The time until the start of the 2018 NFL Draft can now be counted in hours rather than weeks, days or months, and so it’s time to take a quick look at where the Seattle Seahawks stand in terms of the salary cap. The team has made several additions in the latter part of free agency, and those additions have left the team at a point where cap space is becoming tight. Specifically, as of this writing, this is where the NFLPA Public Salary Cap Report says they stand.
According to the NFLPA the Seahawks have $7,564,406 in 2018 cap space after adding Morris, Dawson, Davis and Janikowski.— John Gilbert (@SeahawksMachine) April 24, 2018
The $7,564,406 puts the Seahawks in 23rd in terms of cap space among all 32 NFL teams, but that is before taking into consideration the amount of money that teams need to set aside for draft picks. For example, just ahead of the Hawks with $9,403,072 are the New York Giants, however, they also hold the second overall pick in the draft. If the Giants stand pat and make a selection with the number two pick, that player will carry a cap hit of $5,694,864 in 2018, meaning New York actually has far less cap space available compared to the Seahawks.
Once all the picks are made and the slotted salaries are allocated, the picture on where each team stands heading into 2018 will become much more clear. Specifically, while the Seahawks have that $7.564M in available cap space, the team needs almost $2M to cover its draft picks this week, in addition to $1.3M for the practice squad. Taking those off of the available cap space, it leaves the team with about $4.2M in usable space.
However, even taking those amounts into consideration, we’re not at the point where the team could use that money. Every team needs injury replacements, and the Seahawks are no different. Teams typically set aside a couple million for injury replacements, and the result is that Seattle is effectively at the point where there is no cap space to speak of to make any material additions without first cutting other players.
The obvious name that could be considered for cap cut purposes would be defensive end Cliff Avril. Cutting Avril would clear between $5.975M and $7.125M depending on whether he passes a physical before being cut, but the team has no need to move on from Avril right now as they work on potential extensions for players like Earl Thomas, Frank Clark, Tyler Lockett, Duane Brown and others. As long as the Seahawks are working towards extensions with any number of those players, keeping cap space minimal helps to create leverage in negotiations. Obviously the team has a lot more cap space in future years and agents know that, but every little bit helps when working for negotiations in this season.
The roster should be far more settled in the coming weeks, after the draft, the UDFA signing period and any free agents who are added after the draft to address the final remaining holes. At that point I’ll take a far more in depth look at the salary cap for the upcoming season and what it means for the roster heading forward.