Future Seahawks’ spending tied to NFL talks

June 2nd, 2020 | Written by Rob Staton

With the Seahawks still needing to add players before the season begins, the financial future of the league is worth keeping an eye on.

NFL.com has published an article highlighting the implications of coronavirus.

Under the terms of the CBA, the salary cap is tied to league growth. With the NFL facing a loss of revenue just like every other sport, there’s an issue to address:

Currently, the league and NFLPA are studying how the revenue could be affected and what the sure-fire losses will look like. That’s one reason why there have been barely any contract extensions and few free agents have been signed after the initial free agency period.

The goal is to make sure the salary cap goes up or at worst stays flat. But what if that’s not possible?

The language used in an article published on the NFL’s own website is encouraging. While other sports face crippling financial issues, the extent of the NFL’s problem seems to be whether or not the salary cap merely stays the same in 2021.

There’s a lot of positive talk about the league starting on time. They’ve already published a full schedule for the 2020 season. Mike Florio — who was outspoken in his opposition to free agency and the draft continuing as normal, posted a piece a month ago claiming the season would take place.

He even suggested the following:

As to the stadiums, it’s also believed that they will be open to fans, with a strong preference for open stadiums from Week One.

Revenue will be lost if the league has to be played behind closed doors or with a restricted attendance. Nobody knows for sure where we’ll be in September. Yet there appears to at least be optimism that some fans can attend games.

If there is a loss of revenue however, the NFL seems to have a plan in place:

Among the possibilities for how to smooth the cap out given expected losses is borrowing from future TV deals. New deals usually create a spike in the cap due to influx of cash, but in this case could be used to create a smooth incline and make up for losses incurred during the 2020 season. The league and the NFLPA could also agree to curtail or eliminate performance-based pay for a few years.

But some have proposed looking at the present, instead of the future, for relief. And this will require cooperation between the NFL and NFLPA.

The players’ union would have to agree to give back some money this year, thus taking on some pain in the short term to offset more in the long term. With roster bonuses, workout bonuses, option bonuses and signing bonuses already paid in the spring, the trim would likely come from the players’ base salaries, which are paid in weekly installments during the season. It’s unclear at this point, with negotiations not even underway, how big of a cut the league would request and what kind of structure the players would accept for the giveback.

The timeline for a plan to be firmed up is training camp. Whether the league borrows from the future or gives some back from the present, there’s a realistic prospect the cap will — at the very least — stay where it is for 2021.

That’s a good thing for the Seahawks if they want to make any further additions this year. They’re down to about $5-6 million in true cap space and will need to borrow from the future to make the kind of sizeable improvement to the D-line most people accept is still required.

According to Overthecap, the Seahawks are in the second tier of ‘cap health’ for 2021. They have a lot of money available in the future and they might need to use it.

Unfortunately, you’re not likely to see much action until a resolution is reached.

Jason La Canfora notes the following:

No one I spoke to expects things to change in terms of spending habits until there is more clarity about what the 2020 season will actually look like. Wallets have largely been abandoned indefinitely in NFL front offices. Sure, things might still work out well for Dak Prescott and Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson – but they are extremes as generational QB talents with significant leverage. They are not the rule, and for guards like Brendan Scherff or Joe Thuney, who were sitting on $16M tenders, they were smart to sign that bad boy a while back.

Assuming they hold out hope of signing reasonable contracts, the likes of Jadeveon Clowney and Everson Griffen are unlikely to be signed until the league really knows where it’s at.

On Clowney, La Canfora had this interesting nugget about his recently reported ‘mega offer’ from the Browns (that he rejected):

The word throughout the agent community is that the reportedly “super lucrative” deal he turned down from the Cleveland Browns would have been worth $12M at its base. That’s a far cry from the over $20M a year Clowney initially wanted on a long-term deal. It’s also well below the $16.8M franchise tag that fellow edge defender Matthew Judon just signed with the Ravens last week. It’s not even close, actually.

If his best offer really was $12m a year, that’s pretty incredible. It also justifies Clowney’s stance on not signing with anyone. It would make him the 20th best paid defensive lineman (and that’s not including the outside linebacker types). He’d be on a par with Justin Houston. It’s five million a year less than Olivier Vernon.

You could argue the injuries limit his value. Which is understandable for every team other than the Seahawks. They presumably gave him a medical when the trade was completed a year ago. They also had access to his medical information throughout the season.

With all of this knowledge, they still referred to him (several times) as a high priority.

If they didn’t offer more than $12m a year, considering the amount they’ve paid for other players this off-season, that would be extremely surprising. It would be nice to know definitively what their best offer was. Because how they’ve handled dealing with the pass rush dilemma this off-season is one of the more confusing situations of the Carroll/Schneider era.

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85 Responses to “Future Seahawks’ spending tied to NFL talks”

  1. Ross says:

    Without knowing the signing bonus, we can’t know what the actual offer was, so we can’t really make infer much about how much Clowney is turning down. Am I missing something?

    • Rob Staton says:

      If you’re referring to La Canfora’s reference to $12m, I took that as $12m per year (potentially with add ons but essentially $12 at its core). Otherwise he would’ve just listed the full amount. So I think it’s more than fair to infer based on that information.

      • Donny Henson says:

        If Clowney did get the 17 mil avg offer from Miami at the beginning of free agency, I bet he is hitting his head on the wall really hard.

        • Rob Staton says:

          Some people aren’t motivated purely by money.

          • Donny Henson says:

            You’re right probably because he would have to play as a 34LB, which he isnt interested in doing. So pretty much Clowney is getting offered 8-12 million avg to play a 43DE.

            • Rob Staton says:

              It’s also about culture and history of winning.

              Clowney has more money than he’ll ever need. It’s perfectly understandable for someone like him to think if he’s going to keep grinding he does it for a team where there’s at least a shot of winning a ring.

              That aint Cleveland or Miami.

              • Donny Henson says:

                Well he isn’t going to get his 20, 18, 17, 15, 13.5, or 12 million averages at this point. Philly is only willing to do 1 yr 10 mil and Seattle won’t be able to match that unless they restructure Wilson’s and even then it won’t be worth it because you need a partner to go with Clowney and I don’t think Seattle has that on their roster and the only one in FA maybe worth signing is Everson Griffin, which he is asking 10 mil average. Both Clowney and JS screwed up, and both are paying for it

              • Largent80 says:

                The Seahawks won 12 regular season games last year with a very injured and young squad. They also did it with a banged up O-Line and 3rd string TE……If he doesn’t see them as contenders, he’s blind.

                • Rob Staton says:

                  1. They won 11 regular season games not 12.

                  2. I never suggested Clowney didn’t see them as a contender. I was talking about Miami and Cleveland.

        • cha says:

          Clowney had a chance to go to Miami last year in trade and said no thanks.

          • mishima says:

            Different situation and circumstances. He wouldn’t play for Miami on a 1-year franchise tag when he could do same elsewhere.

            As a free agent, let’s see if he takes a discount to play for a contender. If he was going to, he would have. Now, his choices are limited.

            IMO, he overplayed his hand.

            • Hoggs41 says:

              It would be interesting to hear what the Clowney camps plans are of right now. If he thinks he is going to get the high one year deal then go to free agency again next year I just cant see it happening.

  2. I think its the best offer after first wave of FA. Imo Seahawks offered him little bit more (13-14mil apy) but before FA even started.

  3. cha says:

    This is great information. It does seem like things have tailed off and there is still plenty of talent out there, which definitely trends toward a buyer’s market.

    It still throws in to stark contrast the raises/nice contracts the Hawks doled out earlier in the season. Ogbuehi, Irvin, and the RFA’s all got very nice pay increases. So now they’d be asking Clowney / Griffen to help them with their biggest need, but need to be flexible on salary because they’ve already doled out so much money to their swing tackle and backup center so much money. What a strange position to be in.

    • Simo says:

      Timing can be everything! Early in free agency teams had lots of cap space available and nobody knew how serious the virus situation would in the coming weeks. You might argue the team overpaid for certain players, but the market likely drove those deals early on, the same way a much cooler market is driving prices right now!

      Clowney may yet get a top shelf deal, he’s to good of a player to have to settle for low ball offer. He’s playing the only card he has right now, just try to wait things out and hope a team he likes comes calling,

      With each passing day it certainly feels like Clowney is getting further away from remaining a Seahawk!

      • Rob Staton says:

        I’d love to know the extent of Bruce Irvin and Cedric Ogbueh’s ‘market’ seeing as both received massive pay increases. Ogbuehi played about 150 snaps last season and has been a R1 bust and Irvin admitted recently that Seattle was basically the definitive option for him.

        • BruceN says:

          Don’t forget Brandon Shell who had a $2M CAP number in 2019 (and $690K in 2018) and we have him this year at $3.4M CAP number (and $5.5M CAP hit for 2021).

      • cha says:

        Sure timing is important but the order in which the Seahawks built the roster is also important. The auxiliary pieces like swing tackle and backup center and 3rd or 4th WR should be filled AFTER primary pieces like pass rushers are secure, and you can negotiate from a position of ‘we only have so much to spend.’ Not the other way around. And especially so when pass rush is such a huge need.

        To spend so lavishly on auxiliary players, when you have a big hole on your roster is confusing at best, outright neglectful at worst.

        It’s the like the first Jurassic Park movie. “Spared no expense.” Toys, geneticists, helicopters, video screens in the Jeeps. How about a little more than wire fences to rein in the incredible killing machines? How about not having your entire multibillion dollar enterprise be dependent on a loser on the take like Nedry?

        Year after year, Hawks fans are like Hammond, sitting in the dining room by themselves eating the ice cream that is melting and wondering what could have been.

        • dcd2 says:

          OMG Cha, you’re killing me with that analogy!

        • Volume12 says:

          Like a giant birdcage.

        • Simo says:

          Wow, impressive Jurassic Park knowledge, dropping names like Nedry even!

          Your point about the order in which the Hawks built the roster is a a good one though, and I think that’s what has so many of us on the SDB confused. They didn’t address their biggest need first and then used much of their cap space on depth signings and questionable starters.

          At least none of us have to answer the tough questions about how the roster was built, especially if they miss the playoffs like one NBC article suggested.

  4. For me it looks like he will settle on one year 10mil dral with contender. I could see seahawks doing that deal(not so sure Clowney will want to do it with us after all), especially in late august if some injury happen or they are not satisfied with what they see from some of young guys.

  5. dcd2 says:

    “the trim would likely come from the players’ base salaries, which are paid in weekly installments during the season.”

    This is a sticky wicket for sure. The idea of having the cuts come from base salaries in lieu of bonuses will hit some players harder than others.

    Let’s assume that the cut is 10% of base salary (for easy math and because I have no idea of the shortfall/cushion needed).

    Example 1: Shell VS Finney – Both players making about $3.5M this year.
    Shell – Base $1.1M * 10% = $110k lost
    Finney – Base $2.5M * 10% – $250k lost

    Example 2: Carson Wentz VS Matt Judon (or any franchise player) Wentz making $18.5M – Judon $16.8M
    Wentz – Base $1.1M * 10% = $110k lost
    Juson – Base $16.8M * 10% = 1.68M lost

    Wentz would be making $1.7M more, while forfeiting $1.58M less.

    I’m sure this is all under consideration, but with how many ways contracts can be structured, that is going to be tough to get to a truly equitable point.

    • cha says:

      Good points, but it’s not going to be equitable. It’s doing what is best for the greater good. And if the two parties can share the common interest and make sure they ensure stability then it will be good for both.

      The $1200 relief check we all got isn’t equitable. It is an absolute needed boost for some, and for others working in essential business and racking up OT hours, it’s just gravy to be saved for a rainy day that might not come. Neither of those parties agreed to work on the assumption that there’d be a massive pandemic and they’d get government relief. It’s just something that needs to be rolled with.

      If both sides realize the stability of the brand (and the human value of providing entertainment in this new-content starved environment), they should be able to work something out.

      • dcd2 says:

        It has to be somewhat equitable or the NFLPA won’t agree to it.

        I don’t think you can compare stimulus checks that the government forced into the economy as the stock market was tanking and unemployment skyrocketing to this. Even if you did, there is still an element of equity involved. People that made over a certain amount didn’t get a check. Why would Jeff Bezos need a stimulus check?

        Not saying that there isn’t a solution, but they won’t just use base salary as the lone factor and say “Tough luck Judon.” while Wentz makes $18.5M and pays less than half of what a guy making $3M kicks into the kitty.

        This is about smoothing a ‘rising cap’ that isn’t rising. If the players association deems it necessary to kick in an amount it will almost assuredly be based on total compensation in some regard.

        • cha says:

          I’m not saying it has to be neither dollar for dollar equitable, or wildly inequitable. I’m just saying, they’re going to have to come to some agreement, and some will “lose” more in the short term than others. The whole system is based on how they split revenue and if there’s far less revenue to split, it’s in everyone’s interests to see how they share the burden.

          Judon would get hit more than others in your example. But then the flip side is there’s “not less” cap money to spend on the free market for him in 2021. He may not recover the total amount he “lost” but he could easily draw a line from sacrificing some in 2020 to making more in 2021.

  6. Kenny Sloth says:

    Jon Bones Jones is oxygen

    I love this age of athlete’s having so much agency. They can afford to sit out rather than be forced into a less than ideal situation or simply they just dont wanna do something. Love it.

  7. Volume12 says:

    Terrible news about Clemson WR Justyn Ross. Hope he can make a comeback, but it sounds like the odds are against him.

  8. RWIII says:

    Just thought I would pass on what Brock Huard said about Clowney. Huard thinks that Clowney’s knee is a TICKING TIME BOMB.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Fine. It’s a ticking time bomb.

      Sign someone else then. You had the money.

      Don’t spend weeks calling Clowney the priority, don’t wait him out in free agency. Don’t end up having to settle on Mayowa and Irvin.

      Move on.

      They didn’t move on, which suggests his knee isn’t a ticking time bomb.

      • Gaux Hawks says:

        as noted above, we would’ve had an advantage/head start regarding other free agents…

        just doesn’t add up. sorry, brock.

      • BobbyK says:

        The worst part about Mayowa/Irvin as bookends in pass rushing situations is that they may very well be the worst bookend pass rushers in the NFL (top 5 worst guaranteed) and they’re spending more than their fare share on them. Irvin isn’t getting better at his age and will naturally decline. Unbelievable.

        • Trevor says:

          I think Taylor and Green will be the two bookends with Mayowa and Irvin rotating in situationally. Still your point is dead on. This looks like the worst pass rush unit in the NFL as it stands right now.

          • Rob Staton says:

            I very much doubt Taylor will start as a rookie unless he has the kind of impact none of Seattle’s previous rookie DL’s have had.

  9. Timmy Jernigan is a FA.

  10. betaparticle says:

    Rob,
    Thanks for posting this. I hadn’t seen this article yet.

    I think teams are also facing a bigger uncertainty than how the 2020 season unfolds. The NFL contracts for broadcasting right expire after the 2020 season. That TV contract was reported to be looking at a 20%+ increase over the current contract, but TV stations pay for that with ad revenue, and ad revenue is dependent on the health of the economy, and a 20% increase in revenues for the league looks impossible right now.a

    No one can accurately predict what will happen, but the first 3 months of COVID are economically worse than any financial crisis since the great depression, and maybe worse than that.

    I think teams are being appropriately cautious about guaranteed outlays past 2020, and I don’t think teams will open up the wallets with a long term approach (except for absolutely critical players, aka franchise QBs) until a new TV deal is signed. TV networks have no idea how the economy is going to play out, so they are being, appropriately, extremely cautious. No blockbuster bids will come in during the 2020 season (unless it’s Amazon) for the 2021+ TV contract until the current economic uncertainty unfolds a little bit.

    It’s entirely possible that business is back to normal after the summer, and unemployment drops back to pre-COVID levels by the start of NFL broadcast negotiations. It’s also possible that 30%+ of American corporations are insolvent, unemployment levels are over 30%, and the stock market crashes 50-80% by the time contract negotiations begin. Until there is clarity on 2021 broadcast revenue, the league and NFL teams will be incredibly conservative.

    • Rob Staton says:

      If there’s one thing nobody needs to worry about it’s TV revenue.

      For starters, the companies who sponsor on the big networks are going to be just fine, or will be replaced by companies who are just fine. With everyone stuck at home it’s actually a superb platform, especially when things like sports get back to normal and there will be a massive thirst for live sport.

      Furthermore, advertising won’t even matter. Amazon has actually grown over the last few months. They will bid for more games and the TV companies know they cannot afford to lose out to them otherwise they are screwed. We see this every time the TV contracts expire for the Premier League rights. The big companies always go above and beyond because they’re nothing without them. There’s no way Fox and ESPN and CBS will let Amazon and Google take over this market because it will finish them.

      This is why the extent of the NFL’s ‘crisis’ talks are about whether the cap goes up or stays the same next year. It’s why the only thing they are talking about really is a loss of footfall revenue.

  11. Gohawks5151 says:

    Rob/All,

    The past few posts have listed out the obstacles in front of Seattle. What are everyone’s predictions/expectations for the rest of the offseason? Is it as simple as sign a vet DT and that’s it?

  12. Volume12 says:

    I don’t usually do this, but I could use some prayers right now. My little brother who I take care of had to go to the hospital today. He’s critically ill. I can’t help but feel like it’s my fault or doing. My GF is a mess, I’m in shock. Take care of your loved ones, tell em you love em, and let them know what they mean to you everyday.

  13. Big Mike says:

    Prayers your way for sure man.

  14. Volume12 says:

    Thank you guys. It don’t sound good though. He’s basically at the end stages of his life. Just had to put a DNR on him if his heart stops again. He’s my baby brother man. My heart. I put my life on hold for him and I’d do it again if I could. Would trade places w/ him in a quick second. Such a helpless feeling.

    • dcd2 says:

      So sorry Vol. I hope you get a chance to tell him how much you love him and say goodbye. My heart is breaking for you and your family. No more helpless feeling in the world than a loved one that you cannot help.

      • Volume12 says:

        That’s the thing. I don’t have a mom or dad. It’s just me & him. I have an Aunt and uncle here and a couple uncles in Seattle. I did get the chance to tell him that yesterday, but I wish I woulda got the chance today.

        I’m sorry if I bummed anyone out, but it helps to talk through things ya know?

    • Rob Staton says:

      Sorry to hear that man. If you want a chat just email me a number and I’ll give you a call. Anything you need, we’re here.

    • Roger Davis says:

      “He’s my baby man. My heart.”

      My baby brother died of aids decades ago during the epidemic. He and most of his friends were literally dead before they understood what was killing them. I remember him in terrible pain and I took a moment outside his room so he wouldn’t see me cry. A nurse came out to me and said, “It’s not as bad for him as you think. He’s working very hard at dying.”

      The pain will never go. Nor should it. But in time the love will remain stronger and the pain will diminish. My heart is with you. He is lucky he had you. You are lucky you had him.

      • Big Mike says:

        My younger brother smoked and drank himself to death at age 56. Oh it was a heart attack, but really it was cigarettes and booze. None the less, your last paragraph is spot on and I feel the same way. Still praying for you V12………

    • God of Thunder says:

      So sorry to hear this. May you and him find solace and peace, from something.

    • Henry Taylor says:

      That’s really awful to hear my man, my heart goes out to you.

      I’m glad you feel like this is a place you can share these feelings and reach out for support, and that it’s there for you when asked.

      I wish you and your family all my sympathies.

  15. RWIII says:

    Volume 12. You, your brother and your uncles(family) are in our prayers.

  16. RWIII says:

    Tim Jernigan is available. For whatever reason Jernigan is not going to sign with the Houston Texans. Defensive tackle is a NEED for the Seahawks. Anyone interested in Jernigan.

  17. RWIII says:

    Thanks Rob.

  18. Bankhawk says:

    Sorry to hear about your brother, Vol. You’ve long been one of the cornerstones of this community. Just know that we are all pulling for him, you and your family.
    Hoping we can be a source of support in this tough time.

  19. UkAlex6674 says:

    The Saints o-line is going to have its work cut out this season after what Brees has said. I’m not going to talk about the political issues, but what impact will this have on the Saints team? Is this fracture irreparable already?

  20. Volume12 says:

    From the bottom of my broken heart thank you guys for the well wishes & support. Means the world to me.

    • HawkfaninMT says:

      Hi Vol… I feel like earlier you had said you live in Cheney. If that’s you (my memory is spotty) and you/family are in need of support, I am in Spokane. Please email…

      fftim2001@yahoo.com

      • Volume12 says:

        No, I live in Spokane. Thank you. Might take ya up on that offer.

        • Frank says:

          Feeling for you V12. Feel free to get my email from Rob if you need an ear. Watching my brothers health spiral from liver failure, so I feel where you’re coming from a bit.

          • Volume12 says:

            Thanks. I’m very sorry to hear that. Can totally sympathize w/ ya. Same goes for you. You need any advice or anything, let me know k?

    • dcd2 says:

      Thanks for being open to sharing what you’re going through with us. I think it brings us closer together as a community. I talk to you guys more than my neighbors who live on my street after all. It also serves as a reminder to cherish the time we have with our loved ones.

      I know we’ve never met, but you can reach out to me as well, if and when you’re comfortable. I’d love to hear about your brother and make/send you a little something in his honor. No pressure or rush, of course. I’m here if you need, and with you in thought, if you choose not to.

      My email: 12ofSeattle@gmail.com

      Derrick

      • Volume12 says:

        Of course. I wear my heart on sleeve, sometimes to my detriment. I agree. It’s such a great community here.

        Wow. I can’t tell ya how much that means that you’d be willing to do something like that. Brought a tear to my eye.

        • dcd2 says:

          Happy to. Take your time, focus on you (and your GF). Offer stands in perpetuity and my door is always open.

  21. Frank says:

    It would be quite perplexing if the offer for Clowney was only 12m. Even if that knee is a “time bomb” he still seems like he’d bee worth more than that. Limiting his snap count with acceptable developmental players, and trying to save him for the playoffs as much as possible could be huge to the Hawks. I still think they have enough cuts they could make to put something on the table for him.
    I get burnt out on the Clowney bit, either they make something happen or they don’t. He makes them a better team, but there has to be some reason the Hawks haven’t made it a priority on the level we expect. It odd, because he seems like a locker room fit, he’s elite at what he does when healthy, and this far into things his price has to have dropped to reasonable. I don’t get it, but I’m not going to let it ruin my offseason, and just assume there more information that isn’t public and move forward.

  22. Edgar says:

    I’m getting frustrated. Small business owners are hurting in WA and the only thing that matters is protests and catering to whatever re-elects public officials.