Have the Seahawks used their cap space wisely?

Bruce Irvin had 8.5 sacks for the Panthers in 2019

It was revealed yesterday that Bruce Irvin’s 2020 cap hit is about $5.9m. Media members had estimated a $4m hit. A year ago he signed a $4m contract in Carolina with $1.5m guaranteed. Seattle has given him a 32.2% pay increase.

It leaves the Seahawks slightly more cap-restricted than originally thought. They now have $16.1m remaining. A significant portion of that has to be saved for the rookies, injured reserve and other costs. So they realistically have less than $10m left with a lot still to do.

Seattle entered the off-season with a healthy amount of available cap room and a nice collection of draft picks.

Have they used their resources wisely?

So far they’ve spent about $53.37m on new signings or retaining existing players for 2020:

Jarran Reed $9.35m
Greg Olsen $6.9m
Bruce Irvin $5.9m
B.J. Finney $3.5m
Brandon Shell $3.475m
Quinton Dunbar $3.421m
Jacob Hollister $3.259m
Benson Mayowa $3.018m
Mike Iupati $2.5m
Cedric Obuehi $2.237m
Joey Hunt $2.1m
Branden Jackson $2.1m
David Moore $2.1m
Neiko Thorpe $887,500
Luke Willson $887,500
Phillip Dorsett $887,500
Chance Warmack $887,500

In order to have these players on the books they’ve parted with Justin Britt and D.J. Fluker, replacing them with B.J. Finney and Damien Lewis.

Al Woods signed with the Jaguars and so far hasn’t been replaced. Jadeveon Clowney remains unsigned and could still potentially return. If not, he will also be a subtraction from the 2019 defensive line. Quinton Jefferson signed with the Bills too.

There are interesting ways to look at the list above. For example, they’re spending $11.796m on David Moore, Branden Jackson, Joey Hunt, Cedric Ogbuehi and Jacob Hollister. There are positive arguments to be made about the depth you’re getting for nearly $12m. You can also counter that it’s a lot of money for backups and role players at a time when the Seahawks needed an injection of real quality (thus Russell Wilson’s comments about superstars at the Pro Bowl).

The Seahawks came into the off-season needing to make significant improvements to the defense. People might be sick of me repeating these statistics — but it’s the only way to prove just how badly they needed to make changes:

— The Seahawks finished with 28 sacks, second fewest in the league behind only Miami (23)

— Their sack percentage was 4.5% — third worst overall

— The Seahawks produced a sack or quarterback hit on just 14.4% of opponents’ pass plays — worst in the NFL

— They had only 126 pressures, sixth fewest in the league behind Detroit (125), Oakland (117), Houston (117), Atlanta (115) and Miami (96)

— Seattle’s pressure percentage was the fourth worst in the league (19.3%) behind Detroit (18.9%), Houston (18.1%) and Miami (16.7%)

— Seattle hit the quarterback 68 times — fourth fewest

— They had 52 TFL’s — fourth fewest

— They gave up 55 explosive running plays on defense, seventh most in the NFL

— Their explosive run play percentage (14%) was the third worst overall behind only Carolina (16%) and Cleveland (15%)

— They gave up 4.9 YPC — fourth most overall

— They had 131 missed tackles during the regular season — fourth most.

The pass rush in particular was a major crisis point last year.

So far the fix looks like this — Benson Mayowa and Bruce Irvin for $9m this season, to replace Jadeveon Clowney, Quinton Jefferson and Ziggy Ansah. They also spent two draft picks on Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson, plus retained Jarran Reed for a cap hit of $9.35m this season. They still need, eventually, to replace Al Woods.

Seattle’s two premier pass rushers at the moment will be Mayowa (29) and Irvin (33) with Taylor in particular contributing too. The Seahawks seem to be pinning their hopes on the production Mayowa and Irvin produced last season (15.5 sacks). Yet a threatening pass rush also needs to be able to produce regular pressure — not just collect isolated sacks.

After all — if Irvin and Mayowa combine for 15.5 sacks in 2019, that’ll only be one per game.

Irvin played on a line in Carolina that had multiple, high-quality contributors. Mario Addison and Brian Burns delivered 17 sacks between them. Vernon Butler, Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe also combined for 15 more sacks rushing the interior.

In Oakland, Mayowa’s production fit in alongside Maxx Crosby, Clelin Ferrell and Maurice Hurst collectively providing 18 sacks.

You can make a strong case for both players being nice rotational cogs. It’s a lot harder to make a case for them being the players you rely on. And if you don’t have enough contributors elsewhere — 15.5 sacks won’t be enough.

Sacks aren’t indicators of a consistent rush too and this is why we look at stats like pass rush win percentage and pressures to tell a more complete story. A lot is made of Clowney’s sack production (3) in 2019 — but he was among the league leaders in pass rush win percentage:

Robert Quinn — 33%
T.J. Watt — 28%
DeMarcus Lawrence — 27%
Myles Garrett — 26%
Jadeveon Clowney — 25%
Joey Bosa — 25%
Shaquil Barrett — 25%
Dante Fowler — 23%
Za’Darius Smith — 23%
Preston Smith — 23%

The Seahawks, who already struggled to rush the passer, will need to make up that production with their existing collection of players if they’re unable to bring back Clowney.

In terms of pressures, Irvin and Mayowa played fewer snaps than Clowney as rotational role players. However, Irvin had 23 pressures in 2019 to go with his 8.5 sacks. Mayowa had only 15 pressures.

In comparison, Clowney had 30 pressures. Everson Griffen, who is regularly suggested as an alternative, had 35.

Again — sacks are just one piece of the puzzle. You actually need to be challenging opposing quarterbacks down-to-down.

Given they’ve spent $53.37m on veteran players so far, you can at least make an argument that they’d have been better off ensuring they added Clowney and Griffen before trading up for Darrell Taylor. That arguably would’ve been a more formidable combination, similar to the Bennett/Avril/Clark trio of yesteryear. It might not have been possible, of course. There’s a reason why Clowney remains unsigned after all. Yet had they committed serious resources to that plan — who would’ve complained had it failed?

The point is — if the pass rush struggles badly again in 2020, people will understandably question whether Mayowa and Irvin were the right additions to try and solve this glaring weakness. If Clowney and Griffen didn’t work out — the execution might be criticised but certainly not the planning.

However — had you invested in Clowney and Griffen it’s unlikely you would’ve been able to pad out the depth on the roster. There is some benefit to that and the Seahawks didn’t have a high number of players signed for 2020 going into the off-season.

You will likely answer whether they’ve spent correctly or not depending on your view of the need to acquire depth vs the need to add the stars Wilson called for.

If Clowney does come back eventually to go with Mayowa, Irvin and Taylor — that would be an understandable blueprint. A lot rests on them being able to bring him back though. At the very least, they have to turn to Griffen.

It’s also interesting that while the question marks remain on the defensive line, the Seahawks are spending so much on the linebacker position. Bobby Wagner’s cap hit in 2020 is $14.75m. K.J. Wright’s cap hit is $10m. They are both in the top five highest paid players on the team. On top of this, you can now include the first round investment (salary and resource) in Jordyn Brooks.

There aren’t many teams in the league spending $25m on two linebackers. And that money, along with the price to acquire Brooks, will be seriously questioned if the defensive line isn’t good enough to keep the linebackers clean to play free and fast.

I also think, in defense of the Seahawks, that this has been a harder off-season than they perhaps anticipated.

I suspect they knew or believed they had the best offer on the table for Clowney at the start of free agency. They probably presumed, not unfairly, that after a few days of exploring his market he would return for their best offer. That’s what happened when Michael Bennett tested free agency in 2014.

Instead Clowney didn’t return. He opted to wait. The Seahawks have had to react to this, probably without a plan for this scenario. Who could’ve really predicted this long stalemate?

Because they clearly want him back, they’re compromised too. With Clowney still available they’ve always had to keep some money free just in case. They don’t want to fully move on because he’s without doubt the player who can provide the most impact on the open market.

The addition of Mayowa was a base-covering move. A cheap signing they can talk up. Some depth, just in case. Someone who can exist with or without Clowney. Someone who allows them to claim they’ve ‘moved on’ but in reality, they haven’t.

The situation with Clowney has probably had a major impact on everything, even if they’re not willing to admit it. The questions that will be asked now are — was it worth doing what it takes to avoid this happening (basically just ‘get it done’)? And can they bring him back later this summer to at least bring a positive conclusion to this exercise?

Either way — the unpredictable nature of this saga at least needs to be considered when judging whether they used their cap space wisely.

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  1. cha

    I wonder if this depth dive is partly a reaction to all the injuries they suffered in 2019.

    They installed a whole new S&C team last year and the result was disastrous. It can’t be pointed entirely at the training staff, but my goodness the result was far worse than they likely anticipated.


      Feels like an over knee-jerk reaction to all the injuries that is about to leave us in Trouble with our insufficient starting group.

    • AlaskaHawk

      There were rumors of injury issues in the past from one person in the S&C team. I don’t see how this season will be better if they don’t have time for conditioning preseason.

  2. Greg Haugsven

    I for sure think the Clowney situation affected there off season. You would have thought he would ha e signed with someone the first few days but didnt. There still is 4 months to the season so we never know what could happen. You would have thought a guy like Warford would be released yet he was. Will be very interesting to see how this next 4 months plays out. Also a new report the Eagles may have offered Clowney a contract. I’ll believe any of it once he it becomes official.

  3. cha

    Clowney or no Clowney, I just can’t see all 4 RFA’s playing at their tender salaries in 2020. Feels like the Hawks used the RFA tender as a tool to keep them on the roster through the FA season and draft, so they could asses where they are with their roster construction.

    I can see them all on the team, just at about 1/2 of what they’re tendered for.

    Likely BJ is the first to go upon the Hawks signing Clowney.

    The Hawks really like what Hollister and Hunt bring, but given their place on the depth chart it’s really hard to justify giving them $5.3m between the two of them.

    Moore I can probably see the most secure. He can be a 3rd/4th WR that can burn defenders and has RW’s trust. He took punts a fair amount last year as well. PC’s comfort with him in that area needs to be accounted for.

    • Scot04

      BJ was brought in to start in place of Britt. He’s not getting cut if we sign Clowney. Plenty of others more likely to be cut if needed.

      • Scot04

        Then again anything is possible the way this offseason is going.

      • cha

        Branden Jackson

    • TatupuTime

      The RFAs (and Obuehi) are the ones on the list that I think are a poor use of resources. That’s

      This segment:

      Jacob Hollister $3.259m
      Cedric Obuehi $2.237m
      Joey Hunt $2.1m
      Branden Jackson $2.1m
      David Moore $2.1m

      That’s $11.8M that they are paying on replacement level guys. I’d rather that be $8M towards a difference maker and 4 minimum guys. Hunt, Obuehi, BJ and Moore are all vet minimum guys to me. If they get a better offer somewhere else, they can be replaced.

      • Hawkcrazy

        Obuehi had $500,000 guaranteed the others would cost nothing if released. I would not be surprised to see a bunch of these players released/restructured as/when we need the cap space to sign someone else or as we get into training camp and the summer. Lots of cap space available on the roster by making moves if they need it.

        • Steve Nelsen

          Yes. The cap space for a lot of the guys listed in this article would require them to a) make the team, b) play all season; and, c) play under their current deals. Several of these players are likely to get cut or restructured. None of these signings prevent Seattle fro pursuing Clowney.

          I don’t know why Ogbuehi and his $2M contract keep being brought up in conversations about Clowney and his $16M contract. If Seattle had spent $9M to keep a backup swing tackle like Fant then you could argue it might impact the Clowney pursuit. You could make a better argument in my opinion that the cheap veteran OL signings freed up money to pursue Clowney when compared to what it would have cost to keep Ifedi, Fant and Britt.

          • TatupuTime

            Lots of money for Clowney – particularly if it is on a two year deal. KJ restructure is always possible too. Not a lot of long term contracts on the books. They have a ton of flexibility here.

            Those are just the deals I didn’t like at their current hits. Individually you can make a case for any of them.

  4. cha

    Is there any way to know how many of Irvin & Mayowa’s 15.5 2019 sacks came on blitzes? That would be an interesting data point. Carolina I know blitzed Irvin a lot. Not sure about Mayowa.

    • Rob Staton

      Zero blitzes for Mayowa.

  5. James Z

    Thanks again, Rob, for another run through, stats-wise, of the SH’s woes on defense…I guess. It’s getting sadder every time I read through that list. K.J.’s a 1st class act and yet at this point is not a 1st class performer though making a 1st class salary relative to his age and current abilities.

    The NFC West, as everyone knows, is loaded with young and fast skill players on offense. On defense the SH’s are trailing to a degree. I’d like to see the SH’s throws us some real red meat in signing Clowney, but at this point would settle for a bone-Everson. I’m impatient…

  6. Edgar

    I see one name on that list that doesn’t fit. Hollister filled in admirably off the practice squad after the TE position was decimated with injuries, but no way an undersized marginally talented guy like himself should be compensated over 3 million when he will be 4th on the depth chart at best to start camp. That’s like carrying a backup PK for 1.5 mil.

    • mishima

      Hollister is arguably our only dependable TE, right now.

      Olson and Dissly are injury prone. Parkinson and Sullivan are rookies. Willson is AV Club.

      • Kingdome1976


        • mishima

          Not really a good thing.

      • Edgar

        I seem to remember reading more than one Patriot fan mention Hollister couldn’t stay healthy in New England. If you take all 7-8 TEs who are starting camp, you’d have to put Olsen and Dissly head and shoulders ahead of him, and Seattle using a 4th on Parkinson, would have to put him ahead as well though.

        What I still find interesting but not shocking is that Hollister had more targets than Metcalf in the Packer playoff game. Wilson has that annoying tendency to favor the ‘Rudys’ on the team over his top level receiving talent and that has hurt us on numerous occasions.

        • TomLPDX

          Can you back that up with data? Not trying to be a smartass about it but that statement by itself just doesn’t make sense. Russ has primary and secondary targets and chooses depending on availability.

        • mishima

          That’s because Rudie Can’t Fail.

          • Edgar

            Lets see, Kearse numerous times but most notably in the Packer NFC Championship game where his stone hands caused 3 picks. Kearse dropped what would have been possibly the game sealing over the shoulder 3rd down play middle of 4th quarter in Super Bowl 49. Lockette (special teams player) in one of if not the franchises most iconic plays in its history.

            Imagine NBA teams just having whoever is open take the most shots in the playoffs. Hollister was tailing off and the shine was losing its luster even before the playoffs started with dropped 3rd down passes and being stopped on the 4 inch line against the 49ers. His first pass catch attempt against the Packers looked like a fumble to me but luckily not overturned. Metcalf was coming off a monster game in Philly and took a back seat to Jacob Hollister in the Divisional round? My point is, a C- player isn’t worth 3.25 million to start a season if he’s 4th on the depth chart.

            • mishima

              Wut? I was making a Clash reference.

              • TomLPDX

                Sorry Mishima, that was in response to Edgar, not you.

              • Edgar

                It was supposed to be in response to Tom, my bad.

            • TomLPDX

              Since you brought Kearse up, I can point to “numerous times” when he kept us alive in a game (SB 49) and also won us games with his skills – Don’t pin this on Kearse. I remember the game where there were 4 picks off of him but I also remember that Russ was missing on his targets that day and Kearse was the easy target for blame, when the truth was Russ was off and missed, we’ve all seen it and know it is part of Russ’s game. You still haven’t answered the question and that’s ok….like I said, not trying to be a jerk, but the statement you made doesn’t hold water.

              • Edgar

                Tom, if Kearse had caught the balls that bounced off his hands, Wilson probably gets into a rhythm before the 4th quarter in the Packer game. Yeah, sure….he caught the overtime ball and it was a great redemption moment….and his juggling catch 2 weeks later against NE was incredible, but he also dropped that 3rd down pass that would have put us in field goal range while having the lead in the 4th earlier. It does hold water because why the heck rely on your mediocre barely NFL caliber talented players with better options available??

                • TomLPDX

                  I love Russ as much as the rest of us but sometimes, he gets out of sync, like that particular game. I’m not going to pin this on one player or another…sometimes it doesn’t start clicking until later. Unfortunately I distracted the conversation when discussing Kearse but Russ does tend to loose his focus during a game and needs to regain it. I believe that Russ was off on those plays and Kearse was doing his job. Don’t know what the truth is, ultimately, but I don’t blame Kearse as the weak link here.

                  • James Kupihea

                    Everyone has games where they get out of Sync… you’ll rarely find QBs at any level that can get back IN sync. Russ can, Russ does. I also remember how bad Favre could look in a game for GB, for 3.75 quarters and still laugh his way to the locker room with a W.

        • BigSmooth13

          I’m going to call BS on this. Kearse was the number 2 wr on the team. Dougie was number and caught almost double the amount of passes as Kearse. I mean Russ has to throw it to someone. The te was Luke Willson. I mean come on who else was he supposed to throw too?!?

      • Positrac

        Willson can try out for LEO

  7. Seahawk65

    The plan that came together makes a lot of sense in light of Clowney’s extended hold-out, but I’m not sure the Hawks are better for it. If three new starters on the OL make for an improved line, great. But it’s hard to know what we are getting for the money. Same with the DL. Two FA’s and two solid draft picks to go along with two developing 5 techniques. That’s a lot of resources invested, and some reason for some optimism, but also room for doubt. If, in the end, they sign Clowney, I’d feel pretty good about the defense. I’m less optimistic than some that it will happen, but I do see the possibility (and hope). I understand why the team moved forward as they did. I just feel apprehensive about it.

  8. GoHawksDani

    I’m no GM but it would be wiser to get impact starters in FA and pad the roster with the draft (with players who has potentials after 1-2 years). Especially when you draft late and low chance to grab a day1 impact starter.
    Rewind to the start of the FA. If you sign 2 bigger name EDGE could you pad the roster for the positions you miss out in FA with rookies? I think the answer is a definitive yes.

  9. Casey Zachary

    Lack of pass rush really limits other things Pete prioritizes. Doesn’t matter if we stop running first and second down if they can get home on third a long. Much less likely to manufacture turnovers too. I think Malik draft pick evaporating really set them back and they haven’t quite got back on track. Frank was good and gives me hope than evaluate well enough to draft an effective rusher again.

  10. Bigten

    Just out of curiosity, and may be irrelevant, but what are the guarantees for those signings? Could Irvin be a hedge and cut upon signing Clowney? Could the Oline guys (Warmack, Ogbuehi, iupati) be cut in place of warford? I know Warford was playing right guard, but also played RT if I remember correctly. He could maybe fill in at left guard or right tackle and give us some proven talent.

  11. Hoberk Unce

    Cutting Wright and having Barton and Brooks compete for the Will spot will save another $6.5M ($3.5M in dead money from his $10M 2020 salary). I’m wondering if that’s the plan and perhaps JS/PC are holding out hope that they can land both Clowney and Griffen with that combined money.

  12. Dan

    I like Greg Olsen and Bruce, but it’s hard not to think we’d be better off with that money going to Griffen (with probably 2-4 million left over). We’d still have a chance to get Clowney too. A TE room of Dissly, Willson, Hollister, Parkinson and Sullivan would be a good place to open camp.

    That scenario feels like it comes with a lot more upside than our current situation.

    And I hate the Ogbuehi signing.

    • 12th chuck

      I agree, the Olsen signing seems like a waste.

      • TomLPDX

        My feeling is that Olsen brought stability to the TE room. Think about that room prior to the draft. It is now a strong position and may the best men win!

  13. Strategicdust

    After free agency and the draft, can we say the Seahawks roster is significantly better? I would say marginally at best. We can point to Tight End and perhaps the secondary as seeing improvement but that’s based on Olsen and Dunbar being healthy. The rookies show some promise but nothing proven. Even with the depth signings, we’re still thin at DL, RB and WR and still need an experienced backup QB. Yes, there’s still time but this offseason, at this point in time, feels like we’ve been running in place.

  14. Coleslaw

    There are a bunch of back end roster guys who will likely be cut and will clear up some space. These numbers are all post June 1st, so this is after having these guys in for a full camp.

    Warmack $750k
    Jackson $2.13M
    Bellore $1m
    Hill $825k
    Willson $750k
    Fuller $750k
    Neal $750k
    Wheeler $750k
    Brian Allen $750k
    Ellerbee, Linden Stephens, Khalil McKenzie – $675k each
    Champion, Mabry, Miller, Knox, Mencer, Jones, Johnson, Wood-Anderson, Carr, Webb, Siverand, Norwood, Hart, Thompson, Lattimore, Stanley, Heslop, Dawkins, Avery, Renfro, Fuller, Smith- $610k each.

    Just these guys clear up $23.9M.

    Then there’s Hollister- $3.259M and Iupati- $1.5M, and Ogbuehi- $1.737M. For a total savings of just under $30.4M. Some will definitely be practice squad/reserve/injured, but I think we can count on an extra $10-15M after camp cuts.

    Our roster is at 90 right now, and the top group that would save $23.9M is 34 players, we would be at 56, add 11 for the practice squad, 5 injured, and we would be able to save on about 17 players.

    Warmack, Jackson, Bellore, Hill, Willson, Fuller, Neal, Allen, McKenzie, and 8 of the $610Ks. Total savings: $13.335M and the rest are practice squad or back end roster depth. That’s enough to help get Clowney with what we already have. Might be enough to add a DT, QB, RB too. Might have to cut Hollister/Iupati/Ogbuehi though too.

    • dcd2

      “Our roster is at 90 right now, and the top group that would save $23.9M is 34 players, we would be at 56, add 11 for the practice squad, 5 injured, and we would be able to save on about 17 players.”

      That’s not how it works.

      The cap only accounts for the top 51 contracts. If you cut Wheeler he gets replaced with Homer for a savings of $40k. All of the guys you listed at $675k aren’t even counting against the cap.

    • cha

      Only the top 51 count towards the salary cap. So guys in that high 60-90 roster spots currently, when they’re cut that won’t present any savings.

  15. Gaux Hawks

    anyone else on the current roster that can push Bellore for the FB/HB position?

    • Rob Staton

      They don’t use a FB/HB that much. Bellore is on the roster because he’s a key special teamer. That’s his main role.

      • WALL UP

        If it helps the cap constraints, They may look to their rookies for the role played by Bellore. Brooks will be a key contributor on ST in the beginning of his career. He placed a “C” on his picture of his intro the hawks organization. I can rightly see him as a captain of ST in 2020.

        Another possibility for Bellore’s replacement is another rookie HB/FB/TE is Maybry. Besides his blocking and catching abilities, he loves playing ST.

        With the progression of these rookies, early in the process, that may open the way to cut bait w/ Bellore, to gain more cap space, before the season begins.

        • Rob Staton

          It’s not as simple as that. I see this a lot. ‘Just let the rookies do the special teams roles’.

          People are unwilling to look into how many of the top teams have specialist special teamer’s on their roster every single year. It’s not just something anyone can do.

          • WALL UP

            In Bellore’s case, he’s just had one yr with the organization. And it’s not like he’s been a fixture with this ST group, without fault. There were some holding calls made on his behalf that were costly, that you wouldn’t expect from a seasoned vet.

            Not being able to position yourself quickly can lead to grabbing the opposing players. He appear a step slow at times, which would lend to holding calls.

            Heath Farwell was at a similar age (32yrs) when he started his coaching career with the Hawks in 2014. I’m sure they are planning for a replacement for Bellore sometime soon.

            If these aforementioned players step up for an increased role, there could possibly be a change of the guard this year.

            Some tebits on Maybry:

            “But according to Mabry, the head scout for the Seattle Seahawks called him during the fourth round, and midway through the sixth round, another team representative said that the club would try to sign him to a free-agent deal after the draft.”

            “Seattle kept calling me throughout the draft, talking, ‘Just stay patient. We want you, and we’ve got a plan for you,’” Mabry said. “I knew by the seventh round that I was signing with Seattle. So I already knew what was up. So I wasn’t even tripping.”

            “I’m going to have to play a lot of special teams,” he said. “I’ve got to earn a spot. I’m used to it already. So they don’t have to teach me again. I can just go out there and do it.”

            The Seahawks held up their end of the bargain and signed the 23-year-old Mabry. Apparently, they have a plan for him, and STs is part of it.

            • Rob Staton

              Yes, I appreciate that.

              You’re still not grasping though that good teams always have veteran core special teamers. This is not a role that a rookie just walks in and takes.

              A year ago everyone was projecting Bellore would be cut. Nobody had him in their final rosters. And those people didn’t understand why players like Bellore make it. People think being a key special teamer is just something any player can do. It’s not. That’s why Belichick has about three veterans on his team EVERY YEAR just for special teams.

              • STTBM

                Excellent points Rob. Special Teams is not a job for everyone, and Seattle has spent future fifth, sixth, and seventh round picks to bring in vets who ate great at Special Teams. They clearly value it, are willing to spend draft capital to improve it, and like a mix of rookies and vets there. Not too many rookies make it to STs, but some do, and its a great way to earn a spot on the roster while you get up to speed on offense or defense.

  16. John_s

    One option to create more cap space is to restructure Duane Brown’s contract. Not an optimal option however he’s got one year left after this year so it’s not going to affect the cap situation for an extended period of time.

    It would save close to $5 mil on the cap this year however his cap hit next year would be close to $18 mil

  17. Sea Mode

    Finally, at least there’s some good news!

    NFL Memes

    BREAKING: Booger McFarland and Joe Tessitore will not return to the Monday Night Football booth.

    It finally happened.

    • TomLPDX

      And the people rejoiced! 🙂

      I saw this earlier and was relieved I didn’t have to sit through anymore games with Booger. Didn’t mind Joe too much (or should I say AS much).

    • cha

      My instant take: This means there’s a very good chance Booger McFarland will not be the color analyst for NFL games on Monday nights this fall.

  18. EranUngar

    You described it clearly and fairly Rob. The Seahawks off season so far is not complete.

    Many here had the FO charging ahead and securing 2 top money DEs right at the bell of FA. I believed they will get one and compliment him with one or two 2nd/3rd wave guys. We were all wrong.

    I thing Irvin and Mayowa are good (not great) complementary players. I think they would upgrade the DL we had last year by adding twitch/bend/speed opposite Clowney.

    However, without Clowney our starting DL is worse than 2019 if that can be possible. We are watching a product that is not finished and there is no way the FO sees it differently.

    I can easily support the moves done so far especially after they released Britt and Flucker. If they finish the work and add a big run stuffing DT and Clowney, I’ll be very happy with this off season and nothing in the steps they have already taken prohibits that from happening.

    If they don’t, every step they did will be measured by “why didn’t you get Clowney instead” and there will not be a good enough answer for it.

    In other words – IMO, its Clowney (or similar) or bust….and everything they did will be evaluated accordingly.

    • Rob Staton

      No — ‘many here’ said the FO could and should ‘charge ahead’ to secure two top end defensive ends.

      And they could’ve done, despite what you said, as has been proven by the fact they spent over $50m on players.

      They chose not to. But it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have done.

      • Spencer

        Which of the deals given to EDGE-type players this off season would you have liked the Seahawks to make?

        I personally would have loved Fowler at 3/45, but it seems like he really wanted to go to Atlanta, or Armstead at 5/85, but it seemed like he wanted to go back to SF. Other than that, there aren’t many deals that I look at and think that they were good signings that would have solved their pass rush woes.

        The best two options have always been Clowney and Griffen. They didn’t know Griffen would become available like this, and it’s a shame they tied up so much money into mediocre players, because those two would have been dynamite together for a year or two while they wait to see what they have in the young guys.

  19. Trevor

    I think there is almost zero chance that PC/JS plan to start the season with Irvin, Mayowa and Taylor as their primary pass rushers. There has to be another piece or two we don’t see yet either Clowney, Griffen or a Trade.

    If they go into the season with this DL I will go on record saying we will be at the bottom of the division. You need a pass rush in today’s NFL and relying on two guys you let walk in the past + a 2nd round rookie is nowhere near good enough I don’t care how good Russ is.

    • millhouse-serbia

      And I think there is 90% chance they will go with this group of DE into the season. I will leave that 10% If something unexpected happen and some really good player become available later. They will just add one more DT. And they are waiting good DT to show (cap casualty from another team).

    • Simo

      Have to agree, and I sure hope you’re right. But we have been saying this same thing since FA opened up in March, and still no “superstars”l or difference makers. There’s nobody who commands attention or a double team right now.

      I agree completely with Rob that Irvin and Mayowa can be nice complementary pieces on a good DL, but they better not be counted on to be the main contributors! Taylor and/or Robinson will hopefully turn into nice players, but its hard to expect to much of them as rookies.

      Something good is going to happen, or at least something better happen!!

  20. Donovan

    “For example, they’re spending $11.796m on David Moore, Branden Jackson, Joey Hunt, Cedric Ogbuehi and Jacob Hollister.”

    Cap question: If none of these players make the final roster, does that free up the $11.7 m in cap space?

    • cha

      Yes, All except $500k signing bonus $ for Ogbuehi.

    • dcd2

      Their numbers would be replaced by the guys who did make it. You also have to figure in $500k dead cap for Ogbuehi.

      It would probably free up closer to $8M.

      11.7 – .5 (Dead cap) = $11.2 less the replacement cost of 5 guys at around $650k gets you around $8M in savings.

  21. Seahawk65

    All of those guys represent veteran depth. A team planning to go deep into playoffs needs to have that kind of depth. I think they want to keep these guys, but may very well renegotiate the salaries downward. It would be better for the players to take less than to be out on the street at this time of year. With Ogbuehi, they just signed him so I assume they want him. He either makes the team or he gets cut, but he’s not as likely to take less because he doesn’t have that history with the team. He’d feel disrespected.

    • Rob Staton

      A team planning to go deep into the playoffs also needs to be able to rush the passer.

  22. Bankhawk

    Rob, that was a very balanced and cool-headed appraisal of the path followed in this off season. It was a balm in a time when life’s stresses and strains are already pressing enough.

    It was also gratifying to find such reasonable discussion, lacking in the inflammatory posturing and hyperbole that I’d be likely to encounter on other platforms. All in all, a great read to wake up to. I find myself reassured that while it is possible to criticize the front office’s approach, there are reasons, and options are not yet out of reach.

    I’ll still be holding out hope for a move/moves that bring everything into focus (count me in the ‘wants Clowney back badly’ column) and SDB is far and away the best place I can think of to while away the wait!

    • Rob Staton

      Thank you!

  23. Paul Cook

    I’m pretty close to writing off this year in terms of being a true SB contender. Sure, a lot of stuff could break our way and you never know…blah, blah, blah…. It’s more about the 21-22 season for me if all goes well. Which is okay to me because it’s going to be such a weird year anyway. But we have to get ourselves right for the 21-22 season.

    The Clowney thing sucked from the get-go because it caused a chain reaction of choices in which we didn’t even walk away from the draft with some real viable new weapons for RW in a draft that was loaded with top end talent at the WR and RB positions. Pretty much a total whiff there.

    I do like some of our draft picks, but, frankly speaking, Lewis is about the only one I feel a high degree of confidence about in terms of consistent production at a high level soon and into the future.

    This off season was kind of “meh” for me all in all. CAP management seemed average at best. Our draft lot has potential, but I could just as easily see the majority of them being just “guys” in the end rather than real break out players. Again, Lewis seems to be the exception to me at first blush.

    I don’t know. We’ll see. At least the schedule looks quite favorable for another trip to the playoffs. That’s a plus.

    • mishima

      I think they’ll have more issues in 2021 season.

      • Paul Cook

        Maybe yes, maybe no to me. A lot will depend upon whether or not a small group of players from the last few drafts pan out or not, players like Blair, Lewis, Penny, Amadi, Taylor, Brooks, etc… You never quite know how lucky you’re to be in that department until it actually happens.

  24. Sea Mode

    You know it.

    ·May 8

    Only 4 WRs averaged 20+ yards per catch against single coverage in 2019

    A.J. Brown, Titans
    Stefon Diggs, Vikings
    Mike Evans, Buccaneers
    D.K. Metcalf, Seahawks

  25. Coleslaw

    dcd2 and Cha, thanks for pointing out my mistakes above, I appreciate it. I’m not a cap guy so I’ll try to remember that at least lol

  26. Coleslaw

    Rob, have you thought about doing voice-over film study videos? I bet you’d be great at it and it would be good for YouTube. #GetRobStatonMonetized

    • Rob Staton

      It’s not really my thing.

      I’m not a film expert either. I know doing those types of videos get a lot of views especially when you are positive. But I also think, sometimes, are you really being told the full story? It’s a bit like when people use a lot of ‘terminology’ in articles or videos. I kind of think, come on.

      I’m just a bloke in England with a blog and I’m not going to pretend to know more than I do.

      • mishima

        One of your best qualities: You don’t front.

        Thank you.

        • Rob Staton


  27. Tien

    Thanks for another well reasoned article, Rob! I check/read this blog once or twice (or more) a day but am not a regular commentor. Is it easy for you to see the number of daily hits per blog posting? If so, that would be another great indicator of the interest in your blog postings besides the number of comments that you get.

  28. HOUSE


    I appreciate your take on things and I couldn’t agree with you more. I personally feel money could’ve been allocated differently and while I am excited to see what Taylor can offer, it is hard to swallow the pill of knowing we could’ve locked up Clowney and drafted a Top DT, instead of 2 rotational DEs, an unproven rookie and still a need at DT.

    Regarding the listed players and contracts, I don’t have all of them in my VERY EARLY 55 and I’m wondering if a Clowney/Griffen/SOLID DT makes it.

    Jarran Reed $9.35m: No Comment
    Greg Olsen $6.9m: No Comment
    Bruce Irvin $5.9m: Im hoping for at least 6 sacks… $1M/sack is steep
    B.J. Finney $3.5m: Starting C, not horrible
    Brandon Shell $3.475m: Projected Starting RT
    Quinton Dunbar $3.421m: Good trade, I think he could take #2 spot from Flowers
    Jacob Hollister $3.259m: I don’t think he makes the roster
    Benson Mayowa $3.018m: Better price than Irvin. Irvin’s contract really makes me scratch my head.
    Mike Iupati $2.5m: I think Haynes wins the spot and Iupati gets cut
    Cedric Obuehi $2.237m: Baffled by this contract… Almost triple his pay from a year ago to be a swing T/Big TE, makes no sense to me.
    Joey Hunt $2.1m: I think he could be a potential cut and brought back cheaper. $6M combined for 2 Centers isn’t bad though.
    Branden Jackson $2.1m: Potential cut with Irvin, Mayowa and Taylor in the fold. Anyone else comes in and he’s gone for sure.
    David Moore $2.1m: He’s got a rapport with Wilson, but I think he’s fighting for WR3 or could be completely bumped off the roster. That $2.1M could be used for a bigger need.
    Neiko Thorpe $887,500: ST Gunner and Captain. I’m not mad at this one.
    Luke Willson $887,500: Another guy I question making the roster. We drafted 2 TEs. Can he beat both of them out to fight for #3?
    Phillip Dorsett $887,500: Low-risk/moderate reward. About 1/6th of what Brown made last year.
    Chance Warmack $887,500: Interesting signing. What does he have in the tank after a year off? Could he fight at LG? Is he a backup/mentor for Damien Lewis (my presumed RG starter)

    I have a feeling that while Clowney is in the holding pattern, so is Griffen. I think a DT will get cut somewhere and fall in our lap hopefully.

    • Greg Haugsven

      All great thoughts and I agree with almost everything. Where I was hoping for a lesser contract for Irvin, a million dollars a sack is about right. Most actually get more than that. The Ogbuehi one for me was a head scratcher her but I thought we got a great deal on Dorsett so it kind of cancels each other out. Lupati has $1m guaranteed of his $2.5m so I’m not sure he is going anywhere.

    • Trevor

      Really liked this post and agree with everything!

  29. UkAlex6674

    Would it be fair to say there would be even more pissing and moaning on here if Mayowa and Irvin HADN’T been signed at this point?

    • Rob Staton

      Who’s pissing and moaning?

      Is analysing the team in anything other than ultra positive terms automatically pissing and moaning?

      • Kenny Sloth

        I always moan when I piss.

        • ZacScratch

          Antibiotics will clear that right up.

  30. EranUngar

    “$1M/sack is steep” – really?

    here are the top 10 DL salaries in 2019 and thier respective sack totals:

    1. Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald: $22.5 million – 12.5 sacks.
    2. Cowboys defensive lineman Demarcus Lawrence: $21 million – 5 sacks.
    3. Chiefs defensive lineman Frank Clark: $20.8 million – 8 sacks.
    4. Lions defensive lineman Trey Flowers: $18 million – 7 sacks.
    5. Saints defensive lineman Cameron Jordan: $17.5 million – 15.5 sacks.
    6. 49ers defensive lineman Dee Ford: $17 million – 6.5 sacks.
    7. Browns defensive lineman Olivier Vernon: $17 million – 3.5 sacks.
    8. Eagles defensive lineman Fletcher Cox: $17 million – 3.5 sacks.
    9. Falcons defensive lineman Grady Jarrett: $17 million – 7.5 sacks.
    10. Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt: $16.7 million – 5.5 sacks.

    None of those guys average more than 11 sacks a year.

    Greatest 2019 NFL sack bargains:

    Shaquil Barrett – 4M/19.5 sacks. – (2020 contract – 15M)
    Chandler Jones – 15M/19 sacks. (contract average 16.5M)
    Cameron Jordan – 9M/15.5 sacks. (contract doubled for 2020)
    Daniel Hunter – 13.5M/14.5 sacks. (contract average 14.5M apy)

    There are less than 10 players in the NFL with a career average of over 6 sacks a year and a salary of less than 6M a year.

    1M/sack is a steal not a steep price.

    • Rob Staton

      We can’t correlate $1m per sack in this way.

      There’s a world of difference between paying an elite pass rusher $18m to be among the league leaders for sacks and paying someone $6m for a handful.

      For example —- Mayowa is on half as much as Irvin. And yet they are hoping they produce the same amount of production.

    • HOUSE


      You have produced great data and statistics, but like Rob said, it is not a direct correlation. All the names you mentioned above are HIGH caliber players that are on the field making HUGE differences throughout the game. Of the Top 10 names you mentioned, I’d say 7-8 of them are specifically game planned against. I don’t think anyone is looking at Bruce Irvin and saying “He’ll be on the field about 20 snaps today, we HAVE to stop that guy”.

      Bring in a guy that plays productive meaningful snaps and “bargain” or “deal” seems more equitable. If Mayowa outperforms, Irvin, we definitely OVERPAID Irvin.

      Believe me, I hope I’m wrong, but we overpaid for Irvin playing a limited role as a SACK specialist

      • Rob Staton

        Also — what if Irvin has a three sack game against a crap opponent.

        If he gets three sacks in the remaining 15 games, is that worth $1m a sack overall?

        Consistent pressure, the need to gameplan >>>>> sacks

        • HOUSE


          Thank you… Maybe my words “$1M/sack is steep” were too literal. I am just hoping/praying for an improvement on the pass rush front and $6M for Bruce Irvin doesn’t inspire a ton of hope.

  31. EranUngar

    I agree, sacks are not the only stat to evaluate pass rushers.

    Also, a 1 year wonder like Mayowa with 7 sacks in the first half of 2019 and a 6 year career avarage of less than 3 sacks can not be compared to Irvin with 8.5 sacks in 209 but over 6 sacks a year in 8 years (including years at SAM…)

    All i’m saying is – the statement ““$1M/sack is steep”, on it’s own without other factors, is plain wrong.

    • Rob Staton

      The only thing I disagree with is the final sentence. One million per sack can be steep in some circumstances.

      • EranUngar

        It can be steep on rare occasions but usually NFL defensive linemen get paid more than 1M/sack.

        Than there is the best defense in the NFL in both yards and points that managed to master “paying someone $6m for a handful”.

        They totaled 47 sacks without a single player getting more than 7 sacks.

        They pay Dont’a Hightower 8.8M apy for his 7 sacks.

        The rest of their front 7 gets paid less than 6M apy.

        The NFL moves in mysterious ways…

        • Rob Staton

          I wondered how long it would be before someone used the Belichick Patriots as something that can be achieved/copied.

          ‘Just do what the greatest coach in NFL history does’

          • EranUngar

            Please, admit it, it’s always fun to see what they are doing.

            Whenever you think you saw it all, they come up with something else you can’t understand or explain.

            The man is the GOAT by a far margin and it’s not just having Brady for 2 decades.

            • Rob Staton

              I’m happy to admit all of that.

              But it’s proven to be virtually impossible to mimic. Just ask O’Brien, Patricia and McDaniels.

  32. Big Mike

    Thanks for the “offseason cap usage so far” analysis Rob. Spot on to my way of thinking. I never thought of the fact that they were unprepared for Clowney sitting like this. I’m guessing if they had it to do over they might pursue Fowler or maybe Quinn a lot more intensely. I just hope that Griffen doesn’t sign elsewhere and they have no fall back position.

  33. Trevor

    Speaking of Bill Belichick and the Patriots I think they are setting themselves up perfectly to draft Trevor Lawrence and start another dominant run. People can’t figure out why they did not draft a QB this year. I think BB saw Mahomes and Lamar last year then looked at his 42 yr old QB and said “yeah this is not going to work anymore”. So move to plan B.

    -Let Brady walk (check)
    -Don’t sign any vet free agents and clear up cap space for 2021 (check)
    -Let free agents walk and try to get comp pick (check)
    -Start a rookie QB who will struggle and let your young OL develop (TBD)
    -Finnish in last place and take heat for moving on from Brady but put yourself in position to draft a generational QB in Trevor Lawrence (TBD)
    -Draft Lawrence and use cap space to give him elite weapons going forward in 2021. (TBD)

    Could be way off and maybe they believe Stidham is their QB of the future but I don’t think so.

    • Rob Staton

      I’ve seen this suggested before. Let’s just be clear. Bill Belichick is NOT banking on winning between 0-3 games next season on the off chance that will be enough to pick #1 overall or that Lawrence will definitely declare. There is zero percent chance of that being reality.

      It’s very possible he simply believes in Stidham enough to see what he has rather than add a crap stop gap like Andy Dalton.

      • EranUngar

        NE has a defense that can win 6-8 game with almost anybody on the other side of the ball. There is no way they end up drafting 1st. They may trade up for it but that’s not NE’s way either….

      • Group Captain Mandrake

        Plus, look what he did the last time he was without Brady. He still went 10-6 (11-5?) with a nothing QB and just missed the playoffs. I’m pretty sure Bill believes he can get the most out of just about any QB.

  34. Rob Staton

    Got a really good interview lined up today.

    All will be revealed in a bit.

    • cha

      Sounds great!

  35. New Guy


    Thanks so much for the continuing great content – especially past your usual cutoff date. It is both noticed and appreciated.


  36. Rob Staton

    New interview is with Brian Baldinger.

    Will be available shortly.

    • cha

      Oh that’s a fantastic get Rob.

      Baldy’s breakdowns are one of my favorite regular twitter “things”.

    • Rob Staton

      And…. it hasn’t recorded properly.

      So I’ve only got 4 minutes of a 12 minute interview.

      Sorry people.

      Absolutely gutted.

      • Greg Haugsven

        That’s OK, 4 minutes is better than 0.

      • dcd2

        Oh man, that stinks! Still looking forward to hearing what you did get.

  37. James

    Rob, technology! Can’t live with it, can’t live without it…

    Going on five months now, those of us desperate enough for sports have had to endure all-day, every-day discussions about Jadeveon on sports talk radio. Will today be the day he signs? What is the latest on Clowney? In fact, a cursory look at the circumstances reveals that the Seahawks made Jadeveon their “best-and-final” offer of approx. $16M in the first week of April. When he turned that down, as John says, “We had to move on.” And he forthwith signed Bruce and Mayowa. For all intents and purposes, that was that.

    Of course, if Jadeveon surrenders to the market and agrees to sign for $10M, perhaps it can still get done, but basically he is gone to another team or he will hold out ad infinitum. You never pay a player what he wants, you pay him what the market says he is worth.

    Jadeveon, like Earl and Sherm before him, has let his ego take over, and another bout of self-implosion is underway. Pete prides himself on finding an accommodation with difficult players, such as Sherm, Earl, Michael Bennet and now Jadeveon. But that only lasts for so long. A tiger can’t change his stripes, and these defiant and ego-driven players eventually paint themselves into a corner, with their outsized demands and their list of grievances. When is $16 million not enough? When you imagine it could be 20.

  38. STTBM

    Good writeup Rob!

    I don’t see Luke Wilson making the team, and Moore, Ogbuehi, Iupati, Hunt, Jackson, Dorsett, Warmack, and even Hollister may not make the team–though I’m pretty sure Hollister and Hunt do.

    Seattle still has room to pay Clowney 16.5 million this year, if they choose to. They may have to drop a few guys mentioned above to do it, but that’s life. They appear to be trying to put the squeeze on Clowney, to laughable affect. They are failing. This off-season will be a fail if they don’t get Clowney. Especially if they don’t get Griffin.

    I like Olsen, but he’s not worth costing us Clowney.

    As I said, Seattle may have to cut a few guys to get Clowney, but they can still do it. Just pay the man, and end this stupidity. Hell, pay him 18 on a one year deal.

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