The Seahawks haven't made a roster move since Jan. 3, but the team has some key decisions on the futures of Kam Chancellor and Michael Bennett looming.
The Seahawks haven’t made a player personnel move of any kind since Jan. 3, when they locked up most of their practice squad from last year on futures deals and also signed free agent kicker Jason Myers.
But that rare 35-day span of inactivity is about to end as the Seahawks are facing decisions regarding some of their key players in coming days.
Here’s a look at some of the dates coming up and the players who could be impacted by them.
FRIDAY: Four key Seahawks players have some or all of their 2018 base salaries guaranteed if they remain on the roster on Friday — Kam Chancellor, Doug Baldwin, Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson.
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In the case of Baldwin, Wagner and Wilson there is no drama. Each will obviously be part of the team in 2018 and merely will find out on Friday that they are assured of a little more money coming in. Baldwin has $4.5 million of his $8.25 million salary guaranteed on Friday. Wagner has $2 million of his $10 million guaranteed on Friday and Wilson $4.9 million of his $15.5 million.
For Chancellor, all of his $6.8 million salary is guaranteed if he remains on the roster as of Friday.
As has been discussed in detail of late, Chancellor’s salary is also guaranteed for injury, which is why it is unlikely he will be released or retire even if he may never play again due to a neck injury suffered on Nov. 9 against Arizona (there are salary cap implications explained here).
But if the Seahawks and Chancellor have been working on something behind the scenes, maybe that would become evident Friday.
Conventional wisdom remains, though, that nothing will happen with Chancellor on Friday.
Joel Corry, a former NFL agent who now writes about league financial issues for CBSSports.com and other sites, reiterated Thursday morning during an interview with John Clayton on ESPN 710 Seattle that because Chancellor’s 2018 salary is guaranteed for injury, Seattle’s best move from a salary cap standpoint is to keep Chancellor on the roster for now and let things play out.
“You’re better off having him (on the roster) in 2018 and see if he can pass a physical next year you would not be responsible for the $5.2 million (Chancellor’s base salary in 2019) and could cut him next year,’’ Corry said.
Also, center Justin Britt’s base salary of $2.75 million in 2018 becomes fully guaranteed on Friday (more on Britt below).
MARCH 14-18 — During this five-day period — which is the first five days of the new league year — Seattle can exercise a $5 million option bonus on center Justin Britt, as part of a contract he signed prior to last season which also then assures that his contract runs through the 2020 season (as ESPN’s Brady Henderson noted this week, not picking up the option would void the 2020 season, but not 2019, as had been reported earlier).
Corry says he thinks there is no question the Seahawks will pick up the option as it will reduce the cap hit on Britt for the 2018 season from $7.75 million to $2.75 million.
“It was designed so that they have to exercise that option,’’ Corry said Thursday on ESPN 710 Seattle. “There’s no way he’s getting cut.’’
MARCH 18 — Michael Bennett has a reported roster bonus of $5 million due on this date. So if Bennett were to be released or traded, this would be a logical time for it to happen by (though if he weren’t it wouldn’t rule out that things could happen later as a post-June 1 cut of Bennett could increase Seattle’s cap savings in 2018 from $2.1 million to $5.6 million).
Corry, though, notes the three-year, $29 million contract extension Seattle gave Bennett that took effect last season and says he thinks it makes no real financial sense for the Seahawks to cut Bennett this year.
“You’d basically be giving him $8.5 million he would not have made had you let that other one play out and expire on its own terms,’’ said Corry of Bennett, who would have become a free agent this spring had that contract not been signed.
If Seattle were to trade or release Bennett by March 18 would save $2.1 million in cap space while still taking a dead cap hit of $5.2 million.