Evaluating Seattle's Salary Cap Situation After a Week of Free Agency
If you're a fan of the Seattle Seahawks, you have to be quite pleased with the moves that they have made over the course of the past week. Trading for Percy Harvin now gives Russell Wilson one of the most explosive pass-catching targets in the NFL. Signing Cliff Avril gives Dan Quinn an every-down player at left defensive end, and locking up Michael Bennett adds yet another dimension to Travis Jones' defensive line.
At first glance, all three moves were bound to cost the Seahawks a great deal of money. But after digging into the contracts of the newly-signed players, Seattle came away quite nicely on two of the three deals.
Everyone expected Harvin to receive a fat payday because there was a stipulation in the trade that he would receive a new deal. Many also expected the same for two of the top pass-rushers on the market, yet that wasn't the case at all.
Avril signed a two-year, $13 million deal that included $6 million guaranteed, while Bennett agreed to a one-year, $4.8 million deal that included a $1.5 million signing bonus. In total, both players only account for $8.55 million against the cap in 2013, ultimately leaving John Schneider and Co. with $8,361,169 of available cap room from now until next February.
However, let's not forget that the average draft class costs around $5 million under the NFL's new collective bargaining agreement.
But given the state of Seattle's draft selections after the Harvin trade, it appears as if $3 million will allow the 'Hawks to get all of their picks signed. Good news for a team that would possibly like to make a couple of more additions during the second wave of free agency.
It has been reported that they had interest in defensive tackle Vance Walker (per Levi Damien of SB Nation) before he signed with the Raiders. This leads me to believe that they would still like to bring back Alan Branch at the right price.
Even though Branch had a bit of a down year in 2012 after a rock-solid 2011, the fit would be ideal. He already knows the Seahawks' system inside and out, and his market value is low right now due to age and this year's deep draft class amongst the defensive line.
Two other positions that the Seahawks may continue to add depth at is left tackle and kicker. Currently, Russell Okung is the only left tackle on the roster—not to mention the team is just carrying two other tackles, right tackles Breno Giacomini and Mike Person.
Giacomini has had problems of his own in terms of penalties and as a run blocker, so it wouldn't surprise me if they brought in someone to challenge him. Whether that's during free agency or the draft remains to be seen.
There has also been little to no word on free-agent Steven Hauschka. As it sits right now, Carson Wiggs is the only kicker on the roster. He recently signed a three-year deal valued at $1.485 million, therefore signaling an opportunity to at least audition for the starting job.
Yet I wouldn't expect Coach Carroll to just hand him the starting job. Phil Dawson and Lawrence Tynes are two of the top free-agent names still available, and both players would provide Wiggs with ample competition.
With the second week of free agency kicking off today, look for Seattle to focus on depth and value the rest of the way.
All salary cap information was collected from Spotrac.
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