Seattle Seahawks tight end Ed Dickson has had an interesting week, to say the least. To start off the week, he was first activated off injured reserve, with nickel corner Jamar Taylor released from the roster in order to make room for Dickson. however, reports then emerged on Thursday that Dickson is expected to be placed back on injured reserve because the team is not happy with the way his knee injury has healed.
This marks consecutive seasons for Dickson missing significant time due to injury since signing with Seattle as a free agent in the spring of 2018. Last season Dickson spent the first six weeks of the year on the physically unable to perform list before returning for the final ten games of the regular season and the playoff loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Another trip to injured reserve this year would effectively finish his season, and it could mark the finish his time with the Seahawks.
Dickson’s contract calls for a 2020 base salary of $3M, however, that seems a little high for a 33 year-old tight end who will have gone more than a year and a half between games. With none of that $3M guaranteed, that represents $3M in cap savings for the Hawks in 2020 should they decide to move on, with only $866,667 in dead money left on the cap. With the emergence of Jacob Hollister as a receiving threat, whether the team moves on from Dickson will likely largely depend on what happens with Luke Willson in the offseason, as a well as what Will Dissly’s recovery timeline looks like.
If the Hawks do indeed place Dickson on injured reserve and then move on from him after the season, the team will have paid him $6.9M to appear in ten games. That is more per game than many rookies drafted on Day 3 of the NFL Draft make per season, and with the uncertainty now surrounding the position going forward, it will not be a surprise to anyone should the team look to address the position in the draft yet again next spring.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is the potential severity of the injury. Pete Carroll initially stated that the recovery time period would likely be 4-6 weeks. However, it’s obviously been far longer than that, and whatever the injury is now appears to have a recovery timeline closer to 4-6 months. In any case, because he is under contract for 2020, if there is something wrong with Dickson’s knee such that he would be unable to pass a physical, then under the CBA he would be released with an injury designation.
The injury designation would entitle him to up to $1.2M in compensation in 2020 if he is unable to pass a physical, is released and does not sign with another team. If that does indeed happen, the $1.2M would be charged against the salary cap next season, which would, of course, reduce the cap savings realized by releasing Dickson.
In any case, it’s a very strange situation. Luckily, though, the Hawks don’t appear likely to need to designate any players to return from injured reserve besides Ethan Pocic, so using one of their two designations on Dickson should not be anything to fret over.