The Seattle Seahawks remain over the salary cap in spite of making a handful of roster moves on Tuesday. According to the NFLPA salary cap report the team is still nearly $130k over the cap, even after waiving Justin Senior off IR. It does not appear the team has made an official announcement regarding Senior, as the news comes from the Twitter feed of Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times.
Seahawks today also waived offensive tackle Justin Senior as injured. He was a sixth-round pick last April out of Mississippi State. Assume maybe some cap implications there.— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) December 13, 2017
Senior has been on injured reserve since August, so the only benefit to waiving him from the injured reserve at this point is to, as Bob notes in his tweet, is to save a small amount of money against the cap. In particular, comparing the NFLPA team salary cap reports from Monday, it appears as though waiving Senior saves $54,752 in 2017 cap money. That still leaves the team $129,752 over the cap according to the most recent report, however, any move that reduces their 2017 cap liabilities without pushing those liabilities into a future year is a benefit.
In addition to reportedly waiving Senior, Seattle made a couple of other roster moves as well, potentially preparing the roster for the postseason. The first move involved a swap of defensive tackles, with the team waiving Rodney Coe in favor of Garrison Smith. Coe is likely to pass unclaimed through waivers, and if the front office wants can probably be resigned to the practice squad to fill the spot left empty by Smith’s promotion.
The final move involved a swap of players on the practice squad, with cornerback Trovon Reed being released to make room for Jalston Fowler. Fowler is a fullback who has spent the last three seasons with the Tennessee Titans after being drafted in the fourth round of 2015. Fowler was waived last week after seeing his playing time diminish over the course of the year. The Seahawks have not had a fullback on the roster since Tre Madden was placed on IR prior to the week 10 game against the Arizona Cardinals, and moving on to the practice squad gives Fowler an opportunity to learn the system without adding any additional salary cap liability for 2017.
Further, Fowler is slated to be a restricted free agent in 2018, and as a fourth round pick, if he is tagged with the original round tender and another team were to sign him to an offer sheet, it could help Seattle rebuild its depleted 2018 draft. That’s unlikely for a player who went unclaimed through waivers last week, however, it is one thing to keep in mind. Obviously, as Fowler was only added to the practice squad, in order to be a restricted free agent, he would need to be added to the 53-man active roster before the season ends. At this point, it would be difficult to make that move because of cap constraints, however, if Seattle qualifies for the playoffs, either Oday Aboushi or Kam Chancellor can be moved to injured reserve in order to free up a roster spot for Fowler with no cap implications whatsoever.
During the postseason players do not earn their regular salaries and their paychecks do not count against the salary cap. In the playoffs players are paid uniformly across the board based on a percentage of revenues which varies by the round in which the game is played and the team’s seeding. Thus, postseason appearances have no impact on the salary cap, and, assuming they qualify for the playoffs, the Seahawks could potentially move either Chancellor or Aboushi to IR and Fowler to the 53-man active roster without any effect on the salary cap. That would give Fowler the remaining three weeks of the regular season and a week of practice in preparation for the playoffs before being needed on the field and, as noted, would not result in any additional cap charges.
Before that comes into play, however, the Seahawks first need to qualify for the playoffs. The first step in making that happen comes Sunday afternoon when Seattle hosts the Los Angeles Rams with first place in the NFC West on the line.