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Terms of the Chris Carson contract with the Seahawks

Minnesota Vikings v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Fans of the Seattle Seahawks were ecstatic Friday evening when reports emerged that the team would be retaining starting running back Chris Carson, who had been exploring his options in free agency for the past several days. His returns makes him the unquestionable favorite to be the 2021 starter at the position, but it makes for a somewhat crowded position group with his return giving the Hawks Rashaad Penny, Travis Homer, DeeJay Dallas and Alex Collins all signed for the upcoming season.

Regardless of how the depth plays out at the position, the specifics of Carson’s contract extension have come out Saturday morning, and it’s a team friendly deal for the Hawks.

That’s a whole lot of numbers, but what it boils down to for the team in terms of the salary cap is as follows:

2021: $2.5M cap hit ($1M base salary + $1.5M pro rated portion of signing bonus)
2022: $6.45M* cap hit ($4.5M base salary + $1.5M pro rated portion of signing bonus + $450k in per game roster bonuses)
2023: $1.5M* dead cap hit (final portion of pro rated signing bonus that will be recognized against the cap after the contract voids after the 2022 season).

For those wondering what the * means, that’s to account for the $1.4M in incentives. Whatever of those incentives Carson reaches in 2021 will count against the cap in 2022, and whichever of those incentives he reaches in 2022 will count against the cap in 2023. So, when he balls out in the new offensive system of Shane Waldron, which he will do because his skillset is very, very, very well suited for a wide zone system, his 2022 and 2023 cap hits could increase by as much as $1.4M. Obviously, whether he actually reaches those performance thresholds or not won’t be known until well into the season, but unless they are set at ridiculously high levels, it would not be a surprise to see him reach the performance incentives in both of the first two years.