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Which recent Seahawks draft picks have earned themselves a raise?

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The offseason is starting to truly get into full gear, with teams starting the process of extending soon to be free agents and making cap cuts prior to the start of the 2019 league year. Thus, it’s as good a time as any to take a quick look at some of the members of the recent draft classes for the Seattle Seahawks and see which players have earned themselves a raise.

Obviously, certain members of the team that have been drafted in the past few years have played their way into raises when they sign extensions, such as Frank Clark or Jarran Reed, however, the focus of today is the automatic raises available to players under the Proven Performance Escalator (PPE). The PPE is explained in Article 7, Section 4 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), and is a section which provides automatic raises to players in the fourth year of their rookie contract who have met one of two playing time thresholds.

The two ways for a player to become PPE qualified are as follows:

  • Play 35% of a team’s cumulative offensive or defensive snaps over their first three years in the league or
  • Play 35% of a team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of the first three seasons in the NFL.

Once a player hits either of those thresholds, the base salary for the fourth year of their contract is automatically increased from whatever the salary is under the terms of their rookie contract to be equal to the original round tender for a restricted free agent. It’s not a huge raise, but it’s more than nothing and I’m sure that most players who qualify for this are not complaining.

For 2018 there were two members of the Seahawks 2015 draft class who qualified for the PPE. Now, while I’m sure most fans would immediately guess that those two players are Frank Clark and Tyler Lockett, however, that would be incorrect. The PPE only applies to players taken in the third through the seventh rounds of the draft, meaning that Frank Clark was never eligible for the PPE. However, as a third round pick who met both of the criteria for the PPE, Lockett was qualified. Obviously, though, his raise became somewhat irrelevant when the team signed Lockett to a three year contract extension which has him under contract through 2021.

The second member of the Seahawks 2015 draft class who qualified for the PPE in 2018 was Mark Glowinski, who took his pay raise from the Indianapolis Colts while having a nice little season and earning a three year contract extension of his own. Before the question gets asked how Glowinski qualified if he was waived, under the waiver system any player claimed retains their original contract. Thus, since Glowinski went to Indianapolis on his original rookie contract through waivers, he played 2018 on the fourth year of that rookie contract and was thus afforded the raise.

So, with the offseason starting to heat up, free agency only four weeks away and the combine just around the corner, let’s take a look and see if any members of the 2016 draft class have qualified. Obviously, in order to know whether a player qualifies, we need to know where the 35% thresholds stand for snap counts, so here is a table with the offensive and defensive snap counts for each season, along with the 35% threshold in parentheses.

Offensive and Defensive snaps by season (with 35% PPE qualifier)

Side 2016 Snaps 2017 Snaps 2018 Snaps Cumulative
Side 2016 Snaps 2017 Snaps 2018 Snaps Cumulative
Offense 1059 (371) 1067 (374) 1069 (375) 3195 (1119)
Defense 1080 (378) 1098 (385) 991 (347) 3169 (1110)

From there the next step is to take a look at the draft picks and see which 2016 selections may have earned themselves a raise.

Seahawks 2016 draft class with snap counts

Pick Player 2016 Snaps 2017 Snaps 2018 Snaps PPE Qualified
Pick Player 2016 Snaps 2017 Snaps 2018 Snaps PPE Qualified
1.31 Germain Ifedi 840 1067 989 Ineligible
2.49 Jarran Reed 477 616 773 Ineligible
3.9 C.J. Prosise 147 74 30 No
3.94 Nick Vannett 84 278 528 No
3.97 Rees Odhiambo 33 484 0 N/A - Contract Status
5.147 Quinton Jefferson 20 129 558 N/A - Contract status
5.171 Alex Collins 141 0 0 N/A - Contract status
6.215 Joey Hunt 66 0 115 N/A - Contract status
7.243 Kenny Lawler 0 0 0 N/A - Contract status
7.247 Zac Brooks 0 0 0 N/A - Contract status

So, the only players from the 2016 draft class who would have met either of the thresholds, Germain Ifedi and Jarran Reed, are ineligible for the escalator because of the round in which they were drafted. Moving ahead to the 2017 draft, let’s take a look and see which players have set themselves up to potentially qualify for the PPE in the 2020 season.

Seahawks 2017 draft class with snap counts

Pick Player 2017 Snaps 2018 Snaps PPE Qualified
Pick Player 2017 Snaps 2018 Snaps PPE Qualified
2.35 Malik McDowell 0 0 Ineligible
2.58 Ethan Pocic 638 296 Ineligible
3.90 Shaquill Griffin 875 941 Yes
3.95 Delano Hill 32 320 No
3.102 Nazair Jones 284 132 No
3.106 Amara Darboh 191 0 No
4.111 Tedric Thompson 8 656 No
6.187 Michael Tyson 0 142 N/A - Contract status
6.21 Justin Senior 0 0 N/A - Contract status
7.226 David Moore 9 620 N/A - Contract status
7.249 Chris Carson 153 454 No

So, from the 2017 class Shaquill Griffin has already qualified for a raise in 2020 since he met the 35% threshold in each of the first two years of his career. However, that raise is not guaranteed, and if the team were to cut him and he were to someone clear waivers, then he would not be entitled to the raise. That said, it’s likely that even if the Seahawks were to waive Griffin, he would likely be claimed by another team, so he is effectively all but guaranteed that raise. The one exception would be if he were to suffer a serious injury which would lead the Seahawks to release him (or an off field injury, like say, hypothetically, crashing an ATV).

In addition, Chris Carson is set up nicely to qualify for the PPE if he can stay healthy enough to play 35% of the teams offensive snaps. Based on the number of offensive snaps the team has run in the past, he likely needs somewhere around 375 snaps to qualify, a number that seems completely reasonable assuming he can stay relatively healthy.

Next, Tedric Thompson should be able to qualify by hitting the same threshold of somewhere around 375 defensive snaps. Depending on what the Hawks do at the safety position in the offseason, that doesn’t seem like much of a stretch based on how much of an opportunity they afforded Thompson to play this past season.

As for Delano Hill, with his 2018 snap count coming in just shy of the 35% required for a season, he will only be able to qualify by reaching 35% of the team’s cumulative defensive snaps from 2017-2019. That means he’ll likely need to reach 1,150 snaps during those three years, and with just 352 snaps through his first two seasons, that would require playing 800 snaps in 2019. That certainly seems like a number of snaps he is unlikely to play unless there are injuries to other members of the Seattle secondary, but he’s at least got an outside shot at qualifying.

Before anybody asks in the comments, David Moore is not eligible. As Moore was waived at the end of training camp in 2017 and cleared waivers, his original rookie contract was terminated. As the PPE is only available to players who are still on their rookie contract, he is therefore not eligible to get a raise through this method.

However, jumping to make another point before someone complains about how unfair that is to Moore, because he was waived and his rookie contract terminated, Moore became an Exclusive Rights Free Agent (ERFA) after each of the 2017 and 2018 seasons. As the team is likely to only retain him on a one year ERFA tender for 2019, that will make Moore likely to become a Restricted Free Agent after the 2020 season, at which point it’s possible the team could use an original round tender, or perhaps even a higher tender, in order to retain his services for 2020. Thus, the PPE is effectively a tiny equalizer built into the system which puts players drafted in rounds three through seven on a somewhat level playing field with undrafted free agents who are able to test the market after just three seasons rather than four.

As for the 2018 draft class, Tre Flowers has put a big dent in the requirements for hitting the PPE, while Rasheem Green and Jacob Martin have begun to chip away, while at a far lower level. Just something else to bury in the back of your mind and be ready to dig out and look smart in front of your friends when training camp rolls around.