JOHN CLAYTON

Examining the Seahawks’ roster, salary-cap situation after the cut-down to 75

Aug 30, 2016, 4:33 PM | Updated: 6:51 pm
Sticking with rookie Trevone Boykin would be significantly cheaper than finding a veteran backup qu...
Sticking with rookie Trevone Boykin would be significantly cheaper than finding a veteran backup quarterback. (AP)
(AP)

The Seahawks’ cut-down to 75 didn’t draw the biggest headlines, but there was plenty of impact.

Patrick Lewis, who finished last season as the team’s starting center, was released. No surprise. Sixth-round pick Joey Hunt had moved ahead of him as the backup, and with a $1.671 million salary, Lewis didn’t have a chance to make the team as the third-string center. Efforts to trade him didn’t work.

Lewis wasn’t released for economic reasons, but the money Seattle saves with that move is significant. The Seahawks have a league-high 14 players on Injured Reserve, including 13 who have been waived/injured as well as defensive tackle Sealver Siliga, who was placed on IR on Monday. The Seahawks could reach injury settlements with them, but having so many players on IR comes with a cost. The Seahawks now have $5.7 million of cap room tied up with those 14 injured players.

Currently, the Seahawks have $10.2 million of cap room after the cut-down to 75. That only takes into account the highest 51 cap numbers on the team. Once the regular season starts, the Seahawks will have to account for a $1 million-plus practice squad and the full cost of the 53-man roster.

Cap room isn’t tight, but there isn’t a lot of room for potential extensions or veteran additions.

General managers always have to plan for rainy days. That’s why most teams have to budget about $8 million to $10 million extra per season. Where the Seahawks are fortunate is they had a great draft and did a good job of signing undrafted free agents.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays into the final cuts on Saturday, when teams have to get down to 53 players. Seahawks general manager John Schneider has some interesting decisions. Let’s look a few:

Backup quarterback. While it would make sense to look at a veteran, Trevone Boykin would save the Seahawks money if he can win that job. His cap number as an undrafted rookie is only $455,000. Mark Sanchez would cost $4.5 million if the Seahawks were to trade for him. Other veterans would cost $1 million to $1.5 million. Teams shouldn’t be cheap on backup quarterbacks, but if the less expensive one is good, it’s a significant financial break.

Offensive line. UDFA tackle George Fant has a great chance of making Seattle’s roster. There are teams who would claim him on waivers if he is cut. Fant is a raw athlete whom the Seahawks and other teams believe can develop into a decent offensive lineman. The Seahawks have the luxury of keeping Jahri Evans as a backup guard because his cap number is only $680,000. It would help if J’Marcus Webb can be an option at tackle because cutting him would mean paying him $2.4 million in guaranteed money to not play.

Secondary. It will be interesting to see if the Seahawks keep UDFA safety Tyvis Powell or if they will try to slide him through waivers and onto their practice squad.

Wide receiver. Tanner McEvoy could win the fifth spot because he is a big receiver and he could be an emergency tight end with Jimmy Graham and Nick Vannett battling injuries. The sixth spot comes down to seventh-round pick Kenny Lawler and Kasen Williams, who has battled a hamstring injury this summer.

Defensive line. The Seahawks like UDFA defensive tackle Brandin Bryant, but he might have a tough time getting the final spot on the defensive line. They could lose him if they waive him, and the return of Tony McDaniel may have hurt his chances of making it.

Want more John Clayton? Listen on-demand to his weekday and Saturday shows as well as his “Cold Hard Facts” and “Clayton’s Morning Drive” segments on 710 ESPN Seattle. Also, check out his all-new “Schooled” podcast and look for his columns twice a week on 710Sports.com.

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Examining the Seahawks’ roster, salary-cap situation after the cut-down to 75