Many observers this offseason have been critical of the way the Seattle Seahawks have handled several personnel matters, from the release of Richard Sherman to the team cutting DeShawn Shead in order to keep their word about Shead getting to test free agency for the first time in his life. In this piece, I’m going to take a very quick look at the contract for offensive lineman Isaiah Battle and how it shows the team taking care of one of its own.
For starters, many fans may not recognize Battle’s name, but he is the offensive tackle the team acquired at the end of training camp from the Kansas City Chiefs for a conditional draft pick. Whatever the conditions of the pick were, they do not appear to have been met, because Kansas City does not have a seventh round draft pick that came from Seattle. Prior to signing with the Chiefs last offseason, Battle was drafted by St. Louis in the 2015 supplemental draft, and spent all but seven weeks of his two years with the St. Louis and Los Angeles Rams on the practice squad.
After two seasons with the Rams, he signed with Kansas City after the 2016 season. The Chiefs obviously didn’t have a home for him, so they packed him off to Seattle for the aforementioned conditional draft pick. He was never active for the Hawks, and when Duane Brown was added at the trade deadline in late October, Battle was waived from the 53 man roster to make room. He was unemployed for only a matter of days, however, as Seattle signed him to the practice squad the next week.
Then, in early December, with the Seahawks flush up against the salary cap and the team not needing a full roster of 53 players for the matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Hawks played their Week 13 game against Philly with only 52 players on the roster. That’s not unheard of, as the team had done that same thing for the Week 5 showdown with the Rams, however, this time around there was one minor difference.
As I looked at back in December when this transpired, the CBA has certain rules regarding practice squad eligibility, and those rules dictate that if a team is going to keep fewer than 53 men on the active roster, then the team may not keep players with more than two accrued practice squad seasons. Thus, because Battle already had two practice squad seasons and Seattle decided to keep only 52 on the active roster for Week 13, that meant the team would have to cut Battle before that week’s game.
Once again Battle was not unemployed for long, as he was added back to the practice squad three days later on December 5. Battle stayed on the practice squad for the remainder of the season, and then signed a futures contract with Seattle in January.
Bringing this all back to Battle’s contract, his 2018 pay looks like this in a snapshot from OverTheCap.com:
The interesting thing in that breakdown is the fact that a player who has spent large portions of his career on the practice squad over the first three seasons of his career is showing a roster bonus of $37,000. Now, it could be absolutely nothing at all, and simply OTC intentionally having an incorrect number on their site, something they occasionally do for reasons I’m not going to get into here, or it could be something else.
If you recall, Battle twice was waived by the Seahawks and spent a weekend unemployed. The way NFL players are paid is that they receive 1/17th of their paycheck each week during the season, so if they are not on the roster or practice squad for the Sunday game, then they don’t get paid. That means Battle missed two weeks worth of pay, and that’s interesting only because of the amounts involved.
Keeping that $37,000 in mind, with one accrued season prior to 2017, Battle made $31,764 per week he was on the active roster, and as with most practice squad players, presumably made $7,200 per week on the practice squad. Put those two numbers together and by being unemployed for two weekends, Battle missed out on $38,964.
Now, $38,964 is not exactly $37,000, but it is certainly close enough for my liking to at least consider whether the $37,000 roster bonus for Battle is simply to make up for wages he lost the two weeks he did not get paid in 2017. Maybe that’s the case, or maybe it isn’t, I’m not certain. However, if it is the case, then the Hawks certainly took care of one of their own, and it would seem to indicate that they certainly like what they saw from Battle in practice.
Of course, no one knows what will happen going forward, as Battle was signed to a futures contract on January 2 before Seattle took a stick of dynamite to the coaching staff that spent the 2017 season working with him. However, if the team did indeed take care of him in this manner, then it would seem the front office certainly likes what they saw from him, and it could definitely be a an example used to show other young players how the team takes care of its own.