Sign a Seattle Seahawk for Free: Increased Salary Cap Hurts Hawks

On a macro level this is very bad for Seattle. Every team in the league just got a "Sign a Seattle Seahawk for free card."

As Field Gulls user pqlqi noted in the Salary Cap Increase thread:

overall, I think this is a bad thing. It makes the marketplace more competitive. while we have more to spend, so does everyone else, so all re-signings will be proportionately more expensive. A larger pool of salary cap means the teams with the most accumulated talent will be stripped of that talent even faster.

This seems like basic economics to me. Increasing the money supply (increasing the hard cap floor and ceiling) by injecting +$200-$225mm directly into buyers (teams) hands, without altering the product sold (available players) will simply lead to an average increase in prices (average player salary.) This is bad for the Seahawks. Why? As I mentioned in said thread:

Where do the Seahawks stand with respect to this market of buyers and sellers? Every player they have to sign/re-sign/cut-re-sign just saw their expected earning potential increase. It means that every team that feels the need to make a splash signing, (and you better believe that Bennett, Tate, Miller, Clemons, Bryant, and maybe even Rice, would be splash signings,) now has $7mm more to do it. It means that for every Seahawks player that you hoped would give you a "hometown discount" of $1-2mm per year now has to face any number of teams that can blow that offer out of the water with new "Sign a Seahawk for Free" money.

As the Hawks are straddling the cap, (in a good way,) they do NOT want average player salaries to increase. This rewards teams that want to buy the Hawks’ success, rather than developing it themselves. It doesn’t mean that the Raiders are now better positioned than the Hawks. It simply means that more teams are now better positioned to poach individual players from the Hawks.

On a micro level, who knows?

Factors definitely involved:

*Pending extensions with Thomas, Sherman and Wilson. What does this increase in avg. player prices mean for those? Does any cap space added this year now just need to be pushed into those deals as they simply become more expensive?

*Individual players' perceived current vs. future value. I would argue Bennett and Tate will never be valued higher than they are today, and if they are as smart as they present, they know that too.

*Just how much is playing in Seattle worth? Here's your hometown discount...and it just got much more difficult to obtain.

I think the increased cap figure means, unfortunately, Bryant and Rice are gone for good.

They will have splash value on the open market. Bryant probably has some serious value in Jacksonville and the Jaguars just got a "Sign Red Bryant for free card." I bet Bradley plays it. Bryant might have to turn down a contract very close to his current to play near the minimum for the Seahawks. I think he's moving to Jacksonville if he can find one taker other than Jacksonville.

Before this I would have bet real money on Rice's return. Now I wouldn't. Too many young QB, big cap space teams now have another $7mm to play with. Rice wouldn't even cost that. He's a great risk/reward guy for ~$5mm on a 1-2 yr deal. He's not getting that in Seattle. Seahawks' management will likely figure that money is better spent on a Thomas/Wilson/Sherman extension or a Bennett or Tate package.

What about unrestricted free agents Bennett and Tate?

They both just saw dollar signs. I firmly believe Tate is the classic #2 WR about to be paid like a #1. Shoot, I'd even be willing to put him in the top 20, let alone the top 32. You think he wouldn't? Somebody is going to pay this 25 year-old, Super Bowl winning, playmaker +$7mm per year. Its going to happen. At least its going to happen now. Every team in the league just got a "Sign Golden Tate for free card." I don't think it will be the Hawks. He's going to have to turn down some very generous offers to stay. He was ready to give a discount on Super Bowl Sunday, but that wore off in a day, (as it should.) This is his best shot at big guaranteed money. Its going to take a big contract to keep him.

Michael Bennett is the wildcard to me. This 28 year-old, havoc wreaking, multiple-D-Line-position-playing, quarterback-sacking, Super Bowl winning, intelligent player is going to get paid. Every team in the league gets a $7mm per year discount on him due to the increase in cap and you think that is good for the Seahawks? No. Its not. He knew better than to bad-mouth the 49'ers on national television. No team is out of the running for this guy. Well, maybe the Cowboys. (Sorry Cowboys fans.) I truly believe that the Seahawks are going to have to decide if Michael Bennett is worth Percy Harvin money because if you look at this list, you'd be hard pressed to tell him he isn't worth Trent Cole or Chris Long money. No, every team in the league getting another "free" $7mm to throw at him driving his market value up is not good for the Hawks.

You probably just saw the possibility of signing both Bennett and Tate evaporate.

Clemons and Miller.

I say you can pretty well guarantee you won't hear a peep out of Redmond about Clemons until you know you have Bennett re-signed. If Bennett walks you can book Clemons staying. Its a one-year deal. You take it. Clemons will be on a more expensive "prove-it" deal than Bennett was but you can bet he'll have something to prove. His contract comes off the books at a decent time as well--Russell Wilson extension anybody? Clemons gives you flexibility. Something this team seems to relish. Would it really be that bad for the "prove-it" deal to actually work for Bennett? He comes to Seattle, proves it, gets a ring, and leaves a rich man. A healthy Clemons as a proven commodity is not a bad consolation prize. Jared Allen anybody?

Zach Miller is staying in my opinion. Take a look at this list and tell me you don't think the Seahawks, with two-tight-end, dominant run-game aspirations don't value him at top-seven. I guess this is more hunch than anything. I really think it comes down to Bennett just getting a clear-cut market-infused value addition and the Hawks choosing to hitch their wagons to Thomas, Sherman, Wilson, and Harvin. Pass on Bennett at +$12mm per year and you can afford to ride out the last year or two of Miller and Clemons and sign your three young guns. Compete with a newly cash-rich market for potentially the hottest DE on that market, (Hardy is mad at me now,) and you lose all of Bryant, Rice, Clemons, and Miller for FIVE mega-contracts running concurrently. This doesn't seem like John Schneider.

What just happened?

Bennett and Tate just got rich. Unless you think Bennett is the Percy Harvin of your defense he's probably rich in a different city. Your salary cap increase probably just bought you another year of Clemons at a flexible, albeit bloated one-year contract, the ever dependable Zach Miller for another year or two, and the ability to sign the three guys you knew you needed to sign all along.

All brought to you by the NFL's new "Sign a Seattle Seahawk for Free Sweepstakes."

Lets hope the Seahawks aren't a hot commodity right now.

(All entries in the Sign a Seahawk for Free Sweepstakes will be considered on a first come first served basis. Those entries submitted after 2014 will be considered null and void but encouraged to re-submit for 2015 consolation prizes KJ Wright, Byron Maxwell, and Malcolm Smith.)

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