Fans of the Seattle Seahawks watched the team sit on the sidelines of the first wave of free agency, as big name players like Corey Linsley, Kevin Zeitler and Joe Thuney earned big contracts. In contrast, the Seahawks stood by patiently, waiting for the opportunity to find the bargains available after the initial rush to sign the best available players.
For the Hawks, the waiting was in part required as a result of their salary cap issues, and their past reluctance to aggressively borrow from the salary cap of future seasons. However, it appears much of their caution, if not all of it, has been thrown to the wind in recent weeks, with the team progressively getting more and more aggressive in the structure of their contracts.
Now that the terms for defensive end Carlos Dunlap have been made public, it seems the team may view the next season or two as make or break.
Per source, Carlos Dunlap’s two-year deal has a base value of $13.6M and three extra void years. A $7M signing bonus and $1.5M base salary in ‘21 make up the $8.5M guaranteed. In ‘22: $4.075M base, a $175K roster bonus and $850K in per-game bonuses. Cap number this year is $2.9M.— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) April 2, 2021
The cap hits for Dunlap in the coming years will be:
2023: $4.2M (will not be on roster, this is a dead money charge)
So, with the Seahawks dipping into future cap years to sign multiple players this offseason, it raises the question regarding whether the team could see the next season or two as the peak of its ability to reach the Super Bowl. There are now multiple players whose contracts borrow cap space from the 2023 season for the 2021 season, including Dunlap, Chris Carson and Benson Mayowa, and that could certainly lead one to interpret the team’s actions as a sign they believe the peak championship window could be closing if they aren’t able to make it happen now.