it's going to be some time to rebuild. I don't necessarily think they're going to be as good as in the past, but I think they can definitely make some things happen though."
Among the changes on Seattle's defense could be Avril and safety Kam Chancellor, who are both dealing with neck injuries. The pass rusher reiterated his desire to play if cleared.
"It's still up in the air honestly," Avril said. "...I just want to do what's right for me from the standpoint of after football and how that would affect it. If the doctor comes back and says 'things aren't healing right,' or even if things are healing right, 'one hit could mess you up' or whatever, then that's an easy decision. But right now, in my head, I definitely want to start training and doing things like I am going to play."
Given the Seahawks' rebuild, if he's cleared, Avril could move on to another team.