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If Branden Albert is in Seattle, why hasn’t he signed yet? The answer could be in the Bye

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Waiting may make sense for all involved

Miami Dolphins v New York Jets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

According to Bob Condotta, veteran left tackle Branden Albert is in the Seattle area as of Thursday night and remains there as of Friday. What does this mean for the chances of the Seahawks signing him? That’s nearly impossible to know, and after being spurned by T.J. Lang in the offseason fans might not be so quick to get excited.

Prior to this revelation by Condotta, it was reported by Ian Rapoport that Albert was on his way to New York to negotiate with the Giants organization. Whether that trip has been cancelled or postponed remains unclear.

There are a few obvious possibilities here which could be in play:

  • The interest from the Giants was overstated
  • Albert wants to play for a “contender”
  • The Seahawks may be willing to pay Albert more overall or more per game but are waiting out the week to sign him
  • Albert will perform addition evaluations in Seattle

Neither the team is swimming in cap space to sign a veteran player, but all things being equal it may be the case that Albert would rather sign with a playoff caliber team, especially one in a state without income tax. So, why doesn’t John Schneider sign him immediately if this is the case?

NFL yearly paychecks are broken into 17 chunks: 16 game checks and a bye week check. For example, a yearly deal of $5 million with no signing bonus, incentives, or guarantees pays just over $290k per week of the season. This includes the bye week when players are not playing or officially practicing for their team. For a team that is squeezing every last drop of cap space, a week can make all the difference. Or, if Seattle is willing to pay the same total amount either way, waiting a week avoids off the field injury risk a la Malik McDowell.

While the Seahawks have $1.8 million in cap space remaining, it may not be enough to get Albert on the books. In order to create more room, the team could be talking with current a player to extend/restructure their contract. We saw this exact situation with Doug Baldwin earlier this year before the trade for Sheldon Richardson.

From a player contribution perspective there isn’t a lot of incentive for Seattle to sign Albert right away. With the bye week the players get a mandatory minimum of four consecutive days off per the 2011 collective bargaining agreement. So, the team may wait until next week before anything officially comes down.

Unless there is a strong risk of losing Albert to an opposing team there just isn’t much reason for the Seahawks to rush into signing him. While Albert would almost certainly be an upgrade at left tackle there are significant financial and risk avoidance reasons to not sign him right away. And while it can be frustrating to watch from the sidelines praying to not be “Lang-ed” again, it seems unlikely Seattle would miss again on an opportunity to improve the offensive line if the numbers work. In all likelihood, the team is working through the numbers, trying to adjust a contract or two, and working towards a deal.