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How much cap space the Seahawks need for 2021 draft picks

New York Jets v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

In less than three weeks time the NFL is set to converge on Cleveland for the purpose of holding the 2021 NFL Draft, giving teams and fans one of the final shots of hope available prior to the start of the slow summer period. For the Seattle Seahawks, who currently only hold three selections in the draft this year following their trade for Jamal Adams last offseason, many fans have begun to ask the question of how much cap space will be necessary to sign these picks.

Obviously, the Hawks are likely to end up with more than just the three choices they currently hold, however, as of right now here is a look at how much of their cap space Seattle will use up during the draft. First, here is a look at the 2021 cap hits for the selections currently held by the Seahawks.

  • Round 2, Pick 56: $1,082,458
  • Round 4, Pick 129: $834,476
  • Round 7, Pick 250: $680,912

Obviously, the simplest thing to do is to sum those three cap hits, which yields a total of $2,597,846 of combined cap hits for the team’s 2021 draft picks. However, that is not the entirety of the calculation for the net impact on the salary cap of a team.

Specifically, during the offseason only the top 51 salaries on the roster of a team are counted against the cap, which carries two implications. The first is that any player whose cap hit is the 52nd largest or lower does not have an impact on the cap space available to a team because their cap hit is not counted during the offseason. The second is that any player whose cap hit is the 51st or larger has a net impact on the cap of the difference between their cap hit and the player whose cap hit they replace.

That is a whole lot of word problem mumbo jumbo, so to break it down into simple to understand terms, the key is that how much cap space the Seahawks will need to sign their draft picks revolves around the cap hit of the player with the 51st largest cap hit on the roster. As of this writing, there are four players - John Ursua, Penny Hart, Alex McGough and Darvin Kidsy - who all carry cap hits of $780,000, so that is the key figure around which this discussion begins. Basically, the above world jumble of math comes down to the following simple rules:

  • Adding players with a cap hit at or below $780,000 does not impact cap space during the offseason
  • Adding players with a cap hit above $780,000 reduces cap space in the amount of (2021 cap hit - $780,000).

Putting those rules to work with the actual numbers for the Seahawks, the team need a lot less than $2,597,846 in cap space to sign their picks, and here are those calculations.

How much cap space the Seahawks need for the 2021 draft

Pick 2021 Cap Hit Replacing Space Needed
Pick 2021 Cap Hit Replacing Space Needed
2.56 $1,082,458 $812,353 $270,105
4.129 $834,476 $780,000 $54,476
7.233 $686,051 $780,000 0
Total Cap Needed for Draft Picks (as of 4/9) $324,581

So, as of right now, that’s it. $324,581 is all the salary cap space that is needed for the team to sign its draft picks. Obviously, the Hawks could add more draft picks in the time between now and when the draft starts later in April. However, with the three picks the Seahawks hold set to put the 51st largest cap hit for the team to $850,000, any draft pick the team adds after Round 4, Pick 116, which is set to carry a cap hit of approximately $849,573, would have no impact on the salary cap picture for the team during the offseason.

So, what that means is that it won’t be much of a surprise if the Seahawks trade down with their second round pick in order to add a significant number of Day 3 selections. Doing so would not only increase the number of picks the team holds, it would also reduce the 2021 salary cap impact of the picks the team does make.