Cornerback Jeremy Lane and five other Seahawks saw their base salaries for their 2017 season become guaranteed on Saturday.
Friday turning into Saturday was quietly important for a few Seahawks players as it meant that the base salaries of their contracts for the 2017 season became guaranteed.
Six Seahawks players, in fact, had it written into their contracts that their base salaries for next year became guaranteed if they were on the roster five days after the Super Bowl.
As Joel Corry of CBSSports.com detailed last week, the Seahawks whose base salaries became guaranteed Saturday were: Russell Wilson ($12.6 million), Richard Sherman ($11.431 million), wide receiver Doug Baldwin ($7.75 million), linebacker Bobby Wagner ($4 million) and cornerback Jeremy Lane ($4 million). Also, as Corry explained, “defensive end Michael Bennett’s $6.5 million 2017 base salary also becomes fully guaranteed. It will reduce to $6 million if the Seahawks commit to making the necessary $500,000 payment to exercise an option for Bennett’s 2020 contract year. This can be done as early as the first day of the 2017 league year but no later than the fifth day (March 13). All of these respective salaries of the players were guaranteed for injury at signing.”
Of the above players, the only one about whom there might have been some intrigue is Lane, who signed a four-year deal worth a total of $23 million last off-season but then turned in a year that drew a somewhat lackluster review from coach Pete Carroll during his season-ending news conference.
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“Jeremy played a lot of football this year,” Carroll said of Lane, who did not have an interception and had just three pass defenses in 2016. “He was in the middle of a lot. He battled. I always want him to tackle better. I thought he missed some chances in his tackling. He competed his tail off. He was in a lot of hot spots over throughout the years and when he had to jump outside for us he did a nice job for us.”
Lane was generally projected as Seattle’s other starting cornerback when training camp began. But DeShawn Shead instead won the right cornerback spot with Lane moved to the nickelback spot. That’s a significant role as Seattle was in the nickel roughly 70 percent of the time this season though not necessarily a role that goes to a team’s second-highest paid cornerback.
Any thought that the team might jettison Lane, though, likely went totally out the window when Shead suffered a torn ACL in the divisional playoff loss at Atlanta, putting into question his availability for the start of the 2017 season. That could have Lane back in line to be the other starting corner in 2017, though the Seahawks will undoubtedly look to add players at corner via the draft and/or free agency.
Lane’s contract also made it unlikely he wouldn’t be back as it includes a dead cap number for 2017 of $7.75 million with a cap hit of $5.25 million.
One other Seahawk who has a deadline in the contract upcoming is tight end Jimmy Graham, who is due a $2 million roster bonus on March 11, which is two days after the new league year (and free agency) begins on March 9.