How Seahawks can keep title window open

Russell Wilson led the Seahawks to a Super Bowl title in 2013 ... and is making just $750,000 in 2014. AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

RENTON, Wash. -- Swank homes in the distance along Lake Washington's shoreline provided a fitting backdrop for Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider during lunch in the team's cafeteria Sunday. The football picture has never been prettier in Seattle, but as with those waterfront dream homes, the Seahawks will require maintenance. A hefty bill coming due raises questions about sustainability for the defending Super Bowl champs, and they know it.

"The challenge when you do pay your quarterback, it definitely changes," Schneider said.

Quarterback Russell Wilson is earning $750,000 per year on the rookie contract he signed as a third-round draft choice in 2012. That is about 3.8 percent of the $20 million annual average he might command once he becomes eligible for a new deal after the 2014 season.

The current bargain price tag for Wilson has helped the Seahawks supplement their roster with luxury buys central to their success. What happens when that dynamic changes? Will the team ultimately need more from Wilson, and can he deliver? I posed those questions to Schneider and others in the organization in search of a blueprint for keeping open Seattle's championship window.