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Seahawks salary cap breakdown 2014: Golden Tate, Michael Bennett and more to consider

The Seattle Seahawks do not have much cap space in 2014, but they have several ways to clear out significant space. Of course, with several players up for new deals, that space will fill up shortly.

Stephen Brashear

This week, we've been taking a swing around the NFC West, breaking down the salary cap situations for each team. None of the four teams has ideal salary cap space, but they each have ways they can clear some space. Yesterday, we discussed the St. Louis Rams, and the day before we broke down the Arizona Cardinals.

We'll continue breaking down the 49ers salary cap all offseason, but it's fitting that our NFC West rundown will wrap up with the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks head into the offseason with several important players up for free agency, and a few long-term contract questions to figure out. I'm guessing most Seahawks fans can live with it coming off the Super Bowl, but the front office will still be plenty busy.

On February 3, Over The Cap reported the Seahawks had $2,201,197 in cap space. The Seahawks have several options for clearing up cap space to sign their draft picks, and sign some of their free agents. First, here is a rundown of the top ten cap hits in 2014, per Over The Cap:

1. WR Percy Harvin - $13,400,000
2. OT Russell Okung - $11,240,000
3. WR Sidney Rice - $9,700,000
4. DE Chris Clemons - $9,666,668
5. DE Cliff Avril - $9,250,000
6. DE Red Bryant - $8,500,000
7. TE Zach Miller - $7,000,000
8. RB Marshawn Lynch - $7,000,000
9. C Max Unger - $6,100,000
10. SS Kam Chancellor - $5,825,000

Two of their most notable free agents in 2014 are wide receiver Golden Tate and defensive end Michael Bennett. Two days after the Super Bowl, Tate said he would consider taking less money to be happy and win games than take "way more" and go to a "crappy city where the fans don't give a crap about the team." Two days after that, he clarified his comments, stating he still has to take care of his family. He mentioned having numbers in mind, and would see what the Seahawks had in mind.

In a recent interview, Michael Bennett said he was looking to get paid something commensurate with some of the top guys at his position. The Seahawks reportedly are set to make re-signing Bennett a priority, but we'll see where negotiations take this situation.

The other two moves of note that could happen are contract extensions for free safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman. The team reportedly has Thomas as the priority, while Sherman could continue playing on his 2011 rookie deal. At some point Sherman is going to cash in big time, but for now he is going to have to stick with his rookie deal. If the Seahawks do get him extended along with Thomas, that will be three of their four secondary members making some serious coin.

The Seahawks do not have a ton of cap room, but as Field Gulls pointed out, the team has several opportunities to open up some space. Sidney Rice seems like a very logical cut candidate, while Red Bryant and Chris Clemons also make sense for either releases or pay cuts. The team could try and re-do Percy Harvin's deal, but with large base salaries each of the remaining seasons, I don't know how smart that kind of move would be. The other option is figuring something out with Zach Miller. He has been solid for them, but top-ten tight end money?

Here is a rundown of the Seahawks free agents:

Tarvaris Jackson, QB
Michael Robinson, FB
Arceto Clark, WR
Golden Tate, WR
Bryan Walters, WR
Kellen Davis, TE
Anthony McCoy, TE
Breno Giacomini, OL
Paul McQuistan, OL
Jason Spitz, OL
Michael Bennett, DE
Chris Baker, DT
Tony McDaniel, DT
Clinton McDonald, DT
O'Brien Schofield, LB
Walter Thurmond III, CB
Chris Maragos, S
Steven Hauschka, K