The members of the NFLPA voted to approve the proposed CBA sent to them by the NFL owners, ensuring labor peace through the 2030 NFL season. The NFL and NFLPA then quickly turned around in order to reach agreement on the salary cap for the 2020 season.
The NFL Management Council just informed team officials the salary cap will be $198.2 million per club in 2020, per sources.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 15, 2020
Therefore, with the 2020 salary cap set at $198.2 million dollars, it is now possible to determine how much money the Seattle Seahawks will have available in free agency. As a starting point, a look at OverTheCap.com, which currently has the Seahawks with $44.7 million in available cap space for the 2020 season.
The first step, however, is to adjust the number from OTC to account for the actual cap. The space available per OTC is based on their projection of a $200M cap. Thus, with the cap coming in at $198.2M, it's necessary to deduct $1.8M in available space to account for a reduced cap. That brings the available space down to $42.9M.
That $42.9M, however, is based on only having 49 players on the roster. Filling out the roster to the 51 players who will count against the salary cap during the offseason requires an additional two players. With the minimum salary for 2020 now set to be $610,000, those two players will cost at least $1.22M. Removing that $1.22M leaves just under $41.7M, but rounding is fine for this review, so $41.7M it is.
From there it is then possible to deduct the money that will be necessary to cover the practice squad. For the upcoming season, there will be 12 practice squad spots, with each spot commanding a $10,500 salary per week. Therefore, the full practice squad of 12 players at the new salary of $10,500 each for each of 17 weeks will take up $2,142M in cap space. Accounting for this brings the cap space available down to $39.55M.
Next, the Hawks hold eight picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, with those picks requiring a hair over $3.5M above the minimum slot threholds. Taking that out of the available space leaves the team with right at about $36M. From there the Hawks need to allocate cap space is for injured reserve. Teams typically keep $3M-$4M aside for injured reserve, however, this money is not truly needed during the course of the offseason.
Lastly, the new CBA brings with it significant increases in minimum salaries. Those minimum salary increases will require roughly $3M in cap space for the Hawks, which leaves the team somewhere in the neighborhood of $30M in effective cap space to use during free agency. However, the front office can easily go slightly above that numbers, as it can work to address cap issues later in the offseason.
The team can, of course, backload the contracts of any players signed. However, since Pete Carroll and John Schneider arrived in 2010 that is a practice the duo has tended to stay away from. Whether they will continue to shy away from backloading contracts in such a way will obviously have to wait and see, however, if their past behavior is any indication of what to expect during free agency next week, then any big splash signings would seem unlikely.