March is quickly coming to a close, and with it the frenzied activity of the opening of free agency, as the lull between the start of the new NFL League Year and the 2023 NFL Draft approaches. Free agency brought significant changes to the roster for the Seattle Seahawks, including thorough house cleaning in the defensive front seven, as well as key additions to the offensive line and secondary.
However, as fans across the league prepare to turn their calendar to April, Seattle finds itself bumping up against the salary cap, with very limited room to operate. As of this moment OverTheCap.com lists the Seahawks as having $8.9M of cap space without taking into consideration whatever portion of Bobby Wagner’s $7M contract counts against the salary cap. That said, with the Seahawks holding a pair of first and second round picks in the upcoming draft, the cap space necessary to sign the 2023 draft class, currently estimated around $8.7M based on the current roster and picks held by the team, it’s obvious that the team will need to create cap space at some point.
One of the most frequently suggested moves for the team from fans throughout the offseason has been to release All Pro strong safety Jamal Adams, specifically to take advantage of the post-June 1 designation in order to reallocate that cap space for use on free agents currently on the market. However, the idea that the Seahawks could somehow improve the roster today by moving on from Adams and designating him with a post-June 1 release fails to take into account one very key factor from the CBA, specifically Article 13, Section 6 (b)(ii)(1) (Author’s Note: Bolding added to relevant portion):
For any player removed from the Team’s roster, or whose Contract is assigned to another Club via waivers or trade, on or before June 1 in any League Year prior to the Final League Year, or at any time during the Final League Year, any unamortized signing bonus amounts will be included in Team Salary for such League Year, except that for each League Year preceding the Final League Year, each Club may designate up to two Player Contracts that, if terminated (i) on or after the first day of that League Year; and (ii) on or prior to June 1 and if not renegotiated after the last regular season game of the prior League Year, shall be treated (except to the extent prescribed by Section 6(d)(iv) below) as if terminated on June 2, i.e., the Salary Cap charge for each such contract will remain in the Club’s Team Salary until June 2, at which time its Paragraph 5 Salary and any unearned LTBE incentives will no longer be counted and any unamortized signing bonus will be treated as set forth in Subsection (2) below. If acceleration puts a Team over the Salary Cap, the Team will have seven days to conform with the Salary Cap, but may not sign any players until there is Room to do so under the Salary Cap.
In short, releasing a player with a post-June 1 designation creates exactly zero available cap space until after June first. What that means is that however much cap space the Seahawks currently have with Adams on the roster is the exact same amount of cap space they would have available tomorrow if they were to release Adams with a post-June 1 designation today. What that means is that between now and the second of June, moving on from Adams is either a net neutral or net negative move in terms of the salary cap, and there is absolutely nothing to be gained from releasing him with a post-June 1 designation outside of freeing up a roster spot on the 90-man roster. And, given that the team currently has nearly three dozen open roster spots, there doesn’t appear to be a pressing need to add one more to that count.
Now, there is, of course, the possibility that the Seahawks could move on from Adams at some point after June 1, but there is limited reason for the team to rush into working to create future cap space at the moment. The biggest reason the Seahawks are looking at needing $8.7M of cap space for the rookie class is the simple fact that whichever player they select with the fifth overall pick will carry a 2023 cap hit somewhere in the neighborhood of $6.183M. That means that they could wind up trading down a half dozen spots or so and greatly reduce the amount of cap space necessary to sign the drafted players.
Boiling it down, it’s certainly possible the Seahawks could decide that they are better off without Adams on the roster and free up some 2023 space with his release, but if they come to that conclusion and make that move, there is absolutely zero incentive to make such a move until summer at the absolute earliest.