There have been all sorts of rumblings the past few weeks regarding a total overhaul of the roster in Seattle. Some suggesting the front office will totally blow the whole thing up and starting over, others have suggested minor tweaks and adjustments that would be justified as a ‘make over’ rather than a full-on teardown.
Michael Bennett, Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Jeremy Lane and even Jon Ryan are all names I’ve seen where fans and media professionals have discussed the possibility. But what is the likelihood of each of those names being moved on?
Many have argued that it makes little sense cutting Bennett given his production vs his relatively low cap number in 2018 and I’d agree. He had a Pro Bowl year with a serious foot injury that he played through, imagine what sort of production he’d have gotten if he was healthy?
With that said, he’s getting old. He will be 33 half way through the 2018 season so at some point, his play is going to decline. I’d hazard a guess that it will happen sooner than later. If he is cut this offseason, the cap savings look as follows -
2018 cap savings of $2,175,000
2019 cap savings of $8,737,501
2020 cap savings of $10,237,500
Based on that, it seems sense to keep him in 2018 as the cap savings are marginal at best, right? Wrong. If you kept him in 2018 but cut him next off season his cap savings look as follows –
2019 cap savings of $5,262,500 (note the savings are lower by some margin if cut in 2019 vs 2018)
2020 cap savings of $10,237,500
There may be some value to teams wanting to trade for him but I wouldn’t expect much more than a 4th or 5th round draft pick.
Ultimately, I think he is released so he can choose the destination to play out the rest of his career in the league.
This is a hard call and one that, potentially, is a lose/lose for the team whatever they do. He has been vocal in that he wants a new deal to secure his future financially which you can’t complain at. Seattle has always negotiated contracts in the final year as Earl is in the final year of his contract. The big question is if Seattle want him around long term or if they want to unload his contract and go a different way with the free safety position.
I’d like to think his trade value is a mid to late first however many industry guys believe his value, from a trade standpoint, sits in the second round.
If Seattle feel they can replace him with an, at the very least, adequate replacement, they may well pull the trigger on a trade for him. This may be even more enticing for the team given their lack of round 2 and round 3 picks in the draft. I would class Bradley McDougald as an adequate replacement for Earl. He would obviously need to be resigned, though, as he is set to hit free agency next month.
If Earl was going to play out his contract and avoid any holdouts, I’d be on board with losing any trade capital to have him on the field for another year and look at the options in 2019, however I very much doubt that happens. If a player is vocal about holding out if necessary in January/February, chances are that notion remains and he stays true to his word.
Provided the team can structure a contract extension that makes it very easy to get out of after, say, two years, I’d be all for an extension. However, I’m not sure Earl and his agent would play ball with such a team friendly contract. The team got burned hard on the Kam Chancellor contract, I pray they don’t let lightning strike twice.
Here’s what would happen to the cap if he was traded –
2018 cap savings of $8,500,000
My gut feeling is the team does trade him for a second and a mid-rounder. Whether that turns around to hurt the defense in a monumental way is yet to be determined.
I love Richard Sherman, what a story he has been. I would say his trade value is next to zero given his injury and the team has such a good relationship with him that he sticks around for the season. As I’ve mentioned previously, I have no doubt he is going to bounce back this year and be the same ol’ player he’s always been. I’d be far more confident about our secondary if Earl wasn’t around provided Sherman is playing CB. Losing both could mean absolute disaster for our pass defense. If he was released, though, the team would save a whopping $11,000,000 in cap space.
The team has pretty much already made their intentions known as he was traded to the Texans (however failed his physical). Every team in the NFL knows he’s going to be released so his trade value is quite literally zero. I’d say there is a 100% chance the team releases him.
Releasing him would offer these cap savings –
2018 cap savings of $4,750,000
2019 cap savings of $7,250,000
Jon had a bit of a down year last season, he’s also getting pretty expensive for a punter. I’d much rather run with the cap savings and put those dollars towards a reliable kicker and run with a rookie punter. You can’t underestimate the importance of a punter however the draft is far more favourable to punters than it is kickers this year so I don’t think he will be on the team this season.
2018 cap savings of $2,000,000
2019 cap savings of $3,600,000
Given Cliff Avril is almost definitely going to retire as well, that will leave the next two years cap positions looking like this –
2018 total adjusted cap of $38,673,861
2019 total adjusted cap of $101,008,510 (plus whatever rises the cap see’s that year)
That exercise would leave the team with a total of 12 roster spots to make up the 53-man roster as well.
Feel free to share your thoughts on the above, agree, disagree, whatever you like!