While the Seahawks will enter training camp with the lowest-paid offensive line in the NFL, general manager John Schneider said it just sort of happened and wasn't part of any grand design.

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The Seahawks will open training camp Saturday with what remains the lowest-paid offensive line in the NFL.

According to OvertheCap.com, the Seahawks are spending $11.7 million on their line, roughly $4 million less than any other team.

It’s been a well-told story how Seattle got to this point — letting veteran free agents (Breno Giacomini, James Carpenter, Russell Okung, J.R. Sweezy) sign elsewhere (or in the case of Max Unger, a trade) while replacing them mostly with untested younger players or more inexpensive vets. In the process, the Seahawks went from a team that ranked first in the NFL in spending on the offensive line in 2013 — the year they won the Super Bowl — to now bringing up the rear.

But for those who think this has been a calculated strategy to go cheap on the offensive line, general manager John Schneider said again Thursday that’s not the case.

Schneider instead reiterated what he has said in the past — that the team has simply had to make player-by-player decisions the last few years and when it came time to dole out big money there wasn’t an offensive linemen that proved a necessity to keep.

We didn’t go into this thing saying, ‘We’re gonna financially scrimp on the (offensive) line or anything,’’’ Schneider said.

“You have to (scrimp) somewhere and we’re not in the business of letting damn good football players leave. So what happens is whichever position it is, we’re going to do whatever we can to keep the best players. We’re not just going to spend money at a position based on need. … we’re just not going to let a very good player go at a different position because we need to afford A, B and C on the offensive end.’’

“… It’s kind of like just going through a draft. I’ve been in situations where it just compounds the issue. I was with a team where they took a top 10 player, they had a young guy coming up, this was all at the same position. And they went out and signed a veteran defensive lineman and ended up with like 20-something dollars in dead cap money. So that compounds the issue. The issue then is once you’re able to reward what you view as the best football players on your team, then how do you get people to compete at different positions. For us, it just happens to be exactly what you’re talking about. Now, we like the group. It just so happens it’s younger guys that people don’t necessarily know.”

Indeed, the Seahawks could start four players who the team either drafted or signed as undrafted free agents who each have three years of experience or less — center Justin Britt, left tackle Garry Gilliam, right guard Germain Ifedi and left guard Mark Glowinski.

The other projected starter as camp begins is right tackle J’Marcus Webb, who after being signed to a two-year contract worth $5.75 million in the off-season stands as the highest-paid Seattle offensive linemen.

Schneider also elaborated on what he has said in the past — that the offensive line is a challenging position to fill these days due in part to the increase of spread offenses in college football (in which players rarely play with their hand on the ground) and also the idea that many of the best linemen choose to play defense when in high school or college.

“The position is very hard right now,’’ Schneider said. “If you’re a high school kid and you’re coming out and you’re being recruited as a defensive lineman or an offensive lineman, you think you’re a pretty good player and you’re looking at guys making now $16, $17, $18, $19 million a year. I’m playing defense. So I would think the majority of the guys are shifting to the defensive line first. And I’ve talked to a lot of college coaches about that. It’s hard for them to find offensive linemen.’’

Schneider said that’s “not an excuse” just an assessment of the landscape at the position right now.

Going cheaper on the line has allowed the Seahawks to re-sign the likes of Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner and Doug Baldwin to big deals over the last 12 months, and re-sign Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and others in previous seasons and still maintain their status as one of the best teams in the NFL.

But until this year, the Seahawks could still count on at least one highly-paid veteran to help anchor the line. With only Webb and Britt as players who have more than a year’s starting experience in the NFL, this season looms as the sternest challenge yet for offensive line coach Tom Cable.