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How has the draft changed the Seahawks salary cap?

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

 

 

With the draft done and over with for another year, I thought I’d turn my attention to the ever important salary cap and, specifically, how the draft has affected it.

 

Firstly, let me explain how the salary cap for NFL teams works in the offseason. As I’m sure you know, during the regular season teams have 53 players on the active roster (plus the practice squad), during the regular season, every single one of those players counts towards the cap.

 

In the offseason, however, teams are permitted to carry up to 90 men on their team. It wouldn’t be fair to expect the teams to be able to account for all 90 within the salary cap, some teams struggle to fit 53 under it, let alone nearly doubling it so the ‘rule of 51’ was created.

 

The rule of 51 is pretty self-explanatory, the top 51 contracts count towards the salary cap, however, any prorated bonuses of players that aren’t in the top 51 also count.

 

Let’s take a look at each rookies contract and where it fits into the cap.

 

Rashaad Penny

 

His 4-year rookie contract is worth a total of $10,801,574 which includes a signing bonus of $5,935,688.

 

His cap hits in the following years are as follows -

 

2018 - $1,963,922

2019 - $2,454,903

2020 - $2,945,884

2021 - $3,436,865

 

As you can see, his 2018 cap hit of $1,963,922 will put him into the top 51 therefore the full cap hit will count during the offseason.

 

As Penny was a first round selection, the team will also have the option to have him signed through the 2022 season as well, an option that is exclusive to first round picks. It’s very handy with positions like quarterbacks and pass rushers, not so valuable with running backs, but it’s nice to have the option. The team will have to decide after the 2020 season if they wish to exercise his option for the 2022 season so you can’t simply decide at the end of his contract, it has to be in the offseason before a players third and fourth year.

 

Rasheem Green

 

Green will sign a 4-year $3,376,616 contract including a signing bonus of $916,616.

His cap hits in the following years are as follows -

 

2018 - $709,154

2019 - $799,154

2020 - $889,154

2021 - $979,154

 

As his cap hit in 2018 is $709,154, that will also be high enough to count, in full, against the cap during the offseason.

 

Will Dissly

 

Dissly will sign a 4-year contract worth $3,113,164 including a signing bonus of $653,164.

 

His cap hits in the following years are as follows -

 

2018 - $643,291

2019 - $733,291

2020 - $823,291

2021 - $913,291

 

His 2018 cap hit of $643,291 is also enough, albeit only just, to count fully during the offseason (for Seattle, the cut off is $630,000 so Dissly is $14,291 over that amount).

 

Shaquem Griffin

 

Shaq will sign a 4-year $2,779,036 deal with the Seahawks which includes a signing bonus of $319,036. I bet his pay checks with Seattle are a fair bit smaller than all the endorsement deals he is going to get over the next few years!

 

His cap hits in the following years are as follows -

 

2018 - $559,759

2019 - $649,759

2020 - $739,759

2021 - $829,759

 

As his cap hit in 2018 is only $559,759, his contract will not count towards the cap during the offseason. Well kind of, the prorated amount of his signing bonus will. So, during the offseason, Shaquem Griffin will account $79,759 towards the cap. This is his singing bonus of $319,036 divided by 4.

 

Tre Flowers

 

Flowes will sign a 4-year deal worth $2,760,056 including a signing bonus of $300,056.

 

His cap hits in the following years are as follows -

 

2018 - $555,014

2019 - $645,014

2020 - $735,014

2021 - $825,014

 

Like Shaquem, Tre Flowers will only have his prorated signing bonus count towards the salary cap during the offseason. That amounts to exactly $75,014.

 

Michael Dickson

 

Our newest punter will sign a 4-year deal worth $2,751,444 including a signing bonus of $291,444.

 

His cap hits in the following years are as follows -

 

2018 - $552,861

2019 - $642,861

2020 - $732,861

2021 - $822,861

 

Again, Dickson will not have his base salary count towards the cap in the offseason, only his prorated signing bonus which comes to $72,861.

 

Jamarco Jones

 

Jamarco will sign a 4-year deal worth $2,706,092 including a signing bonus of $246,092

 

His cap hits in the following years are as follows -

 

2018 - $541,523

2019 - $631,523

2020 - $721,523

2021 - $811,523

 

Jamarco will only have his prorated signing bonus count towards the cap, therefore, his cost during the offseason will be $61,523.

 

Jacob Martin

 

Jacob will sign a 4-year deal worth $2,622,756 including a signing bonus of $162,756.

 

His cap hits in the following years are as follows -

 

2018 - $520,689

2019 - $610,689

2020 - $700,689

2021 - $790,689

 

Only his prorated signing bonus will count this offseason, which amounts to just $40,689.

 

Alex McGough

 

Alex will sign a 4-year deal worth $2,564,152 including a signing bonus of $104,152

 

2018 - $506,038

2019 - $596,038

2020 - $686,038

2021 - $776,038

 

As with all but the top 3 guys, only his signing bonus will count during the offseason, which amounts to a very reasonable $26,038.

 

So, now that we’ve worked out who will and won’t count fully against the cap we can work out the real cost.

 

We know that Rashaad Penny, Rasheem Green and Will Dissly are the only 3 players that will count in full, so if we add up all three of their cap hits for 2018 the total is $3,316,367.

 

With the cap sitting at $7,531,107 before the draft, accounting for all the players signed and cut, except Byron Maxwell (his contract doesn’t appear to be available as yet), adding the above 3 mentioned names will take the cap down to $4,214,740.

 

As we’ve also mentioned above, although the remaining 6 drafted players won’t count in full against the cap in the offseason, their prorated signing bonus will. Adding up all the prorated signing bonuses of those six players totals $355,884.

 

So lets take that off the cap as well, we’re now down to just $3,858,856 in available space.

 

With reports that Byron Maxwell’s contract being worth up to $3,000,000 on a one-year deal, this is alarming, right? Not really. The deal is worth ‘up to’ $3,000,000. There will likely be some signing bonus in there at around $1M, plus his base salary and probably a bonus if he makes the 53-man roster. I’d expect his cap hit to be around $2-2.5M in 2018.

 

Also, as we have added 3 drafted players into the top 51, we also need to take the bottom 3 off (otherwise we’d have 54!).

 

Those bottom 3 players all had base salaries of $630,000 with no signing bonus attached so the full amount comes off the cap. $630,000 + $630,000 + $630,000 comes to $1,890,000. So we need to add that on to the cap. $1,890,000 + $3,858,856 = $5,748,856.

 

As of right now, excluding Byron Maxwell, Seattle has $5,748,856 in available space.

 

When you consider that Seattle will have to also account for the following once the regular season rolls around they are pretty close to the limit, but not dangerously so –

 

Practice squad

Keeping some money back for in-season signings due to injury

2 extra players (51 up to 53)

 

So, what players can Seattle cut to improve their cap position?

 

Lets look at some obvious ones –

 

 

Russell Wilson

 

Only joking, the team would only get $2,313,234 in cap relief by cutting him.

 

Cliff Avril – Cap savings of $7,125,000

 

With Cliff’s future uncertain following a neck injury last season, I’d expect him to either retire or be cut.

 

Jon Ryan – Cap savings of $2,000,000

 

With the drafting of Michael Dickson, it’s the perfect opportunity to get younger, cheaper and better at the position. He’s as good as gone.

 

With both of these two guys gone, Seattle would end up with an impressive $14,873,856.

 

They could comfortably extend Frank Clark and Duane Brown with that money. A Duane Brown extension may even lower his 2018 cap hit (currently set to be $9,750,000) whilst Frank Clark (current cap hit of just $1,187,527) will 100% result in a higher cap hit.

 

If both are extended, I’d expect Seattle to have somewhere in the region of $6,000,000 to $8,000,000 in available space if the two listed players are cut and the two listed players are extended.

 

But, as with every single year, there are always surprise cuts and I’m sure 2018 will be no different.

 

Lets look at some players that would make sense from a cap perspective only, in other words, that have a lot of cap savings, if cut, in 2018. Please note, I’m in no way advocating these players be cut, merely that it would make sense from a financial standpoint only.

 

Earl Thomas - $8,500,000 savings

K.J. Wright - $7,200,000 savings

Justin Coleman - $2,914,000 savings

Neiko Thorpe - $1,850,000 savings

Tyler Lockett - $1,907,000 savings

Dion Jordan - $1,907,000 savings

Marcus Smith II - $1,010,945 savings

D.J. Fluker - $1,068,750 savings

Dontae Johnson - $950,000 savings

Mike Davis - $887,500 savings

C.J. Prosise - $486,884 savings

Rees Odhiambo - $482,645 savings

Austin Davis - $630,000 savings

Maurice Alexander - $630,000 savings

D.J. Alexander - $714,000 savings

Jason Myers - $705,000 savings

Jalston Fowler - $705,000 savings

Isaiah Battle - $704,000 savings

J.D. McKissic - $630,000 savings

Joey Hunt - $630,000 savings

Tre Madden - $630,000 savings

Tanner McEvoy - $630,000 savings

 

 

Now, it’s abundantly clear that some of those names have an almost zero chance of being cut. Lets get that list of names down to a reasonable amount.

 

All the players below are, in my opinion, on the outside looking in with regards to making the 53-man roster.

 

Dontae Johnson - $950,000 savings

Mike Davis - $887,500 savings

Jason Myers - $705,000 savings

Jalston Fowler - $705,000 savings

Isaiah Battle - $704,000 savings

Joey Hunt - $630,000 savings

Tre Madden - $630,000 savings

Maurice Alexander - $630,000 savings

C.J. Prosise - $486,884 savings

Rees Odhiambo - $482,645 savings

 

Just about every single one of the above can easily be replaced by cheaper and better guys.

 

If I was one of those 10 guys, I’d be working my absolute arse off this offseason and praying for a strong preseason. Nothing is a given in the NFL, and even those that push themselves till they’ve got nothing more to give often don’t make it.

 

It will be an especially interesting preseason in 2018, and an even more exciting regular season.

 

I would say this team is on an upward trajectory, not a downward one that they’ve been on for the last couple of years. This year may not be our year in terms of the ultimate goal, but it’s close, trust me.

 

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