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How much cap space do the Seahawks need to allocate for draft picks?

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NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

With the most active period of free agency over and March about to end, the endless well of hope known as the NFL Draft is quickly approaching. In late April fans and teams will converge on Dallas to attend the draft at AT&T stadium, and fans will have dreams of late round sleepers pushing their team to great levels of success.

In conjunction with this, teams will have allocated salary cap space to cover the cost of their draft picks being added to the roster, including the Seattle Seahawks. To that end, it has been repeated a couple of times in recent days that the Seahawks require about $6M to sign their draft picks.

And by national sports sites as well.

So do the Seahawks really need $6M to sign their draft picks? To answer that, let’s go look at OverTheCap.com. Here’s a grab of the draft picks Seattle currently holds and the total caps hits for each of the picks

So, according to OTC, it does indeed appear as though Seattle will need more than $6,050,420 of cap space to cover its draft picks. However, that’s not the full story. During the offseason NFL teams do not need to fit all 90 players on the roster under the salary cap, as they only need to fit the top 51 players on the roster under the salary cap.

Thus, it becomes necessary to first figure out what the cap hits are for every draft pick individually, and then to determine whether that draft pick falls above or below the 51 threshold. Once that is done, it is possible to look at the difference in cap hits between the players being replaced and the players on the roster, with the amount needed to be set aside equalling the sum of the marginal differences of those who are actually replacing someone in the top 51. Simple, right?

In any case, here’s a spreadsheet that does all this work and provides the actual amount of cap space the Hawks will need to sign all eight of their draft picks.

And there we have it - the actual amount of cap space the team needs to cover its draft picks is far lower than $6M, though that number is subject to change should the team make further trades that adjust the number of draft picks it holds.