(Note: I copied and pasted from a comment that I made in a different thread and revised it so that it's more readable.)
As of right now, based on all the numbers that I got from overthecap.com, the Seahawks currently have $3,062,351 in cap space. They have $6,648,373 tied up in dead money, and they have only a total of $873,031 of savings in cap hit fluctuations based on the current players on the roster, combined with the contracts that are coming off the books next year. This puts them with a projected amount of $10,583,755 of cap space heading into next spring. Assuming that projections of a $1 million increase in hard cap space are accurate, the Seahawks could be looking at $11,583,755 in cap space.
Edit: Forgot to add in the cap rollover of all things! Here's what next year's cap would project to when you include the cap rollover: $14,646,106.
not bad, actually very solid, and it gets better when you factor in that in 2015 and 2016, they have an extraordinary amount of cap space coming off the books in each respective year, especially for 2016, where they might have an estimated $52 million in cap space, which is almost as much as what they’re spending on the entire defense right now.
That said, if they want to extend some of their young priority players before the 2014 season starts, they will need to back-load those contracts into team-friendly deals with a lot of allotted towards 2016 and beyond. With
$11 million $14 million or so to work with after this season, they can pull that off, but to optimize their abililty to do so, they'll likely want/need to clear some space, and their best bet is to unload some of the current contracts that comes with favorable cap savings.
I looked at the top 15 2014 contracts (with the exception of Bruce Irvin*), and there are some names that I looked at where significant cap savings ($1+ million) can be had if they were released next year. Some would be unpopular choices to cut, but if the goal is sustained success with the idea of keeping/extending their best young players for the long-term, these cuts may be necessary in 2014. I broke them down into three groups of "Hey, it makes sense**," "Don’t be surprised," and "These fuckers ain’t going anywhere."
Group 1: Hey, it makes sense:
- Sidney Rice: $7,300,000 in savings.
- Chris Clemons: $7,500,000 in savings.
- Cliff Avril: $7,000,000 in savings.
- Red Bryant: $5,500,000 in savings.
- Zach Miller: $5,000,000 in savings.
- Brandon Mebane: $5,300,000 in savings.
- Jon Ryan: $1,400,000 in savings.
Group 3: These fuckers ain’t going anywhere:
- Percy Harvin: $3,800,000 in savings.
- Russell Okung: $6,668,000 in savings.
- Kam Chancellor: $1,725,000 in savings.
- Max Unger: $$2,300,000 in savings.
- Earl Thomas: $3,825,000 in savings.
- * I didn’t include Bruce Irvin because cutting him would actually result in a higher dead money amount that counts against the cap than his actual cap hit, so cutting him would not make any sense.
- ** Not saying these guys SHOULD or WILL be cut, but under current circumstances and with an eye towards sustained success, I can see a situation where one or two of these cuts are made, due to factors such as age, injury, and/or the fact that there may be a cheap (and adequate) successor already on the roster.
- *** Yes, I know! I know! It would be an extremely unpopular move, and, "But Marshawn Lynch is too important! He belongs with Group 3!!" Well, many of us didn’t think Michael Robinson would be cut, and Lynch, at 28, unlike the other players in Group 3, will be entering what is typically the catabolic phase of a Running Back’s career while the future of the position might already be on the roster (and is very, very cheap). Thus, if the goal is sustained success, the question you’d want/need to ask yourself is: Do you want to keep Lynch around with just one more year on his contract at the possible expense of signing either one of or two of Wilson, Sherman, Thomas, Tate, and/or Okung? Those guys are the future beyond 2014, Lynch is not.