I thought I'd give some thoughts on future contracts given the team has a lot of valuable free agents coming up after this season. Firstly lets look at who I think will be resigned and what sort of contract they can expect, along with how that fits in under the cap.
The cap is projected to rise to $178M next year, however given a post of here projecting $180M and to keep it simple. I am going to assume the 2018 cap is $180M.
Now, lets look at what the team has on the books for next year -
Top 51: $155,558,065
Jermaine Kearse - $1,833,334
Ahtyba Rubin - $1,500,000
Michael Tyson - $129,000
Quinton Jefferson - $126,912
Total dead money - $3,824,152
Top 51 player contracts + Dead money means the cap liabilities sit at $159,382,217
This currently leaves $20,617,783 in available money
However, at this point the team only has 38 players under contract, meaning there are a total of 15 roster spots to fill to get up to the 53 man squad.
Based on previous years, the team will need to save a bit under $2M for draft picks, with how JS works the draft I'm going to be on the overly cautious side here and call it $1.9M.
That now leaves $18,717,783 in cap space.
10 practise squad players at $130,000 a pop takes off a further $1.3M making the number $17,417,783.
The team also needs to account for players going to IR each year, looking at past years, I'm estimating the team saves $3.75M back for this. Taking the available cap number to $13,667,783.
With the numbers now down to quite a scary amount, lets get them up a bit.
I am going to make some assumptions here, lets look at who likely isn't on the team next year and the cap position to cutting them/them retiring etc.
Jeremy Lane is no longer on the team next year
Cliff Avril is no longer on the team next year
Jon Ryan is no longer on the team next year (bit of a left field suggestion, I know)
Having those three off the books would generate a further $14,250,000 taking available true cap to $27,917,783.
There are some key players that can be extended to alter their 2018 cap hit.
In this situation I am going to extend the following who are already signed for at least the 2018 season -
Obviously this next part is very subjective and I could we WAY off with the contracts, I'm no John Schneider, after all. But it's my best guess.
3 year (2 year extension as he is under contract for 2018) - $36M contract with a $15M signing bonus, this gives him an increase over his current contract and a nice pay day with the signing bonus.
2018 cap hit - $11M - dead money/cap savings if cut - $25M/$14M
2019 cap hit - $12M - dead money/cap savings if cut - $15M/3M
2020 cap hit - $13M - dead money/cap savings if cut - $7M/$6M
As you can see the 2020 cap number is team favourable and can save $6M if he's underperforming at this time, given his age I'd expect the dead money vs cap savings to be higher on cap savings but as mentioned, I'm no JS with the contracts!
There is a difference in cap space (higher) but doing this extension of $1.25M so true cap space is now $26,667,783
4 year (3 year extension as he is under contract for 2018) - $50M contract with a $20M signing bonus
2018 cap hit - $10.15M - dead money/cap savings if cut - $26.9M/$16.75M
2019 cap hit - $12.25M - dead money/cap savings if cut - $18.75M/$6.5M
2020 cap hit - $15.25M - dead money/cap savings if cut - $12.5M/$2.75M
2021 cap hit - $14.25M - dead money/cap savings if cut - $6.25M/$8M
This contract actually saves $250k on the 2018 cap, this doesn't sound right at all, but again, this is ametuer hour and not our beloved GM's wizardry!
True cap space now sits at $26,917,783
I was actually going to extend Richard Sherman here as well but I'm really in two minds, I think he will come back as good as ever next year but I'm not sure now would be the best time to extend him given the injury and a lot of unknowns. For now I will leave him, they can always do it way before he becomes an UFA in 2019, probably better to see how he comes back and make a judgement call then.
This is a tough one to estimate for a contract, he had a cold couple of weeks but seems to have bounced back so I'd like to get him under contract long term. Pete Carroll said last week that he's going to get a LOT better so he seems a fitting contract extension and one the team will want to keep well away from the free agency market.
6 year - (5 year extension as he is under contract for 2018) - $69M with a $30M signing bonus ($11.5M APY)
2018 cap hit - $8,243,586 - dead money/cap savings if cut - $30.24M/$22M
2019 cap hit - $11M - dead money/cap savings if cut - $24M/$13M
2020 cap hit - $13M - dead money/cap savings if cut - $18M/$5M
2021 cap hit - $14M - dead money/cap savings if cut - $12M/$2M
2022 cap hit - $14M - dead money/cap savings if cut - $6M/$8M
2023 cap hit - $9M - dead money/cap savings if cut - $0/$9M
Obviously with Frank being on a current rookie contract his 2018 cap number is significantly higher, with extending him the team now has $18,674,197 in true cap space (the team does however, only have 35 players on the team at this point).
I wanted to extend Tyler Lockett as well but with his stats this season I'd wager he would want to wait till next season, he's coming off a big injury and still finding his groove so it doesn't make financial sense to sign an extension at this point.
Now lets look at signing some priority 2018 free agents, starting with Jimmy Graham (I refuse to believe he doesn't get extended, whether he wants to stay in Seattle is another matter but I believe the team will want him back).
Given Jimmy's age I see the team offering him the following -
3 year - $33M - $15M signing bonus ($11M APY)
2018 cap hit - $8M - dead money/cap savings if cut - $15M/$7M
2019 cap hit - $12M - dead money/cap savings if cut - $10M/$2M
2020 cap hit - $13M - dead money/cap savings if cut - $5M/$8M
With signing Jimmy that puts true cap space down to $10,674,197.
He will almost definitely be back with the team on (another) one year deal, for arguments sake I am going to keep the contract exactly the same as he is in a very similar situation.
1 year - $1.2M - $200k signing bonus
2018 cap hit - $1.2M - dead money/cap savings if cut - $1M/$200k
This brings the available cap space down to $9,474,197
At this point, there are 37 signed players through at least 2018, the roster needs to be at 53 (with the top 51 contracts counting towards the cap).
Lets assume that 7 rookies make the cut (remember we've already accounted for the rookie salaries near the start of this), this puts the active roster up to 44. Meaning there are a total of 7 spots left to fill. With the minimum salary for 2018 being $480K, for ease's sake, lets fill out the roster with them. 7 X $480K comes to $3.36M.
Taking the true cap space down to $6,114,197
Notable FA's still include Sheldon Richardson and Bradley McDouglad. Out of the two, I'd pick Sheldon 10 times out of 10, but lets see if we can fit him under the cap.
Sheldon Richardson -
6 year - $81M contract with a $30M signing bonus ($13.5M APY) Arguably on the low side, I agree.
Looking at the cap numbers, I just cannot get it to work, even giving him a ridiculous $41M signing bonus and a 1M base salary in 2018 still makes his 2018 cap number $9.2M, some $3M over the available cap. To add another blow you could very easily argue that his APY would be more in the region of $15/16M APY and my $13.5M is loo low to start with, and I still can't get the numbers to add up.
I just cannot find a way to get him under contract, obviously you could bin off Jimmy Graham, at which point, Sheldon would easily fit under the cap. At which point I guess you would resign Luke Willson and have him, Nick Vannett plus one more on the roster, but I don't know. There are serious arguments for Jimmy VS Sheldon, reality is loosing either of them will hurt so I'd hedge the team bets on 2017 2nd round pick Malik McDowell making an impact. Expecting him to contribute to the point that Sheldon has in 2017 is very unlikely. But the drop off in production is probably less than Jimmy vs Luke Willson so I don't know.
For now, I'm going to go with letting Sheldon walk in 2018 and getting an almost guaranteed 3rd round comp pick in 2019.
True cap space still, at this point, sits at $6,114,197
Now with the disappointment of having Sheldon off the team, lets try and bring back Bradley McDougald for a few years. With the uncertainty of Kam and how Bradley has played at both SS and FS I can see him getting extended. I'd imagine he will want to be a starter, though, so 2017 rookie Delano Hill may change things. I haven't heard how he is coming along so this may alter a McDouglad signing, but for arguments sake lets get him on board.
3 year - $13.5M contract with a $4M signing bonus ($4.5M APY)
2018 cap number - $2.5M - dead money/cap savings if cut - $4.5M/$2M
2019 cap number - $4.5M - dead money/cap savings if cut - $3M/$1.5M
2020 cap number - $6.5M - dead money/cap savings if cut - $1.5M/$5M
With Bradley extended, that now takes the active roster up to 38 players meaning we can subtract one minimum contract of $480k as well.
This gives the team cap space of $4,094,197
Now given I accounted for 7 minimum contracts above, that $4M can be used to get better FA's than players that will accept minimum and I'd already accounted for players going to IR so that $4M can be spent down to the penny if the team so wishes.
Obviously there are lots of different scenarios, my contract estimates are just that, estimates. So don't take this as an exact science, but it at least shows what the team could do this offseason.
Hope you enjoyed it!