Void years are one of the most aggressive tools available to NFL teams for the management of the current year’s salary cap at the expense of future seasons. In the past, the leadership of the Seattle Seahawks under John Schneider and Pete Carroll has not taken advantage of this tool, as it is akin to using a credit card and dipping into the cap space of future seasons. However, with Brady Henderson of ESPN reporting the details of the Ethan Pocic contract this morning, Seattle fans have now seen void years used twice in the course of a matter of days.
The Seahawks’ one-year deal with C Ethan Pocic is worth $3M fully guaranteed, I’m told. He gets a $2M signing bonus and a $1M base salary. There’s a second year that automatically voids five days after the Super Bowl and spreads out the bonus proration. His ‘21 cap number is $2M.— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) March 23, 2021
What that all means is that Pocic gets his $3M, with the Seahawks taking cap hits for that money of $2M in 2021 and $1M in 2022 after Pocic has a chance to once again test the free agent market next spring. This use of a void year comes on the heels of a similar mechanism being built into the contract of Chris Carson last week.
Source: the Seahawks are re-signing RB Chris Carson to two-year deal worth up to $14.625 million. The deal includes a 3rd void year.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 19, 2021
Their hard-charging tone setter returns to the backfield.
The team’s decision to go ahead and take advantage of void years is interesting in that it could indicate that the team might not rush into restructuring the contract of Russell Wilson by converting base salary to signing bonus if it needs cap space in the future. Doing so would increase the difficulty of potentially trading Wilson in the future, and if the rift between the team and Wilson does indeed exist, and possibly grows wider during the 2021 season, a trade could, however remotely possible, happen.
That said, with a willingness to utilize void years on a small scale, the team could opt to use void years with other players. Those could include any of the veterans on the roster who have salaries above veteran minimum, such as Duane Brown, Jarran Reed, Tyler Lockett or any of the other veterans.
What that means is that as the Seahawks bump closer and closer to the 2021 salary cap of $182.5M, there will certainly be some sort of move made in the coming days in order to free up cap space. However, between Russell Wilson’s complaints and the team’s newfound willingness to dip into future cap years at a small level, the possibilities to open up cap space in methods that fans might not have anticipated adds another layer of intrigue to the situation going forward.