The legal tampering period of NFL free agency is set to come to a close on Wednesday afternoon at 4 PM New York Time, and while Monday and Tuesday each brought a flurry of activity, the Seattle Seahawks have been relatively quiet. This is typical of the Hawks, who have been sideline observers during the early days of free agency for the majority of the time that Pete Carroll and John Schneider have been in charge of things. That, however, doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking for fans who get their hopes up each year that the team might sign their favorite big name player.
A sampling of the names Seattle fans had hoped for this season included Jack Conklin, Bryan Bulaga and Robert Quinn, just to name a few. In contrast, the Seahawks tendered Jacob Hollister, Joey Hunt, Branden Jackson and David Moore, while retaining Jarran Reed and adding B.J. Finney from the Pittsburgh Steelers. That, of course, leads to the question regarding how much cap space the team has with the actual start of free agency set for late Wednesday.
This piece on Sunday looked into that question, but with four restricted free agent tenders having been given out in addition to the Reed and Finney contracts, where does the team currently stand? The Sunday piece concluded that the Hawks had roughly $30M in effective cap space available to be used in free agency, so that is the starting point. That number takes into account a reserve for injured reserve, the practice squad and draft picks, but does not consider the Reed or Finney contracts or RFA tenders. Those are pretty straightforward calculations, so here they are.
The Reed contract was announced Monday evening, and his cap number for this season is $9.35M. That number is comprised of the following pieces:
- Sigining bonus: $5M (half of the $10M total signing bonus)
- Base salary: $4.1M
- Per game roster bonuses: $250k ($25k per game with 10 games worth as LTBE based on the number of games he played in 2019)
Moving on to Finney, his cap hit for 2020 is $3.5M, which is comprised of the following pieces:
- Signing bonus: $1M (half of the $2M total signing bonus)
- Base salary: $2.5M (fully guaranteed, so he’s unlikely to be cut this season)
That give Reed and Finney combined cap hits of $12.85M for 2020.
Moving on to the restricted free agent tenders, the amounts are as follows:
- Jacob Hollister: $3.259M
- Joey Hunt: $2.133M
- David Moore: $2.133M
- Branden Jackson: $2.133M
Combining those four cap hits yields a total costs of $9.658M.
Therefore, putting the cap hits of the RFAs with the cap hits of Reed and Finney, the Seahawks have added $21.508M in caps hits for 2020 over the past three days. That doesn’t mean the team lost a full $21.508M in cap space, however.
Specifically, the $30M number calculated in the earlier piece took into account a full roster, as during the offseason only the 51 highest cap hits on the roster count against the cap. Since the $30M already took into account 51 players, each of the RFA tenders, as well as the Reed and Finney contracts, will replace the six lowest cap hits on the roster. With the rookie minimum salary for 2020 set at $610k under the new CBA, removing $3.66M (6 X 610k) from the $21.508M in new cap hits, the reduction in cap space for the Hawks since Sunday is around $17.848M.
Now, that number does not include Luke Willson agreeing to return. Without knowing the details of his contract, the true amount of cap space lost is likely underestimated. It’s probably a relatively safe bet that Willson signed a veteran minimum benefit contract, which will probably wind up using another $202k in cap space, but until the official terms are released, I’ll hold off on those calculations.
Putting everything together, the Seahawks used just a hair over $18M in available cap space, leaving them with somewhere around $12M in effective (usable) cap space. Now, they certainly have more than $12M available to spend, as that $12M includes allocations for an injured reserve pool and practice squad, and does not take into account any potential cap casualties. There are, of course, numerous players who could be released in order for the Seahawks to free up cap space, but many of the anticipated releases finished 2019 on injured reserve, which brings into consideration Article 45 considerations. Thus, that is a topic to delve into a couple of weeks, once it becomes known if the team is releasing any players this week.