By Shannon Sanchez //@ShannonSanchez3
It has been several weeks since the Seahawks have made any news. At that time, the notable changes came by way of coaching personnel, but since then it has been quiet.
After this season was over, there was a lot of questions about key player decisions. Looking at the needs of the roster and the amount of cap room ($14,123,861 per overthecap.com), clearing up some cap space is needed. But where will it come from?
One of the options, strong safety Kam Chancellor’s future with the team, was answered already. The Seahawks allowed the Feb 9th roster deadline to come and go thereby guaranteeing his contract extension for 2018. The 3-year extension was signed in August 2017 before the regular season began. It included an injury clause that guaranteed his base salary.
Unless he chooses to retire, which it seems he plans to play, the Seahawks will have to pay his base salary of $5.2 million which will go against the cap space. At the time it was signed many critics thought it would hamstring the organization. In hindsight, that may have occurred.
Defensive end Cliff Avril will most likely be cut after a season-ending neck injury in November. That will free up $7.1 million in cap room, although having Avril in the middle of the line is desirable to the cap room. Defensive back Jeremy Lane is expected to be cut from the team, especially since they tried to trade him in a deal with Houston for tackle Duane Brown. Defensive end Michael Bennett is predicting that he won’t be back with the team next year. If his predictions are true, $3.2 million dollars will be freed as well.
Cornerback Richard Sherman is a tougher guess. There are rumors about trade considerations, as well as Sherman acting as his own agent. Experts like ESPN radio host John Clayton believes he will stay in Seattle after all. If he is traded, it will free up $11.2 million. But will that amount of free cap room be tantalizing enough to cut or trade Sherman?
Other than the Achilles injury he sustained this year, Sherman has been very healthy. On the other hand, will the rumors that swirled around him last year come into play? Is there tension in the locker room and with the front office? Even with the questions around him, having him in a Seahawks uniform for a few more years would be a better option than trading or releasing him for cap space.
Safety Earl Thomas is also due for another contract and has stated that he will hold out if he doesn’t get a contract extension before next season. This might be the most interesting contract negotiation to watch considering the personality of Thomas, and the resistance that the Seahawks have shown in the past when players have tried to force their hand. If the player and franchise reach an impasse, the team will free up $8.5 million without Thomas. But once again, weighing the cap room against a proven player is a tough call.
What is the last thought but most intriguing is quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson is not due for a contract extension for two more years. But with other quarterbacks getting new contracts, like San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo making $27 million per year, the contracts are only going to go up.
Wilson’s current contract has him with $23.7 in cap space. If a contract is renegotiated now, there could be some room the cap space. This is a move that gives the franchise help but it would have to be structured so that it is equally beneficial for Wilson. As it looks now, it would only be favorable for Wilson to wait another year before he begins negotiations as the standard around the league will continue to rise.
As the combine approaches, the team will inevitably start making moves toward the future. The roster will change as is typical in the NFL. But how much change will be decided in a much slower process than most fans desire?
Talk Seahawks with Shannon on Twitter @ShannonSanchez3