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How much cap space Seahawks cleared releasing Ed Dickson and Tedric Thompson

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Kansas City Chiefs v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Tuesday the Seattle Seahawks took a step many fans had long anticipated was coming, waiving safety Tedric Thompson and releasing tight end Ed Dickson for salary cap purposes. Both Thompson and Dickson ended 2019 on injured reserve, Dickson with a knee issue and Thompson following shoulder surgery, which is why it was not a surprise when each saw their time with the Hawks come to an end with a failed physical designation.

The failed physical designations are significant because they allow those players to exercise their Article 45 Injury Protection rights afforded under the CBA if they remain unsigned for the 2020 season.

For those who are unfamiliar with the injury protection benefits, they are as follows (Author’s note: Bolding added is mine):

Section 2. Benefit: A player qualifying under Section 1 above will receive an amount equal to 50% of his Paragraph 5 Salary for the season following the season of injury, up to a maximum payment of: $1,000,000, in the 2011–12 League Years; $1,050,000, in the 2013–14 League Years; $1,100,000, in the 2015–16 League Years; $1,150,000, in the 2017–18 League Years; and $1,200,000, in the 2019–2020 League Years; in each case unless he has individually negotiated more injury protection or a larger guaranteed salary in his contract.

As noted, both Thompson and Dickson are now eligible, should they remain unsigned going forward, to collect up to 50% of their Paragraph 5 salary for the 2020 season, up to the maximum $1.2M noted for the 2020 League Year.

Now, for what their Paragraph 5 Salaries were set to be for each of them, P5 salary is nothing more than base salary. Thus, their injury protection amounts are based off the base salaries as shown on of the following amounts:

  • Thompson: $2.133M
  • Dickson: $3M

So, applying the 50% up to the $1.2M maximum threshold, the amount each could stand to earn from the Seahawks, and which would count in full against the salary cap, would be as follows:

  • Thompson: $1.0665M
  • Dickson: $1.2M

Now, because Thompson is not a vested veteran (he has only three accrued seasons, not four or more), he is subject to waivers. Thus, it’s entirely possible that one of the other 31 teams could put in a waiver claim on Thompson and take on his $2.133M base salary in its entirety for 2020. That seems unlikely given Thompson’s play and the fact that he’s returning from injury, but it remains a possibility. That said, having just turned 25 in January, it’s very possible that another team may not be interested in Thompson at $2.133M, but once he clears waivers teams could sign him to a minimum salary contract, which would cost just $825k against the cap for 2020.

In contrast, for Dickson, it creates an interesting scenario. At his age, it may be unlikely that he receives anything more than an offer for league minimum, which for his experience would carry a base salary of $1.05M. That means a deal taking advantage of the veteran minimum benefit would max out at $1.1875M, or less than the $1.2M he could make by sitting at home this coming season.

That means that in Dickson’s case, the question becomes whether Dickson wants to play the 2020 season on a one year deal and potentially cash in on a somewhat lucrative deal in 2021. Or, would he be content to take a payday of $1.2M in 2020 and not worry about the bumps and bruises of a football season.

In any case, because of the failed physical designations and the potential $2.2365M of injury protection payments, the Hawks may not save as much cap space as hoped for with these transactions. Add in that each of the two must be replaced by another player on the 51 man offseason roster which exists for cap purposes, and that’s another $1.5M of cap space that is not being created.

In short, the cap space created by releasing Dickson and waiving Thompson from the roster as of now would be:

  • ($2.133M + $3M) - ($1.2M* + $1.0665M**) - ($750k * 2) = $1.3665M

*Disappears if Dickson signs with another team

**Disappears if Thompson is claimed on waivers by another team Wednesday or if he signs with another team

In summary, it all comes together to mean that the Seahawks might have created less than $1.5M in cap space with the release of Dickson and Thompson, depending on how things play out in the coming days and months. The difference between $5.133M and $1.3665M is far from crippling for the team, however, it’s certainly an amount that is large enough to pay attention to going forward.