With the final two weeks of the NFL regular season having arrived, it is only a matter of time before the majority of teams begin to look towards free agency and the draft, rather than the playoffs, and more and more it appears the Seattle Seahawks will be in that group.
The team is in real danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2011, and only the second time under Pete Carroll.
If the team is unable to win its final two games and get the help it needs in making the postseason, there will likely be a lot of fans who will be very vocal about their displeasure with the Hawks 2017 free agent class, in particular Eddie Lacy and Luke Joeckel. A large portion of the blame will be placed at the feet of these two players, but the silver lining around the rain cloud that is the 2017 season is that the those two should now be available at a steep discount during the 2018 free agency period, in particular Lacy.
In the financial industry there is a saying that the stock market is the only place where people are afraid to buy things when they go on sale, but the free agent market seems to be the same. The key to winning, in either the stock market or in the NFL, is to create excess return on the dollars invested, and some believe that one of the best ways to do that is to purchase things that are available below the value they can provide.
Whether that means purchasing a company which trades at a low valuation but has high levels of free cash flow, or signing a low dollar, lottery ticket free agent who could outperform his contract, generating that excess value is what creates return. It is the increased probability for increased value over actual cost that makes players on rookie contracts so valuable, and it the exact same thing for veteran free agents.
The Seahawks have consistently stayed away from the deep end of the free agent pool, specifically because of the lack of value available there. This season they finally dipped their tow in the water, and the result is that the season will likely have end with the first season that does not have double digit victories since Tarvaris Jackson was quarterbacking the team.
In any case, one of the results of this year is that fan favorite Lacy’s non-monster 69/179/0/2.6 season should make him available at a steal of a deal, potentially league minimum.
Some fans may laugh at that idea, or immediately reject it out of hand, however, in looking at the free agents the team acquired in the seasons prior to 2017, it does not seem all that outlandish. In 2016 they signed eight free agents from other teams, with combined cap hits of less than $9M. In 2015 they signed Ahtyba Rubin and Cary Williams, and while Rubin performed acceptably, even he had a cap hit of only $2.6M. In 2014 was more of the same, with Kevin Williams getting $2.1M, but other players getting smaller amounts. In short, Lacy’s poor 2017 showing now makes him a prime candidate to be the exact type of free agent the team has preferred in the past: low risk, high upside.
So when it happens, remember, you read it here first.