Less than a week remains until the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles face off in Super Bowl LVII and mark the official end of the 2022 NFL season. For the rest of the league the offseason is underway, meaning the attention of fans has turned to free agency and the draft. That, of course, means that fans have tuned in to the amount of cap space available to their favorite squad, with hopes that that glorious space can be converted into impact playmakers when the new league year starts on March 15, kicking off the annual free agency frenzy.
It also means that when looking at the cap space, fans will inevitably turn to looking at which of the more expensive veterans on the roster could potentially be jettisoned in order to free up space for free agents. For the Seattle Seahawks the list of names fans have proposed could be let go for cap reasons is not short, so in the coming days Field Gulls will take a look at the potential cap casualties one at a time in an effort to asses how likely it is that a player will be let go by the team.
The starting point for this review is with Pro Bowl free safety Quandre Diggs, whose performance on the field has fans split. Many are convinced he had a down year in 2022 and should not have been voted to the Pro Bowl, while others contend that Diggs was a major factor in the success of the very young, very inexperienced players at cornerback.
Regardless of how one views Diggs’ on field performance this past season, the reality is that it is likely to have little, if any, impact on any decision regarding whether he is on the roster in 2023. And more to the point, any decision regarding whether he is on the roster in 2023 or not will be made in the coming days.
The reason for the timing of the decision is due to the way Diggs contract is structured. Specifically, his contract included $27M guaranteed at signing, with $13.49M of the 2023 salary for Diggs guaranteed for injury. However, while it was guaranteed for injury at signing, those guarantees are set to vest into full guarantees on the fifth day of the waiver period, which is Friday, February 17.
What that means is that any release of Diggs to save the $13.49M of cap space would have to come prior to those guarantees vesting. Once those guarantees vest, releasing Diggs prior to June 2 would actually reduce the amount of cap space the team has by $3.59M, while releasing Diggs with a post-June 1 designation would free up a whopping $510k of cap space. With the rookie minimum salary set to be $750k for the 2023 season, that means that releasing Diggs with a post-June 1 designation and replacing him with a rookie undrafted free agent would actually reduce the amount of cap space available to the Hawks by $240k while getting replacing one of the highest performing members of the defense.
In short, Diggs isn’t going anywhere, and barring injury will be the starting free safety for the Seahawks in 2023.