Here are some interesting changes that have taken place since my last Salary Cap analysis from a month ago. Again, all numbers are courtesy of Overthecap.com.
Richard Sherman recently achieved an incentive in his contract (not sure if it was for total snaps or being named to the Pro Bowl) that raised his 2014 base salary from $645k to $1.389M.
This raises his cap hit to $1,434,606, and it was previously scheduled for $690,606. This was probably not a shock to the Seahawks, as they wrote his original contract, and know the type of player he has become and what escalators existed in his rookie contract. This is worthy of note.
K.J. Wright achieved the same escalator as Richard Sherman; his 2014 base salary of $645k also bumped up to $1.389M. His 2014 Salary Cap hit went from $766,500 to $1,510,500.
Earl Thomas hit some escalators that bump his 2014 cap to $5.473M from $5.175M. Kam Chancellor has a 2014 cap jump $100k to $5.825 from $5.725, I believe related to the Pro Bowl
So, the Seahawks are operating with less cap room than I had predicted a month ago because of these escalators.
BREER & KIRWAN
Albert Breer is hinting that the NFL League-wide cap may be closer to $130M in 2014, not the "whisper" number of $126M as had been previously circulated.
If you're talking salary cap, important thing to remember -- the $126.3M figure given to NFL owners in December is a lowball number. ...— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 6, 2014
... Figure is still open to negotiations and machinations thru the PA, and could get closer to $130M. Low number is to help teams budget.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 6, 2014
This is a good thing for the Seahawks, as it looks like their Adjusted Cap may be closer to $131-$133/134M, and I had previously estimated something closer to $128-129M. Again, a team's Adjusted Salary Cap is the NFL League-wide cap PLUS your individual team specific cap rollover.
vet players better consider pay cuts instead of release.100 jrs in draft, long UFA lists& Seattle averages 26 yrs old..no leverage for vets.— Pat Kirwan (@PatKirwanCBS) February 5, 2014
The Seahawks signed nine players to Futures Contracts -- those players are set to earn (if they make the 53 man roster) $420k in 2014 (basically league minimum). If they did make the 2014 53 man roster and played in 2015 as well, they would earn $510k in 2014.
Korey Toomer is also under contract in 2014 for $420k (he was on NFI (non-football injury) IR list in 2013. The Seahawks still believe in Toomer from what I am hearing.
DON'T WORRY ABOUT SAVING MONEY FOR DRAFT PICKS
People ask me about saving money for Draft picks. You really don't have to do that outside of the 1st Round. Why? The NFL makes you count the 51 most expensive players on your roster during the offseason (even though you have 75-90 signed).
Your draft players will likely be compensated similar to the bottom 15-25 players on your roster, all making league minimum for the number of years they have played in NFL (typically 1-3 years). These are the players they will have to compete with to beat out, so there really is no true cap "swing" once you get outside of Round 1. So, don't worry about "saving money" for Draft picks. If the Draft player beats out a "paid" vet, well, then you actually get a cap savings, not a hit.
2013 IR PLAYERS
Pete Carroll says Jesse Williams has recovered from his injury. What that means, I don't know, but that's what I gathered from his presser. Can't be a bad thing.
I have heard that Kenneth Boatright has bulked up to 275 lbs (from 255) and Seattle sees him as an inside rusher. If you watch his pre-draft cut-ups it just makes too much sense; he's an interior penetrator in the mold of a Michael Bennett and their size/speed measureables are comparable (Bennett & Boatright). That's an intriguing development.
Conversely, CB Tharold Simon needs toe surgery, so that is a concern, and with Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond possibly (probably) not re-upped, Seattle may have to hit the draft again at corner. They like to do this around Round 5 (and they should have multiple picks in Round 5 when it is all said and done) and I have zero problem with them drafting a corner in Round 5 every year.
They won't all be Richard Sherman's but you could nail a Lane or Maxwell type (Lane and Maxwell were Round 6). Chandler Fenner will likely factor into the competition mix as well.
Finally, as a reminder, Seattle still controls Greg Scruggs and Spencer Ware -- and they could factor into 2014 as well.
REVISITING THE AIRPLANE ANALOGY:
When you picture the Seahawks 53-man roster as it relates to their Salary Cap, picture an airplane:
The Seahawks as a team are seated on a plane - think of the roster split between first class and coach, with John Schneider and Pete Carroll piloting the aircraft and the coaching staff running the show as the attendants. 18 of the 53 total Seahawks can sit in first-class - and these are the guys that make $2 million or more per year, and the 35 other guys sit in coach and make near league-minimum salaries (rookies, guys on first-contracts, league-min vets). The back of the roster fellas sit in the rear by the bathrooms and crying kids, with the loud drone of the engine in their ears.
You can probably have about nine offensive players and nine defensive players (or so) sitting in First Class so the team has to choose which guys they want for their ever-exclusive Business Class Program. The rest of the 35 guys are just working as hard as they can to earn the right to sit up front and get warm towels, fat leather recline-able seats, and the best in-flight meals. If any of them do earn that right - it just means they're going to be replacing someone that has transferred planes or they'll be bumping someone else out off the plane altogether.
This is how the salary cap works, more or less. Here's what I told Elise and Jerry last April:
Danny Post Script:
As pointed out in an email by Field Gulls member Eric W, Overthecap.com has added a neat calculator feature. --> http://overthecap.com/