The Seattle Seahawks have arrived in New Jersey for Super Bowl XLVIII, where they'll be facing off against the Denver Broncos this Sunday. Most of us are happy to ignore the build-up to the Super Bowl, but I figured I could at least use it as an excuse to take a look at the salary cap situation of the 49er biggest rival.
First and foremost, here is a rundown of the Seahawks free agents later this offseason. They are broken up by position group. After each player is their base salary/cap figure from the 2013 season. All numbers come courtesy of Over the Cap.
Tarvaris Jackson, QB - $840,000
Michael Robinson, FB - $840,000/$326,471
Michael Bennett, DE - $3,000,000/$4,800,000
O'Brien Schofield, LB - $630,000/$900,000
Walter Thurmond, CB - $630,000/$607,640
Chris Maragos, S - $700,000/$955,000
Steven Hauschka, K - $715,000/$620,000
If you want a thorough run-down of the Seahawks salary cap situation, Davis Hsu put together a great three-part series over at Field Gulls. Part 1 broke down the potential implications of the practice squad, special teams players and hypothetical injured players. Part 2 took a look at the offensive side of the ball. Part 3 took a look at the defensive side of the ball.
As I understand it, the Seahawks have a couple million in space after they roll over remaining 2013 space. They will have to clear out some space one way or another. They will re-do some deals, and they will release some veterans. In the Field Gulls article, they break down several of the players that could be shown the door. They include guys like Sidney Rice, Chris Clemons, Brandon Mebane and more.
Whatever they do, the Seahawks have plenty of issues to address this offseason and beyond. On the offensive side of the ball, wide receiver is a position that requires some work. Golden Tate will be due a significant raise, while Doug Baldwin likely can be retained another year at a relatively inexpensive tender price. The wide receiver position is one with a lot of money coming due, but they do have some maneuverability. Sidney Rice has a 2014 cap figure of $9.7 million. If the team releases him, it appears they could save $7.3 million. I have to think they make that move, and then try and add some wide receiver talent in the draft.
It gets a little more interesting in the secondary. The big name that will be on everyone's mind is Richard Sherman. He is an interception machine, and as a fifth round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, he is now eligible for a contract extension. He is signed through 2014, with a final year base salary of $1,389,000 (cap figure of $1,434,606). He will cash in big at some point, but will it be this offseason, or next offseason?
Alongside Sherman, the Seahawks have a pair of other members of the secondary hitting their walk year. The big name is Earl Thomas. The Seahawks free safety was drafted in 2010, and is entering the final year of his rookie deal. He will earn $4,625,000 this season, finishing off the last of the big rookie deals prior to the current CBA. The Seahawks already signed strong safety Kam Chancellor to a long-term extension last offseason, so maybe they take care of their other safety this offseason.
Cornerback Byron Maxwell joins Sherman as 2011 picks entering their walk year. Maxwell saw his snaps take a big uptick starting in Week 10 when Brandon Browner injured his groin. Maxwell ran with the starting role starting in Week 13. He is not quite in line for a big extension, but maybe the Seahawks try and extend him at a more reasonable price before he gets a full solid season under his belt.
They also have K.J. Wright entering the final year of his rookie contract. He's been solid for the Seahawks, and will be in line for a decent little contract extension. He is another guy where maybe the Seahawks try and extend him at a decent rate before he finishes his walk year.
I highly recommend checking out those Field Gulls articles, as they provide some detail on why certain guys could face a release over others. They potentially face decisions with regard to their three-headed rotation of Cliff Avril, Chris Clemons and Michael Bennett. They also might need to make a decision between Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane.
They face quite a few questions on the defensive side of the ball. They'll eventually have to pay Russell Wilson, but that decision will be delayed at least a year since he cannot renegotiate yet. For now, they are approaching the point of having to pay the piper on the defensive side of the ball.
One last time, make sure and give Davis Hsu's 3-part series a read over at Field Gulls: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. Additionally, Chase Stuart put together an interesting article over at Football Perspective in which he graphed out cap space versus production. He placed salary on the X-axis (horizontal), and PFF grades on the Y-axis (vertical). Whether you like PFF grades or not, it's helpful enough to make the comparison of production vs. salary.
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