Turns out Quandre Diggs’ “hold in” got him a little something extra, too. In the process, the Seahawks found a way to get more cap space.
Diggs, the Seahawks’ starting free safety, didn’t take part in on-field practices for roughly two weeks before returning this week. Like left tackle Duane Brown, Diggs didn’t get the extension he might have wanted, he did get a little enhancement for this season.
He essentially got what Brown got — turning bonus into salary for this season, guaranteeing he will get the money, and having a void year added, which means he will qualify for injury protection for the 2022 season if he is deemed unable to play due to injury. He could get as much as $2 million if he cannot play next year.
Specifically, according to ESPN, the Seahawks converted $100,000 of his per-game roster bonus into salary and turned his $5.05 million salary into a signing bonus — meaning he gets the money immediately instead of spread over the season. The void year means Seattle can spread the bonus over this year and 2022 on the salary cap, decreasing the cap hit by $2.525 million this year while adding a $2.525 million cap hit in 2022.
Seattle did essentially the same thing with Brown this week, adding a void year to add injury protection and spread out a $7 million bonus.
Void years are dummy years put into contracts solely to spread the bonus and cap hit. They became increasingly common this year as teams tried to navigate a salary cap that was about $30 million lower than anticipated due to losses in revenue due to COVID-19
Diggs is now the ninth contract to which Seattle has used void years to postpone cap hits to either the 2022 or 2023, or both, to create space for this year and push it into seasons when the cap should be higher.
Like Brown, Diggs — who turns 29 in January — will become a free agent after the 2022 season, Seattle preferring to take a wait-and-see attitude and talk to him after this season.
With the adjusted contracts of Brown and Diggs accounted for, Seattle was listed at $11.6 million in cap space for the 2021 season, according to OvertheCap.com.
That gives Seattle more money to account for things such as the practice squad and injured reserve the rest of the season and added flexibility to potentially make more moves during the regular season.
The Seahawks had veteran defensive tackle Geno Atkins in for a visit in August, and he has yet to sign. One reason could be that after the first game his contract would no longer have to be guaranteed. Adding cap space might make it a little easier to go after a player such as Atkins.
As for Diggs, he is now assured of becoming a free agent after this season, one of 16 Seahawks who can become unrestricted free agents after this year.
That list not only now includes Brown but also tight ends Gerald Everett and Will Dissly, cornerbacks Tre Flowers and D.J. Reed and defensive end Rasheem Green.
Diggs helped immediately solidify Seattle’s secondary after he was acquired in a trade from Detroit in October 2019.
But the Seahawks also have two young safeties in Marquise Blair and Ugo Amadi and could view either, or both, as potential replacements.