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A Look at the Cap with all the Changes

Seattle has made some bold moves in the last few days. Michael Bennett is gone, Richard Sherman is as good as gone, Earl Thomas may be traded, the list goes on. I don’t think the purge is over yet, either. Despite Richard Sherman leaving Seattle, I still expect Jeremy Lane to be cut as well as Cliff Avril probably retiring. But what does all this mean with the cap? As we don’t know the status on Earl Thomas as yet, I am going to give two scenarios, the first with him still on the roster (although his cap hit is likely to be different as an extension will almost certainly occur if he’s not moved) and the second without Earl on the roster.

With Michael Bennett and Richard Sherman gone, also assuming Seattle doesn’t have Jeremy Lane and Cliff Avril on the roster, the 2018 salary cap will stand like this –

2018 - $38,172,600

2019 - $97,408,510

2020 - $150,663,042

Assuming the same roster moves as above, with the addition of Seattle trading Earl Thomas, it looks as follows –

2018 - $46,672,600

2019 - $97,408,510

2020 - $150,663,042

All of a sudden, the team can do just about anything they want in free agency. Although they could still technically before these moves, it would mean back loading contracts which is far from ‘best practice’. Now, they can either front load of evenly spread any extensions exactly how they like, giving them more flexibility.

How Seattle deals with this roster churn will be very interesting to watch. I believe the Michael Bennett replacement will come in the shape of Dion Jordan, who is all but guaranteed to be tendered at a cost of $1,907,000. He can play inside out and is primed to have a fantastic season, I could absolutely see him leading the team in sacks for 2018.

What happens with the left cornerback position is yet to be determined. Byron Maxwell may be a priority signing in free agency to cover the position, or perhaps Shead is bought back, or maybe they address the need via the draft. Although I think that is pretty unlikely given the pretty weak class at corner overall, especially as you go deeper into the draft.

What they will do if Earl is moved on is also up in the air. My gut says they’d rely on 2017 rookie Tedric Thompson which ties in with getting younger on defense. However, if they wanted Tedric to gain some more experience before being thrown in at a starting role, they may well pursue Bradley McDougald who held down the FS starting role when Earl missed a couple of games very well.

One thing is for sure, change has started and this roster is going to look vastly different in 2018. Pete Carroll and John Schneider have built a championship team from the ground up before, I see absolutely no reason why they can’t do it again.

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