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How much unused 2021 cap space Seahawks will roll into 2022

Chicago Bears v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

After failing to advance to the postseason for the second time in the past five years, the Seattle Seahawks will be at home Monday evening when the top two teams in the NFC West, the Los Angeles Rams and the Arizona Cardinals, face off in the final Wild Card game. The winner of the Rams-Cardinals showdown will advance and join the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round of the playoffs.

For the Seahawks, however, it’s on to the offseason, with the NFL Combine, free agency and the draft coming up, meaning it’s time to focus on retooling and rebuilding the roster. To that end, last week Field Gulls reviewed how much cap space Pete Carroll and John Schneider will have at their disposal as they look to retain key free agents and build for the future. One of the pieces of the puzzle that was looked at was how much salary cap the team would roll over from 2021 into 2022. The number used in that analysis was the number from the NFLPA Public Salary Cap Report, which stood at $10,596,317 at the time of publication.

However, in the time since, the NFLPA has adjusted the 2021 available cap number for the Seahawks to $10,555,794, likely due to a final accounting of per game roster bonuses and incentives. Cap space does not automatically roll into the next year, however, as teams must designate how much of the available cap space they would like to rollover to the following league year, and Field Yates of ESPN has obtained a list of how much space each team has requested to rollover.

For the Seahawks, they have chosen to rollover $10,555,795, with the dollar of difference likely just a rounding difference between the NFLPA numbers and the official league numbers.

Before anyone asks why a team might opt not to rollover the entire amount of unused cap space from one season to the next, it does happen on occasion for a very specific reason. Say for example a team has made the postseason and then lost a player due to injury, like the Cincinnati Bengals who placed Larry Ogunjobi on injured reserve Monday after he was injured in the victory over the Las Vegas Raiders. Say the Bengals are in discussions with a veteran player to come in and join the team for the remainder of the postseason, but that player wants more money guaranteed than just a single week of playoff earnings.

In order to have cap space available to give a signing bonus to the player who is coming in as a replacement, that team needs to have left some cap space in the current league year, otherwise there would be no money available from which to pay the signing bonus. The 2021 cap has already been closed out, and the 2022 cap won’t become available until March. So, the only option for teams is to leave a small amount of cap space in the past league year. To answer the follow up question, if that small amount that is left in the prior league year is not used, then it is lost forever and is as if it never existed.