Tuesday the NFL announced the Pro Bowl rosters for this year’s version of the most meaningless game on the NFL schedule for the year, with the Seattle Seahawks being represented by Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner. While only two Pro Bowl selections for a team that currently sits at 10-3 and in the driver’s seat for the top overall seed in the NFC may seem odd, there were several members of the team who were selected as alternates.
However, while the current Seahawks may be underrepresented in Orlando, the game is set to feature several former members of the team who were selected. Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and Frank Clark all made the Pro Bowl team after putting up quality seasons, and now they can all spend time with their families in Florida when the Pro Bowl rolls around.
In addition, even though this year’s game will be long over by the time the 2020 season rolls around, the ramifications of these selections will be felt during the 2020 season. Or, perhaps more accurately, the ramifications of Richard Sherman making the Pro Bowl will be felt by the San Francisco 49ers next season.
Everyone remembers back in the spring of 2018 when Sherman acted as his own agent and negotiated his own contract. He was heavily criticized for reaching a deal that carried very little in the way of guarantees and for signing a deal that was stocked with performance and playing time incentives. However, now that he’s made the Pro Bowl, some of those incentives will start to pay out.
Specifically, Sherman will see his base salary increase by $1M in 2020 thanks to a Pro Bowl incentive in his contract. In addition, Sherman earning a Pro Bowl nomination also adds that $1M Pro Bowl bonus to the 49ers’ salary cap picture. Under the terms of the CBA, will be accounted for on the 49ers cap in 2020. In addition, because Sherman will have made the Pro Bowl for the 2019 season, his not-likely-to-be-earned Pro Bowl bonus will change to a likely to be earned bonus for the 2020 season.
What that all means is that Sherman’s cap hit for 2020 just jumped up by $2M. Now, $2M on a salary cap that is expected to approach $200M next year is obviously not the end of the world. However, the season hasn’t finished and there are still awards to hand out. Namely, Sherman still has the potential to make the All Pro team, which would trigger another $2M bonus. That new bonus would trigger the same NLTBE/LTBE issues in Sherman’s performance incentives in 2020, potentially pushing his cap hit all the way up to the $16M range.
Things still need to fall into place for this to come to fruition, but to this point, the pieces are all coming together in such a way that the Niners could be looking at the prospect of a 32-year old starting corner playing on a rebuilt Achilles while carrying a $16M+ cap hit.
In short, it’s exactly what I’ve been hoping for since Sherman negotiated his own contract back in early 2018. Now all that needs to happen is for Sherman to make the All Pro team in order to take up even more of the 49ers cap space in 2020.