There are just three more days until the 2019 NFL season gets underway, and just six days until the Seattle Seahawks play an actual, meaningful football game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. That said, the past couple of days have been extremely busy, with the team making its necessary roster cuts on Saturday to get to 53, adding Jadeveon Clowney in the process and then building the practice squad on Sunday. So, that leads to the current salary cap situation of the Seahawks as the 2019 season prepares to kick off.
Per OverTheCap.com, the Hawks have $12.62M in available cap space, but, as is always the case, that is the projected cap space and not the actual cap space. In order to figure the actual cap space, a few items must be deducted from that space. The first thing to address is that that $12.62M number only accounts for the top 51 players, while the team will be carrying 53 players. Thus, an additional $1M in space is needed.
The next thing that needs to be addressed is the money necessary for the team to pay the practice squad. The $12.62M only accounts for the first six spots on the practice squad, so an additional $544k is needed to cover that. From there, it’s also necessary to set aside a reserve of $3M-$4M in order to cover the expenses with replacement players when starters go on IR.
Netting those items out, it take the team down to $8M-$9M in available cap space. Then, as I covered in greater detail Saturday, there are multiple players on the roster with significant per game roster bonuses that could wind up costing the team several million. Setting aside another $3M-$5M to cover these roster bonuses, and all of a sudden the team is looking at potentially having as little as around $3M in cap space. Now, it’s unlikely that all of those roster bonuses get paid out, which is why they are classified as Not Likely To Be Earned (NLTBE) and not currently counted against the cap, however, if they do hit the cap, it could make things very tight for the team.
Lastly, the $12.62M number in cap space that OTC lists includes the $6.2875M in dead cap for departed wide receiver Doug Baldwin, it does not take into account the $1.2M in Injury Protection payments Baldwin is eligible to receiver under Article 45 of the CBA. Thus, that’s an additional $1.2M that must be deducted from the cap space, and could realistically see the team have its available cap space drop down as low as $1M-$2M.
In short, they’re not hurting for space at this point, but they need to keep reserves to cover the costs that are likely to hit the cap over the course of the 2019 season. In addition, while they do not have the space available right now to make a move, should injuries prevent those players like Mike Iupati, K.J. Wright, Mychal Kendricks, Ziggy Ansah and D.J. Fluker from seeing the field early in the season, it could free up the need to hold a reserve to cover the per game roster bonuses. Combine that possibility with the potential for Phil Haynes and Demarcus Christmas to potentially come off of the PUP list after Week 6, and it could represent enough cap space that the team could get aggressive at the trading deadline if it wanted to.
In any case, the team more than enough cap space for the season, but don’t expect any more big, splashy moves. At least not for a few weeks.