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Russell Wilson signs: The Seahawks' salary cap for 2015

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A quick-and-dirty (estimated) rundown of where we stand.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Recalucating with Wilson's Deal

Wilson's $31M signing bonus adds a $31M prorated charge to 2015 (divided by five that's an additional $6.2M to the cap per year). According to OverTheCap, Seattle had (before the Wilson extension) $9,371,685 in cap space.

The updated 2015 cap space would therefore be $3,171,685.

Stufr reports that Ian Rapoport reports a little more jiggling that lowers Wilson's base salary in 2015 to $700K. It was previously set to be $1,542,000, so that shaves $842K, for an updated cap space of:

$4,013,685

Basic (Pessimistic) Projection Following Preseason

At the moment, cap calculations are based on Top 51 players (the cutoff is nicely shown on the Seahawks page of OverTheCap).

But after rosters are cut down to 53, everybody counts. If we assume a worst-case scenario (in terms of expense), Seattle will probably start two players on PUP/IR, with 53 on the active roster, and expanding to our 55 most-expensive players adds $2,040,000, for an updated cap space of:

$1,973,685

A Soup of Other Scenarios

More likely, at least a few of the players who don't make the 53-man roster will come out of the top 51. Each such cut would remove some portion of that player's cap charge, and then add $435K - $500K for the player that replaces him.

Here is a list of some players in the top 51, and their gross (and estimated net) cap savings from a post-June 1 cut or from a trade:

DT Brandon Mebane $5.5M ($5M)
DT Tony McDaniel $3M ($2.5M)
WR Jermaine Kearse $2.356M ($1.86M)
DT Ahtyba Rubin $1.6M ($1.1M)
LB Michael Morgan $850K ($350K)
LS Clint Gresham $745K cut only ($245K)
DE Cliff Avril $0 for a cut, $6M ($5.5M) for a trade

Margin for IR, money for practice squad, and Bobby Wagner

The Seahawks will want to have about $4M available to get minimum-salary replacements for players who go to IR during the season, and another $1M or so for the practice squad, which means we are currently $3M short of the safe range.

Bobby Wagner could be signed for as little as $2M in additional 2015 cap charges. That would give him a $10M signing bonus to go buy stuff right now, and the rest of the guarantees/total money needed to make up a satisfactory contract can be pushed forward. So we're about $5M short of being able to make that happen.

Let's assume the Seahawks and Wagner have already agreed, in principle, on a fair deal. I suspect that John Schneider and co. warned Wagner about the possibility of delay pending a new contract for Wilson, and the word to Wagner now is that he'll have to wait at least until a few weeks of preseason have revealed a possible strategy.

Seattle has a bunch of defensive linemen returning from IR and a lot of potential in young receivers. They will probably be evaluating these two groups throughout training camp and the preseason to find the necessary cap-friendly cut. In a way, Kearse is competing with Mebane, McDaniel, and Rubin to see who makes the roster. If everyone looks great, any of those players could be traded for the same cap savings.

Lastly, nobody wants to lose a player as good as Avril. But if Frank Clark has a great preseason, Avril has very little dead money in the event of a trade, and such a move would not only provide the necessary cap room for 2015 but significant relief going forward.