Please note - This article was written prior to all the roster moves so if you see references that don't make sense, thats why.
I believe part of Seattle’s problems comes from their split of the cap. There’s a not insignificant $22,142,598 difference between spending on the offense and spending on the defense. Sure, Seattle’s defense is/was elite but as age is starting to creep up now would be the perfect time to shift the balance somewhat to make spending on each side of the ball more proportionate.
This below table shows you the % of cap spending by each team in the league, as you can see, Seattle is firmly in the bottom third.
Let’s assume Seattle selects a kicker in the 7th round with the 226th pick, their total spend on special teams will be $4,408,600. Now assuming the cap for 2018 is $178,000,000 as projected in the last couple of days, that would leave a balance of $173,591,400.
Now I don’t think Seattle will go for a 50/50 split and that isn’t necessary, however spending around $80,000,000 on offense would mean a split of roughly 46% of the remaining cap (already accounting for special teams), so the defense still gets more, but the difference is minimized by roughly 10% from current spending.
So how could they spend that money?
It’s worth noting that I am going on the assumption that Seattle carries 25 offensive players on the roster, it could be 24 or 26, but 25 seems most likely.
All teams are made up of high, medium and low value contracts. For high think quarterbacks, #1 wide receivers and left tackles, for medium, it’s typically somewhere in the $3-7M range and low is typically players on rookie contracts and also vet minimum guys.
You can obviously make the split how you like, it could be (going from high to medium to low) 4/6/15 or 5/5/15 or any combination really.
For this example, I am going to go 3/6/16, so 4 high value contracts, 7 mid-tier contracts and 14 rookie/vet minimum guys, let’s look at what players currently under contract (who I think will be on the team next year) fit in –
#1 – Russell Wilson - $23,786,764
#2 – Doug Baldwin - $11,893,750
#3 – Duane Brown - $9,750,000
#1 – Justin Britt - $6,166,666
#2 – Germain Ifedi - $2,254,120
#3 – Tyler Lockett - $2,101,688
#4 – FA signing
#5 – FA signing
#6 – FA signing
#1 – First draft pick - $2,000,000 (assuming a trade back to around #26)
#2 – Ethan Pocic - $1,002,053
#3 – C.J. Prosise - $833,116
#4 – Nick Vannett - $816,220
#5 – Rees Odhiambo - $805,355
#6 – Amara Darboh - $754,572
#7 – George Fant - $636,668
#8 – Tanner McEvoy - $630,000
#9 – Chris Carson - $571,285
#10 – Jordan Roos - $561,666
#11 – Trevone Boykin - $555,000
#12 – David Moore - $555,000
#13 – Rookie/Vet Min
#14 – Rookie/Vet Min
#15 – Rookie/Vet Min
#16 – Rookie/Vet Min
That totals $65,673,923 so leaves a total of $14,326,077 to fill three medium contracts and 5 low contracts. Assuming that two vet minimums and two rookies are added to the stable that would cost roughly $2,905,000 leaving $11,421,077 to split however the team wishes.
Obviously, that could be on any number of positions, most likely you’d direct it towards the offensive line on either a guard or tackle, but spending it on a wide receiver may also be an option. Those three contracts could average out at just over $3,800,000 each. Spending that wisely you’d likely be better off improving the offensive line via the draft and spending those three medium contracts on a tight end, wide receiver and running back. Alternatively, you could add another low value contract and split the money between 2 free agency signings, that would mean an average contract of $5,710,538. That could get you a very strong tight end, running back or wide receiver in free agency.
The options really are endless, but I firmly believe Seattle will move some money from the ageing defense to the offensive side of the ball. Getting the run game going and getting better protection for Russ must be priority number one this offseason.