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Report: Seahawks restructure contract of Shelby Harris, add cap space

Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

It has been far from a quiet week in the NFC West. Things started off Monday when the Los Angeles Rams gave Aaron Donald a massive raise that made him the first $30M per year defensive player. Tuesday Deebo Samuel of the San Francisco 49ers and DK Metcalf of the Seattle Seahawks created headlines with their attendance and absence, respectively, from mandatory minicamp.

Now, Wednesday morning a report from NFL Insider Ian Rapoport indicates that Seattle has restructured the contract of recently acquired defensive tackle Shelby Harris. Harris, of course, was a part of the trade that sent Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos and brought the Seahawks a trio of players and a farm truck full of draft picks.

Harris was set to have a base salary of $7,500,000 and $500,000 in per game roster bonuses, giving him a cap hit of $7,970,588 based on the fact that he appeared in 16 of 17 games during the 2021 season. Given that the move created $3,260,588 of cap space, it is known that Harris’ new cap hit for the 2022 season will be $4,710,000, but the specifics of how exactly the contract was restructured has not been made public.

Based on the old cap hit and the new cap hit, my best guess is that the restructure involved:

  • A reduction of base salary to $1.04M
  • Conversion of $6.46M of base salary to signing bonus
  • Per game roster bonuses reduced from $500k to $425k
  • Total signing bonus of $6.54M

To reiterate, at this point those are a guess and not confirmed, so full details will be provided once they become available.

As for the logical follow up question of “Why?”, that’s anybody’s guess as well. The team had been at just over $10M in cap space per the NFLPA, and there aren’t a whole lot of signings that happen this time of year can be made with $13.5M in cap space that can’t be made with $10.3M of cap space. That, of course, leads to speculation of a trade, and John Schneider were to get to wheeling and dealing, sending Gabe Jackson packing would free up enough cap space for the Hawks to trade for a quarterback like Baker Mayfield or half of Jimmy Garoppolo. Neither of those two seem like great fits for a Pete Carroll offense, so it would seem unlikely that this is why the team is freeing up cap space, but anything is possible given John Schneider’s interest in any player across the league who becomes available.