Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Seahawks Contract and Salary Cap Update

by: Michael Steffes

Just because I am sure that I am not the only one out there interested in this stuff, I thought I would provide a little write up on the Seahawks' cap situation. Some recent info has come to light that allows us to make a fair assessment of the situation.

Mike Sando reports that Ken Lucas agreed to a one year, $2.3 million dollar deal. I am guessing that Justin Griffith signed for one year at the veteran minimum which is $810,000, although Sando mentions that the contract is for less than $700,000. My belief is that a player with the service time of Griffith gets the 810,000 minimum, but as an effort to keep veterans employed the league has a cap rule that allows the contract to only count $425,000 against the cap as long as the player doesn't get more than $50K in bonuses. Hope you can follow that.

The other piece of news is that the rookie pool figures have been released. The Seahawks is $5,192,801. We can call it $5.2K. The way the rookie pool works is that the team can not have cap charges associated with their rookie class that exceed this number in 2009. The way the agents and top 10 players get the big money is usually in the form of a signing bonus that amortizes over the life of the contract. Thus only 1/5 of the bonus counts this year. This is usually followed by large roster bonuses in year two and three.

So if we look at the Seahawks' cap situation, which was reported on April 22 by Mike Florio, we can get an accurate read on what the team has left. On the 22nd, the Hawks had $7.41 million left. When the team removed the franchise tag from Leroy Hill, the team gained $8.3 million. That would place them at $15.74 million.

Taking that figure and subtracting the Lucas and Griffith deals along with what the rookies will get, the Hawks only have approximately $7.82 in space remaining. The team always leaves around $5 million dollars for use throughout the season to sign players as injury replacements, or to make trades, or to extend players' contracts before they hit free agency. With only $7.82M remaining, they have almost no wiggle room to work a deal with Leroy Hill.

The question that could be asked is, do the Hawks really want to do a long term deal with Hill? The money would suggest they don't. They could always rework contracts or release a player or two who are taking up cap space. Olindo Mare would be a possibility for release, as he counts nearly $2 million against the cap and the team already has his replacement on the roster. Either way though, the Hawks don't appear ready to break the bank to bring back Leroy. It will be interesting to see how the negotiations progress.

This does, however, show pretty effectively why the team had to remove the tag to make moves like signing Lucas and Griffith. The were, and now still are, working with very little cap flexibility. And in the long run the may lose a talented young linebacker, although judging by these numbers that may have been the plan all along. If Hill does sign somewhere else, the Hawks are likely to get a compensatory draft pick for him, one that could perhaps be used on a linebacker in next year's draft.

Mini Seahawks Cap Breakdown

Pre-Draft Cap # $7.41
Franchise Tag $8.30
Available Amount $15.74

subtract Ken Lucas $2.30
subtract Justin Griffith $0.42
Rookie Pool $5.20
Total Subtraction $7.92

Total remaining $7.82