It’s officially just over three weeks until the 2023 NFL Draft, and the Seattle Seahawks have been busy so far this offseason. That activity has put the Hawks in a position where they have roughly $6M of cap space available for the 2023 season, while needing roughly double that to cover the cost of signing their draft picks, assembling a practice squad and maintaining a reserve to cover injury replacements.
With that in mind, there has been no shortage of proposals from fans that the Seahawks create at least some of the space necessary by moving on from the favorite whipping boy of many, safety Jamal Adams. The reasons why the Hawks won’t likely release Adams with a post-June 1 designation were reviewed last Wednesday, and now it’s time to review why it’s like that he won’t be released post-June 1 either.
To understand why so many fans want the Hawks to move on from Adams, here’s a review of his cap hits over the next three seasons:
- 2023: $18.11M ($7.11M prorated signing bonus, $11M base salary of which $2.56M is fully guaranteed)
- 2024: $23.61M ($7.11M prorated signing bonus, $16.5M base salary)
- 2025: $24.61M ($7.11M prorated signing bonus, $17.5M base salary)
The $21.33M of cumulative signing bonus proration and the $2.56M of fully guaranteed base salary will hit the cap at some point since it is money that has either already been paid to Adams, or which must be paid to him, at some point in the future. The cap space that is potentially available to be freed up which is the core of the issue here is the non-guaranteed portions of base salary in the coming seasons, which are:
- 2023: $8.44M
- 2024: $16.5M
- 2025: $17.5M
Thus, the question for 2023 becomes whether or not the Seahawks would rather have $8.44M of cap space this season, or whether they would rather pay $8.44M in order to see how Adams recovers. Many fans are content to take the $34M of 2024 and 2025 cap space, put the $8.44M on top of it and wash their hands of Adams while looking for ways to deploy the $42.44M over the next three seasons.
However, given the Seahawks history, medical risk is not something they have shied away from. In 2020 they drafted Darrell Taylor knowing full well he had undergone an operation in late January that traditionally has a one year recovery period. In 2019 they signed Ziggy Ansah knowing that his shoulder had been surgically repaired after years of issues. In 2017 they signed Eddie Lacy coming off surgery to repair a torn deltoid ligament and Luke Joeckel coming off surgery to repair tears to his ACL, MCL and mensicus.
Those might seem like unrelated moves, but the simple fact is that they gave Joeckel an $8M contract for a single season on a $167M salary cap for the right to see if he could recover and potentially perform in 2017 and beyond. They gave Ansah a $9M contract for a single season on a $188.2M salary cap to see if he could recover and potentially perform in 2019 and beyond.
And, now, they’ve got the option to pay Jamal Adams $8.44M on a $224.8M cap for a single season to see if he can recover and potentially perform in 2023 and beyond. If his recovery is sufficient that he is able to perform at a level anywhere near All Pro, or even Pro Bowl, it’s a fantastic use of $8.44M of cap space. If he can’t perform at or near that level, they remain completely able to release him at any point prior to the 2024 season and free up $34M of 2024 and 2025 cap space.
Getting right down to the bare bones, brass tacks, insert whatever other metaphor or cliche one wishes here, the simple fact is that in spite of the hopes and wishes of so many fans, Adams will likely remain on the roster until at least 2024 training camp. At the end of the day it basically comes down to whether or not a team that is willing to pay $4M fully guaranteed to an oft-injured interior offensive lineman who will turn 28 in October and has 622 career snaps to his name is likely willing to pay $8.44M for a three-time Pro Bowl, one time First Team All-Pro safety who will turn 28 in October.
What that means is that the Adams haters likely have at least another season (and offseason) of hating left to do. Meaning the hater haters will need to keep on keeping on for just as long.