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Details of the Uchenna Nwosu contract extension

The Seahawks have spent three second round picks on outside linebackers in the past three years, but the top player for them at the position came via a free agent signing.

NFL: DEC 04 Seahawks at Rams Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks have not had a member of the team reach double digits in sacks since Frank Clark recorded 13.0 sacks in 2018 ahead of being traded to the Kansas City Chiefs for draft picks. Jamal Adams came close in 2020 recording 9.5 sacks, with Darrell Taylor and Uchenna Nwosu also reaching 9.5 sacks apiece during the 2022 campaign.

There are several names who could potentially reach that threshold during the 2023 season, including multiple recent second round selections of the Seahawks, such as:

  • Darrell Taylor (2.48 in 2020)
  • Boye Mafe (2.40 in 2022)
  • Derick Hall (2.37 in 2023)

However, the leading contender among the outside linebackers might be Uchenna Nwosu, who himself was selected in the second round at 48th overall by the Los Angeles Chargers in 2018, and who recently inked a lucrative contract extension with Seattle. The new deal ties Nwosu to the Seahawks through the 2026 season, and gives the Hawks an experienced leader both on and off the field to mentor the youngsters as they develop in the coming years.

As for the terms of the contract itself, the three years added are on top of the 2023 season for which Nwosu was already under contract, but which increased the amount Nwosu will make in 2023 while reducing his cap hit. Nwosu had been set to carry a cap hit of $13.1M in 2023 while earning a base salary of $7.5M, but, as noted, the new contract alters those numbers.

Thus, rather than earning the $7.5M base salary, Nwosu will have a $1.6M salary, which comes on top of the $15M signing bonus he receives. In addition, he will have a veteran minimum base salary of $1.125M in 2024 as well, but is set to earn the $8.275M option bonus in the spring. Both the option bonus and his 2024 base salary are effectively fully guaranteed, meaning that they as of right now they are only guaranteed for injury. However, as the team does with the majority of its significant contract, the Friday after the Super Bowl in February 2024 those guarantees will vest into full guarantees.

In 2025 and 2026 Nwosu has base salaries of $14.48M and $11M, respectively, with $510k per year available in per game roster bonuses.

Putting all that together, the cap hits for the contract are as follows:

  • 2023: $10.1M ($1.6M base, $8.5M signing bonus proration ($4.75M from 2022 contract, $3.75M from 2023 extension)
  • 2024: $8,143,333 ($1.125M base, $3.75M signing bonus proration, $2,758,333 option bonus proration)
  • 2025: $21,498,333 ($14.48M base, $3.75M signing bonus proration, $2,758,333 option bonus proration)
  • 2026: $16,018,334 ($11.0M base, $3.75M signing bonus proration, $2,758,334 option bonus proration)

One topic that has been discussed in recent days, especially in light of the pair of days for which first round pick Devon Witherspoon held out, is the payout structure of signing bonuses. And thanks to a report from Aaron Wilson of KPRC2, we know the timing of the payout structure for Nwosu’s signing bonus.

So, the $15M signing bonus is set to be paid out in three equal installments, including:

  • $5M by Tuesday, August 8, 2023
  • $5M by Friday, September 15, 2023 and
  • $5M by Monday, April 1, 2024

While those dates may seem somewhat random to a casual observer, they are fairly standard dates when it comes to payout dates in the NFL for cash flow reasons. The first payment is two weeks after the extension became official on Tuesday, July 25. Even though the Seahawks announced the extension late on Monday, because it came after 4 PM New York time, it was not processed by the league office and official until the following day.

As for the second payment, teams receive their payment for the television contracts after the Week 1 games are played, which makes the second signing bonus being due days after that payment is received very understandable. Lastly, the third installment is due in the spring, shortly after the start of the 2024 NFL League Year on March 13, 2024. The spring is when teams receive their financial allocation from the revenue sharing agreement, and explains why so many option, roster and signing bonus payouts are scheduled for this time.

In any case, Nwosu is now under contract with the Seahawks through the 2026 season, and in spite of already having five years of experience in the NFL, this contract will keep him in Seattle through his age 30 season, when he will leave his 20s just weeks before playing his final came on this contract.