Clayton: Why you shouldn’t worry about salary cap with Seahawks this offseason

Mar 4, 2022, 3:22 PM

Seahawks Action Green...

Quandre Diggs celebrates with D.J. Reed of the Seattle Seahawks after Diggs intercepted a Los Angeles Rams pass in the first half at Lumen Field on October 07, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

A lot of Seahawks fans and followers are worried about how they can re-sign some of their players and stay under the salary cap.

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They shouldn’t worry. First of all, they haven’t had this much cap room heading into free agency. They have $34 million or $35 million. They have never been able to roll over $13 million like they are this offseason from last year’s cap.

Here is where the education about the salary cap should be important. Just because a player can get an expensive contract, it can be structured so the first year cap number isn’t bad. That can be done with a good signing bonus and maybe some voidable years that can lessen the cap hit.

The Seahawks have 16 unrestricted free agents. Pete Carroll made it sound as though he would like most of those players back with the Seahawks next year. Yet people think he’s going to spend all of it on his own players and not have enough to add others from free agency.

As a measurement, teams can sign a contract in which you can have the first-year cap number 40-50 percent of the average annual salary. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples.

Let’s say the Seahawks can re-sign safety Quandre Diggs for $13 million a year. He can have a cap number around $6 million in his first year. Tyrann Mathieu of the Kansas City Chiefs signed for $14 million a year. His first-year cap number was around $6 million.

D.J. Reed is a cornerback who could be hot on the market. Let’s say the Seahawks can re-sign him at $10 million a year. Last year, Ronald Darby signed with the Denver Broncos for $10 million a year. His first-year cap number was $4 million.

Pro Football Focus thinks Duane Brown could get a two-year, $20 million deal. That deal in the first year could be over $6 million, but they can negotiate that down if they want to bring him back.

And don’t forget they can restructure and possibly reduce Bobby Wagner’s big cap number. That opens up more room to sign free agents.

I still find it unlikely that any free-agent running back will get more than $6 million a year. Rashaad Penny won’t destroy the cap if he re-signs.

For those who worry, don’t.

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