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Seahawks Salary Cap Update, part III: The 2015 offense

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Part I: K.J. Wright and Cliff Avril deal structures
Part II: The 2015 defense


As a review, I have been using a $143M cap figure for 2015, which should allow about $132M for the Offense and Defense, combined (this is $143 less the money for specialists, I.R., practice squad, and dead money). In my previous post on the 2015 Defense, the defensive cap budget rounds out to around $73M.  This leaves about $59M for the offense. 

The "Defense $73M" does include Brandon Mebane, Tony McDaniel, and the projection for Bobby Wagner on a new deal, and of course - Bruce Irvin, Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, K.J. Wright, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman. That means I have ten players earning over $2M in cap (and this is not ten players earning just a bit more than $2M, either), which would be completely unsustainable under the old flat-cap era, and barely sustainable today.

Adding an 11th player on one side of the ball earning over $2M sounds ridiculous as I type this, even as the salary cap will boost beyond $150M in 2016. What I'm getting at is that this does not bode well for Byron Maxwell staying in Seattle in 2015, as I believe he will be the most valuable Free Agent to move on from Seattle in 2015, and will draw over $7M APY.

I can also see Seattle letting Jeron Johnson, Malcom Smith, O'Brien Schofield and Kevin Williams move on. I believe Jeron and Malcolm will find a market early in free agency, and they need to get the biggest paycheck they can in the NFL, any future with Seattle is essentially only on special teams. I believe the markets for Kevin Williams and O'Brien Schofield are more "late developing" markets - the type of free agents you can do a deal with post-draft. Who knows, Kevin Williams may even retire, if he gets his ring, and that would not be a bad way to go out.

The Offense is much easier to navigate, as there really are not many valuable free agents coming "due in 2015" for Seattle on that side of the ball. Let's go position by position, and here's the spreadsheet:



Russell Wilson is not a free agent in 2015, but I do believe he will get an extension that averages over $21M in APY soon. The good news for Seattle is that I believe his 2015 cap hit will be closer to $8-9M under this new deal. I believe Wilson's signing bonus will be gigantic, perhaps one of the largest ever granted, but Seattle can pro-rate this over five years (can only do five even if the contract is six-to-seven years) for cap purposes.

I would offer one more year with Tarvaris Jackson, and give him an 8% raise over his 2014 salary. I have Jackson on the books at $1.4M.


Doug Baldwin is the highest paid Seahawk WR, at a modest $4.4M in cap in 2015. If I was Seattle I would stick to a one-year tender with Jermaine Kearse (estimated at $2.3M on a 2nd round tender), but I would not negotiate a longer-term deal with Kearse like Seattle did with Baldwin. I would sign Kearse to the one year tender, draft another outside WR (perhaps Round 1-4), and try to forge a longer-term future with the Rookie WRs, Paul Richardson, and Baldwin.

I am not opposed to Jared Stanger's idea of drafting two receivers -- especially if one is a bigger body -- and the other more a punt-returner. Any additional WR would not really impact the cap, as their salary would swap out comparably to another RB/WR/TE on Year 1-4 of their rookie contract.

I really don't see the event of paying a big-time outside free agent WR (like Larry Fitzgerald) unless Marshawn Lynch chooses to retire. If Lynch did retire, it would free up about $6.5-7.0M in cap, depending on how you look at it. 

After witnessing that run Lynch tore off in Glendale, I am hoping for one more year of Lynch!


To me, Robert Turbin is role player -- not the future -- but he's worthy of a roster spot in 2015.  I think Seattle goes back to Derrick Coleman at Fullback; he provides a key role on special teams and can catch the football in the flat, plus he's the most athletic fullback on the roster by a long shot. It's also hard to part with Christine Michael, and I already said, give me one more year of Lynch!

Lynch and Turbin are both unrestricted free agents in 2016, and I am not sure if Seattle would want either of them in 2016. With 2016 in mind, I can see Seattle burning a draft pick on another runner Round 2-4 this year, and perhaps carrying five running backs in 2015 (even though they only carried 4 in 2014).

There is no rookie RB on the cap spreadsheet, but his salary would not make a net impact on the cap (and would likely replace one of the TE). 


I have Tony Moeaki on the spreadsheet at $1M, but I really don't feel strongly about that. Seattle is probably better off going into the draft at half the price, with the hope of building on a player long-term. I think Moeaki has been a nice "in-season" signing at TE, but I am not sure he is someone you want to build with. It seems like every Seahawks TE has been injured at some point this season, which had me leaning toward keeping four TE on the roster in 2015. In this week's presser, Pete Carroll admitted that they have never really replaced Zach Miller, because none of their current group can do all the things that Zach does well.  This leads me to believe Seattle will keep Miller in 2015. 

Whether you go with Moeaki or a rookie, not a big impact on the cap either way.    


Seattle has three free agents from this position group: James Carpenter, Lemuel Jeanpierre and Steven Schilling. With the emergence of Patrick Lewis, who Seattle controls in 2015 and beyond, I don't see Seattle needing Jeanpierre or Schilling on any significant contract.

The biggest free agent decision Seattle has on offense is James Carpenter. I think they could keep him for about $5M per year, and he is only 25 years old. Tom Cable really likes both J.R. Sweezy and James Carpenter. I can see Dan Quinn taking a head coaching job, but I don't think Cable or Bevell will land a top head coaching gig just yet. I think Cable will keep his guy -- Carpenter -- beyond 2014. 

Seattle should add some young talent to the OL via the Draft, even if they don't need any to start in 2015. I still think they need another C/G hybrid (even with Lewis) and another G/T depth player. 

I also believe Seattle will extend J.R. Sweezy early. 

Seattle may need to make tough call at the Left Tackle position in 2016, but I think they can ride with Okung in 2015 -- he is on the books at a modest $7.28M and is a free agent in 2016. It's a tough call for Seattle because they will be drafting late in 2015 (and probably fairly late in 2016) and it's hard to find Left Tackles late in Round 1.