With free agency looming ever closer, it’s time to really start nailing down who this team is going to resign this offseason and keep around long term (or short term as the case may be). Obviously, all of these contracts have to work and fit under the cap moving forwards and to get a true idea of the teams cap position I have made the following roster cuts –
Cliff Avril – Cut
Michael Bennett – Cut (EDIT - Traded to the Eagles
Jeremy Lane – Cut
Jon Ryan – Cut
As things stand with today’s cap position plus adding in the cap benefits of cutting the 4 players above, that puts Seattle with $33,648,861 to spend as they see fit. Given their current draft selections are going to cost $5,995,471 their ‘true available space’ sits at $27,653,390 before allowing some money held back for in season signings.
Duane Brown gets a 4 year extension here however the way the contract is formed with guarantees and signing bonus, the 4th year is very team friendly (given he will be 36) so you can effectively call this a 3 year deal with the ability to cut him without too much harm to the cap in the 4th year.
$44m contract value
$13.5m signing bonus
$11m Average Per Year (APY)
This contract extension leaves the Seahawks with $29,278,390. That’s an extra $1,625,000 in available cap due to the contract structure.
Next up, let’s assume the team wants to lock up Earl Thomas for the long haul. Many will disagree with this extension however ultimately what John Schneider and Pete Carroll decide is what matters, and Pete loves having Earl at the back of the defense.
$15m signing bonus
$13.5m Average Per Year (APY)
With the contract structure being pretty middle loaded the extension saves $3,500,000 on the 2018 cap, putting their, now current position, at $32,778,390.
Next up, Frank Clark. Frank has been eligible for an extension since 1st January 2018, but given he is still on his rookie contract, you could well tie this extension in with cutting Michael Bennett on 12th May to split his dead money more evenly. Frank is only going to get more expensive if the team leave it till 2019 and I’m certain he will be a player the front office wish to retain.
$18m signing bonus
$10.25m Average Per Year
Obviously transitioning from the rookie pay scale to a second contract means the cap will always go down, however Frank’s extension increases progressively meaning his 2018 hit isn’t hideous, their cap space now sits at $26,222,331.
Let’s get Sheldon Richardson on prove-it part II. As per my article recently about him, I’m a big fan of Sheldon and what he did for this defense last season. Provided his stats stay on a positive path and his sack numbers increase somewhat, I’d lock him up long term next year.
$3m signing bonus
With the addition of Sheldon being on another one year deal, it takes a big hit on the cap given you can’t spread a one-year deal, however it is what it is.
Now we can give Paul Richardson a big pay day and lock him up long term over 5-years. I think the APY may be a bit rich, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team go for it and for Paul to have a fantastic season, his chemistry with Russ really is growing.
$17.5m signing bonus
$6.5m Average Per Year
Cap position now Paul Richardson is signed long terms puts the 2018 money left at $12,222,331.
Next up, Seattle opts to bring back Luke Willson for 3 years. Given his price and cap hits, it would be a wise signing and he could very well prove to be superb value down the road. Even if his play does drop off a cliff, the cap damage is limited given his low contract value.
$2.25m signing bonus
$1.75m Average Per Year
With the addition of Luke on the team for the next 3 seasons, the teams current cap sits at $10,472,331.
With the cap getting a bit low I took another look at the roster and decided that K.J. Wright is very much worthy of an extension. We saw what happened when he wasn’t on the field late last season and it wasn’t pretty. He is an unsung hero of this defense and very much worthy of a third contract, given his ability, for the most part, to stay injury free.
$8m signing bonus
$7m Average Per Year
Given K.J’s low cap hit in 2018, this puts the teams cap space up to $14,672,331.
Last but not least, I’d like to bring back Bradley McDougald to start at strong safety and also provide adequate insurance should the worst happen to Earl Thomas.
$3m signing bonus
$4m Average Per Year
This signing puts the 2018 cap at $10,922,331. That gives the team room to sign a couple of third wave free agents alongside some vet minimum types, and as already mentioned, already accounts for the 2018 rookie class.
I’m obviously doubtful the offseason will play out exactly like this, however it certainly gives you an idea of what is possible. I hear far too often that the Seahawks are in ‘cap hell’ which, quite frankly, simply is not true.
As always, Go Hawks!