The Seahawks now have six of their nine 2022 draft picks under contract after signing first-rounder Charles Cross, a league source confirmed. The signing was reported Wednesday morning by the NFL Network.
Signings of draft picks are somewhat formalities since the length of deals and overall amounts are all predetermined based on where a player is selected, as laid out in the league’s collective bargaining agreement with players.
Cross, a left tackle from Mississippi State taken ninth overall, gets a standard four-year deal worth a fully guaranteed $21.38 million with a signing bonus of $12.73 million. And it also includes a team option for a fifth year, as is standard for all first-round picks.
But items that can be negotiated include when the bonuses will be paid out and offset language (meaning, how much guaranteed money the team is responsible to play if a player gets cut during his first four years and then signs with another team).
What it also means is that Cross’ contract now goes fully onto Seattle’s salary cap. Cross’ deal comes with a cap hit for 2022 of $4.452 million, according to OvertheCap.com.
Cross’ signing comes a day before the Seahawks will get $5.1 million in cap space when the release of Carlos Dunlap becomes official. Dunlap was released in March with a post-June 1 designation and immediately became a free agent. However, had Seattle not made Dunlap a post-June 1 cut, the team would have saved only $900,000 against the cap this year. By making him a post-June 1 cut Seattle saves $5.1 million. The catch is, obviously, that money is not available for Seattle to spend until after June 1.
But as noted, the bulk of that money now available will essentially go to cover Cross’ cap hit.
Seattle also still has to sign three of its other top picks — second-rounders Boye Mafe (edge rusher) and Ken Walker III (running back) and fourth-rounder Coby Bryant (cornerback).
Mafe and Walker will carry cap hits of $1.7 million and $1.6 million when they sign (and Bryant $942,744).
So, when all the rookie signings are complete, Seattle will be back to having about the cap space it entered the day with — $12.9 million, as listed by OvertheCap.com on Wednesday morning (draft picks are listed with cap hits of $705,000 until they sign).
But Seattle could also potentially use some of that space to sign receiver DK Metcalf to an extension (depending on how the contract is structured, though, it might not create a hit on this year’s cap) and also needs to save money for things such as the injured reserve list and practice squad.
Cross has been working with the starting unit at left tackle during the team’s offseason program, drafted with the expectation he will step right in to replace veteran Duane Brown, who was not re-signed as a free agent and remains unsigned.
Cross, who doesn’t turn 22 until Nov. 25, decided to serve as his own agent, the highest-drafted player to do so, saying he would get advice from his business manager, Saint Omni.
“I decided to better myself,” Cross said of serving as his own agent. “Better myself to save some money in the long run.”