Richard Sherman played in nine games for the Seattle Seahawks last season and they saw what they’d look like without him. Apparently they felt good enough about their defense sans Sherman to release him and save $11 million against the cap for 2018. Many fans are upset that the money saved has not been used to upgrade other positions, either by re-signing Sheldon Richardson or getting involved with some of the big-money offensive linemen and skill players who have circulated throughout the league on new deals.
But the Seahawks have used the $11 million saved, and I think they’ve used it extremely well.
Seattle traded for Justin Coleman from the New England Patriots last year and he played in all 16 games, becoming a vital player at nickel corner, now a starting position in the NFL for the most part. Coleman was a restricted free agent and the Seahawks tendered him, bringing his 2018 cap hit to $2.9 million. That’s a starter for the defense, and potentially one of the best values on the team, and it cost them only a seventh round pick and $2.9 million.
The Seahawks were also able to re-sign Bradley McDougald, who started nine games last season, same as Sherman, in place of both Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas at different times. Chancellor is not expected to play next season, if ever again, and so Seattle re-signed McDougald for three years; his 2018 cap hit is only $3.3 million and he’s the likely starter at strong safety for now.
A move that required a lot of patience was the signing of defensive end Dion Jordan, but he was eventually activated and played in five games, recording four sacks. Jordan was a restricted free agent that Seattle was able to secure for next season at only $1.9 million. Plenty of people have already penned him in as the replacement at defensive end for the traded Michael Bennett; considering that the Seahawks did save $2.2 million by trading Bennett, you could say they essentially used that money to allocate to his replacement. But we’ll set the Bennett savings aside for now.
Finally, Seattle made another “Dion Jordan-esque” move by signing linebacker Barkevious Mingo to a two-year, $6.6 million contract, and he’s going to cost $2.4 million against the cap in 2018. Mingo, 27, made six starts for the Indianapolis Colts last year and has a similar frame to former starting Leo Chris Clemons. He may end up primarily on special teams, or he could grab 400 snaps on defense, but by having extra money to spend under the cap Seattle was more able to take that $2.4 million risk.
All told, those four players look to cost $10.5 million against the cap in 2018, roughly $500,000 less than one Richard Sherman. Is Sherman going to be more valuable next season than those four players? Perhaps. But also because Sherman is only one player, it means you must also pay three other players on your 53-man roster, so when comparing the two rosters, you must also note that the cost of Sherman also must include the cost of three other players that the Seahawks would’ve had to pay anyway.
Coleman and McDougald look like definite starters for now, while Jordan seems to be heading that way if he can stay healthy and out of trouble, and they seem confident that Mingo can be a key role player in the rotation on defense or at least a leader on special teams in place of Terence Garvin or Micheal Wilhoite.
I don’t think the Seattle Seahawks are having a bad offseason at all.