The Seahawks may be off this week, but the questions are always on — or, at least, on point.
So, on we go with a Seahawks bye-week mailbag.
@AjHarp asks: What incentive, if any, do the Seahawks have for holding onto 12m in salary (cap) availability? Does it carry over somehow?
What the questioner is referring to is that, as of Wednesday, the Seahawks are listed as having $13.3 million in salary-cap space available for the rest of the 2021 season, which is fourth most in the NFL, according to OvertheCap.com.
To answer first, yes, that money can carry over to 2022.
NFL rules stipulate that teams must spend 90% of their total combined cap over the three-year period from 2021-23.
The Seahawks are already within that for the 2021 season as it is at roughly 92%.
But it is definitely noteworthy that the Seahawks have that much left since they usually uses almost all of its cap each year.
The Seahawks, for instance, have ranked in the bottom six of all NFL teams in carry-over each of the last three seasons. Last year, they carried over just $1.4 million, less than all but two other teams (Tampa Bay and Baltimore).
Why would the Seahawks change course this year?
We’ll note first the year isn’t over. The Seahawks could still add some players via waivers who would eat into that space. Receiver DeSean Jackson cleared waivers Thursday, for instance, and maybe the Seahawks would throw a little money his way, though they obviously didn’t want to throw that much. They could have claimed Jackson and taken on his contract for the rest of the year over just over $2 million. Jackson figures to sign as a free agent for less than that.
If you really want to think big, Odell Beckham Jr. may become available. But any team claiming him would pick up a contract that includes $8.05 million of cap space this year, unless a team could work out a quick restructure of his deal to bring that down.
The Seahawks could also sign a current player to an extension with some of that space, as they did in 2014 when some cap room opened at midseason after the trade of Percy Harvin and they used some of it to re-sign Cliff Avril and K.J. Wright in December (Quandre Diggs, anyone?).
The Seahawks used a tactic this season to fit in players contractually they never have before — void years — which pushes money into future seasons.
The Seahawks have roughly $9 million committed in void years for 2022 to four players who are not under contract for that season — Diggs, Duane Brown, Gerald Everett and Ethan Pocic. Brown ($3.5 million) and Diggs ($2.525 million) each had a void year added in 2022 as part of the restructure late in training camp that ended each player’s “hold-in.”
The Seahawks added the void year to spread out their bonus over the 2021 and 2022 seasons instead of just 2021. That makes each player eligible for injury protection money of $2 million in 2022 should they suffer an injury this year that would not allow them to play anymore. Adding the void year and the injury protection was the key in getting Brown and Diggs to end their “hold-ins’’ as neither got more money or an extension.
While that opened up cap space this year, the Seahawks still have to pay that at some point down the road, and they may be considering the carry-over this year as a way to pay that off next year.
@MartinVarrelman asks: How many draft picks do the Seahawks have in the 2022 draft?
By my counting, they should have six.
The Seahawks will not have its first-round pick because of the Jamal Adams trade. Currently, that would be the 10th pick in the draft, which is not what anyone had in mind when that trade was made in July 2020, when one of the selling points is that the Seahawks were trading away what would figure to be two picks in the 20s of the first round (or, most optimistically, the 30s).
To digress for a second, the Jets also got the 23rd pick in the 2021 draft as part of the Adams deal. They used that to trade with the Vikings (giving up picks 66 and 86 while getting 143) to move up to 14 and draft guard Elijah Vera-Tucker out of USC. Vera-Tucker is having a solid rookie season, starting every game at left guard, and was ranked this week 14th of 74 left guards in the NFL by Pro Football Focus.
The Vikings used the 23rd pick to take left tackle Christian Darrisaw of Virginia Tech. Darrisaw missed the first five games of the year due to injury (he did not play against the Seahawks). He has started the last three games and has given up one sack and three pressures in 183 snaps, according to Pro Football Focus, which called him “a clear upgrade at left tackle for Minnesota” this week, noting he struggled against Dallas some on Sunday.
Back to your question, the Seahawks have their own picks in rounds two, three, four, five and seven and also has a fourth-round pick from the Jets as part of the Adams trade. They traded their sixth-round pick to Jacksonville for Sidney Jones.
The Seahawks are not projected to get any compensatory picks in 2022 for free agents lost in 2021.
As calculated by OvertheCap.com, the signings of Ahkello Witherspoon, Gerald Everett and Kerry Hyder canceled out its losses of Shaquill Griffin, David Moore and Carlos Hyde (other FA losses and signings didn’t qualify).
@Daguro asks: What’s the prognosis for Jacob Eason? Will he stick on the roster, or are the Seahawks just kicking the tires?
I think the Seahawks are intrigued by the long-term potential of Eason. And there was an indication of what they have seen out of him when he was made the backup for Sunday’s game against Jacksonville just 10 days after he had his first practice.
The Seahawks will have a decision to make once Russell Wilson comes off IR — judging by the fact Wilson has had the pin removed from his finger and already is throwing passes, could happen by the Green Bay game on Nov. 14 — of whether to keep three QBs on the 53-man roster.
One thing to note is that the ability to elevate two players off the practice squad each week, meaning teams have a 55-man roster if they want, makes it easier to keep a third QB on the 53. The Seahawks had three QBs on the 53 the first three weeks of the season with Jake Luton behind Wilson and Geno Smith.
The Seahawks have not had a young player on their roster as a developmental QB the last few years, and I think they view Eason as a player who could fit that mold and give them some options in the offseason. Remember, Smith is on a one-year contract and will be a free agent after the season.
Based on what we’ve seen so far, I expect Eason to hang around on the roster the rest of the year with an eye toward potentially being the backup next year.