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Will the Seahawks enter the Minkah Fitzpatrick sweepstakes?

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Jacksonville Jaguars v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

In Week 1 the Seattle Seahawks secondary had a rough game, in particular safety Tedric Thompson. Thus, with reports out of South Florida that the Miami Dolphins are willing to entertain offers for Minkah Fitzpatrick, there has been a steady stream of Seattle fans on social media lobbying for the team to add Fitzpatrick to the Hawks defensive secondary.

Whether or not that comes to be, there is no doubt that any and all Miami players can be had in trade. Fitzpatrick would follow in the footsteps of young players with upside to leave the building, just as was seen with the trade that sent Laremy Tunsil to the Dolphins for a king’s ransom. In addition, while the Dolphins were able to generate a huge return from the Houston Texans when they sent Tunsil that way, there are other factors that could make Fitzpatrick expensive to acquire as well. Specifically, Fitzpatrick has nearly three full seasons of rookie contract left, and the Dolphins will be eating a significant portion of his cap hits over the next three years if they do decide to trade him.

To give a full understanding of exactly what that means, here are what the cap hits for Minkah would be for each of this season and the next two if he were to stay on the Dolphins compared to what they would be if he is traded to another team. The difference results from the simple fact that the Dolphins would need to eat the portions of Fitzpatrick’s signing bonus which have yet to be amortized against the salary cap, a not insignificant amount.

Minkah Fitzpatrick cap hits for Miami versus if he is traded

Season Minkah Fitzpatrick Dolphins Cap Hit Prorated Signing Bonus Acquiring Team Cap Hit
Season Minkah Fitzpatrick Dolphins Cap Hit Prorated Signing Bonus Acquiring Team Cap Hit
2019 $3,738,129 $2,510,503 $1,155,413
2020 $4,485,755 $2,510,503 $1,975,252
2021 $5,233,381 $2,510,503 $2,722,878

Now, just to give a comparison of where that salary stands in terms of Seahawks players on rookie contracts, here is what Fitpatrick’s post-trade cap hits would be compared to the three Seattle players that were selected in the first or second round in 2018 and 2019.

Fitzpatrick cap hits compared to Seattle defensive players on rookie contracts

Season Minkah Fitzpatrick Rashaad Penny L.J. Collier Marquise Blair
Season Minkah Fitzpatrick Rashaad Penny L.J. Collier Marquise Blair
2019 $1,155,413 $2,389,670 $1,970,196 $1,133,936
2020 $1,975,252 $2,936,028 $2,462,745 $1,417,420
2021 $2,722,878 $3,425,366 $2,955,294 $1,700,904

In short, Seattle could have Fitzpatrick, the eleventh overall selection in the 2018 draft, for barely $1.5M more than it will cost to have Marquise Blair for the next three seasons, plus whatever draft pick compensation the Dolphins want. Obviously, if the Fins want too much, then it could be a non-starter, and if Fitzpatrick isn’t cheap, Seattle may not want to spend too much more draft capital in trade. They spent a second and a fourth on Blair and Ugo Amadi this year, after spending a third and fourth on Delano Hill and Tedric Thompson just two years ago.

However the Fitzpatrick sweepstakes turns out, there are certain to be a lot of suitors for his services, including other teams in the NFC West. The Los Angeles Rams may not have a pressing need at corner for 2019, but this is the type of trade they’ve been all over in recent seasons, as evidenced by their acquisitions of both Dante Fowler and Marcus Peters.

Basically, Fitzpatrick would kill two birds with one stone for the Rams, as they would address their cornerback position for the coming years while also acquiring a proven NFL player on a cost-controlled contract for the next three years. That second part is key more now than ever, what with Jared Goff having recently signed a massive contract extension that will certainly make things tighter for the team moving forward.