Why the Seahawks can re-sign Richardson & Graham

The Seahawks can re-sign Sheldon Richardson — and Jimmy Graham — if they want to

According to Spotrac, the Seahawks have an estimated $26m in free cap space in 2018. Spotrac’s numbers work under the assumption the cap increases to $168m next year, a miserly $1m increase on the 2017 total.

Here’s how the cap has increased in recent years:

2017 — $168m
2016 — $155m
2015 — $143m
2014 — $133m
2013 — $123m

Considering the average growth per year since 2013 is $11.25m a year, the chances of it only growing $1m to $168m in 2018 seems unlikely.

So basically, there’s every chance the Seahawks will have comfortably more than $26m in cap space at the end of the season.

Cutting or trading Jeremy Lane in the off-season creates another $5m. Cutting Neiko Thorpe creates another $2m and it’s the same for Jon Ryan. So there are plenty of moves they can make to further bolster their available cash if required — even though they might not need to.

If Spotrac’s numbers are accurate and if the cap continues to increase, they could have upwards of $30-$40m to spend.

Over the Cap has the same point of view:

So when people say it’s unlikely, improbable or even impossible for the Seahawks to re-sign both Sheldon Richardson and Jimmy Graham, this isn’t strictly true.

The greatest obstacle could be their willingness to match big demands rather than available cap space. If Graham and Richardson ask for a kings ransom or an unrealistic salary, then of course it’s entirely possible they will depart. It’s also possible they don’t perform to expectations and Seattle opts to move on.

But the numbers provided by Spotrac suggest it’s entirely possible to keep both.

If Sheldon Richardson asks for $18m a year or something along those lines, the franchise tag is a possibility. This years tag number for a defensive tackle is $13.387m.

There are other things to consider too, of course. Frank Clark is going to need paying soon (he’s eligible to discuss a new deal in 2018) and Earl Thomas’ contract is up in 2019, as is Richard Sherman’s.

Yet as those deals near their conclusion, some of the older guard will be coming towards the end of their careers. High earners will depart, creating more room. And the rise of the cap shows no signs of slowing down.

It doesn’t mean this will be an easy process but when Peter King says, “The Seahawks plan to try hard to sign Richardson beyond this year” — it’s entirely possible. Ditto Jimmy Graham. And if it’s not Graham it could be Luke Joeckel or Eddie Lacy.

You get the picture.

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  1. Jeremy

    Ive been wondering about this since they dealt for Richardson. Thank you Rob, love it!

    • Rob Staton

      Clearly they can re-sign him if these numbers are true — and that makes sense. Unlike this team to go all-in on a trade like this for one year. For a super talented guy too.

      • Jeremy

        Ive just assumed its 1 or the other, I really thought the idea of re-upping both was just too much to handle.

        • Rob Staton

          PCJS magic 🙂

          • Jeremy

            This site needs a like button for comments

            • FAN Person


              • FuzzyLOgic


      • TatupuTime

        Richardson will only be 27 at the end of the year. If he balls out as an interior presence like you’d expect he has to be in the conversation to stay. Especially as the ability to push the pocket from the DT has been the toughest spot for the Seahawks to fill. The next line in Seattle could built around Richardson-Clark-Reed with both Avril and Bennett starting to get up there in football years.

      • Redhawk87

        Unfortunately, those numbers are pretty generous for the Seahawks. They’re likely to have almost nothing net carried over from 2017 after incentives and injury-replacement costs over the year.
        And the $31M that the Seahawks are starting with right now in overthecap will be reduced by rookie draft picks (around $5.5M), IR and injury replacements (another $6M), and practice squad ($1.3M).
        Thus, they’ll end up with about $17m-$18m to work with in 2018 for about 10 roster spots. JS has ways to increase this with cuts/trades/extensions, but this is the starting mark, nothing in the $20M+ range, much less $30M+.

        • Rob Staton

          Picks, IR and practise squad don’t take up $12-13m, it’s more like $7-8 max.

          The possible $31m can easily be added to by cutting fringe players as discussed, plus it’s possible the cap could rise by another $10m or so.

  2. Colin

    With all due respect Rob, Spotrac has been stealing data from OTC for several years now. I would use a different source of info.

    • Rob Staton

      I’ve seen the accusation but is it substantiated? And if the data is accurate it doesn’t change the overall point on Richardson & Graham.

      • Nathan_12thMan

        The founder, Jason from OTC has run sting operations in the past, putting in incorrect info on purpose and then proving that Sportrac had the exact same incorrect info in their numbers. Take that for what you will.

        Here is the best source: https://twitter.com/Jason_OTC/status/904576922474225664

        I ask Jason from OTC: “Do we have to do more than just let Jimmy walk & cut/trade Avril to make room for a contract like that? Big moves-wise.”

        He responds: “They should have around $30M in cap room next year so they can do it if they want without making a ton of moves.”


        Personally I see this as the list of guys (not named Sheldon & Jimmy) we want to re-sign/extend in ’18 and ’19:

        1. Russell Wilson
        2. Earl Thomas
        3. Frank Clark
        4. Tyler Lockett
        5. K.J. Wright
        6. Richard Sherman?
        7. George Fant?
        8. Cliff Avril? (we’ve got Clark & cut/trading him in ’18 saves us $7.5m)
        9. Mark Glowinski?
        10. Luke Joeckel?
        11. Blair Walsh?

        Besides those eleven, it’s a ton of question marks. Lacy, Rawls, PRich (pass!), Aboushi, Shead, McEvoy, and Elliot.


        If we can lock up Russ, Earl, Tyler, Frank, K.J. and possibly Sherman (if they want him) and fit Sheldon in, fantastic! If we use Jimmy right this season (proving we can do it) and find a way to fit him in? Great! But if not, he is a luxury skill position player and if his $10M at TE is what we need to get Sheldon and a few of the other guys locked up long term, then so be it.

        • Rob Staton

          Thanks for the link, will add to the piece

  3. SeaHusky

    With Avril’s contract running out in 2018 and Bennett also getting up there in age (and likely regression), I can definitely see the FO reallocating their money to a future DL consisting of Richardson-Reed-Clark-Jones. That looks like a nice future DL to me, and it will be even better if McDowell ever comes back and plays again.

    If we do keep Richardson for the long-term, how does that affect the priorities for the 2018 draft? Are the main targets still TE, OL, and LB? Either way, the next offseason will be an interesting one for sure.

    • FuzzyLOgic

      I think our targets would still include a CB too.

  4. Deryck

    I think it will be difficult to retain Graham, Richardson, and Clark beyond 2018. Maybe a one year deal for one of Graham or Richardson (or franchise tag) could be in play.

    Here’s something I’ve been wondering though since the trade news came on Friday. The decision to resign Richardson could impact the decision to resign Clark. I think it’s undoubtedly harder to find interior pass rush guys like Richardson than explosive edge rushers like Clark. I’m a big Frank Clark fan but I don’t think he’s an exceptionally rare player in the way Richardson is. There’s a lot of guys in the league that can get pressure from the edge.

    At the end of day could PC and JS rely on their ability to draft a solid edge rusher and let Frank walk while accumulating a third round compensatory pick? I don’t think that’s out of the question.

    • FAN Person

      Good point. It’s CraZy how many scenarios John Schneider has to and does go through.

    • Rob Staton

      Not out of the question but I thinking clark has the potential to be special. Plus Bennett and Avril’s salaries will be off the books possibly within 2-3 years.

      • FAN Person

        Looking at the bigger salaries today, as much as I love him, Cliff Avril is the most likely sacrifice to keep Sheldon, and perhaps Jimmy…

        Perhaps Avril would do a one year extension to reduce his cap, but he- even at 31-32, is still making plays.
        With only $500K in dead money too, they could release him.

        The only other clear player contract to move is Jeremy Lane in 2018… $6 mill due, $2.5 Dead, trading him seems the only real solution…

        I want Sheldon and Jimmy to Stay Here! We Shall see… So Be It

        • Rob Staton

          They don’t need to sacrifice Avril to keep Graham and Richardson. That’s the point of the article, to highlight how such moves aren’t necessary.

    • AlaskaHawk

      REally think the Seahawks should try to keep both Richardson and Clark. That would be half of a great defensive line for many years

  5. Nathan_12thMan

    Franchise tag is a dangerous tool with Sheldon. He has proven to be a malcontent with the Jets and I imagine he wants his big, fat, long deal in ’18, not ’19. You F-tag him and I wouldn’t be shocked if he held out and became much less pleasant to have in the locker-room. Now if we can use the tag to negotiate a better deal for the team than he’d get in open FA, then do it.

    • FAN Person

      Imagine Seattle wins the Super Bowl, he has a ring…

      Why leave then? Even Playoff experience without a ring makes the jets experience a joke!

      He will fall in love with his new home, the Dline guys, and it will work out!!!

      • drewdawg11

        Then he’d have accomplished that goal and maybe he sets out to get paid. Makes more sense that he would chase the money if the ring has been earned.

    • cha

      Definitely will be interesting to see what they can get done with Richardson. JS has talked Bennett and Avril into signing market-friendly deals in the recent past. Can he do the same with Richardson?

  6. Trevor

    I think you can build a defense around Richardson, Mcdowell, Reed, Jones and Clark on the DL. Plus they still have Bennett another couple of years after this one to mentor the young guys.

    If the can re-sign Richardson and extend Clark then go Edge Rusher in Rd #1 you could have a young DL that would be the best in the league. Mcdowell coming back healthy and motivated really is the key.

    One of the reasons I was really hoping we would keep Desir and develop another long outside CB is that I really dont see them extending Sherm. I think ET will be the priority on the back end.

    • FAN Person

      Agree Trevor. Seems letting Avril go saves $7 million next year with only $500K in DEAD money.

      Trading him would obviously be an option.

      Lane is the biggest obstacle. If he plays well this year, All Good!!!

      If Lane struggles, then he has a $2.5million DEAD money hit…if you can’t trade his $6 million salary.

      Either way, like Rob pointed out, we have PLENTY of cap space to work some magic!

      Who knows, maybe they do a ‘Doug Baldwin’ restructure with Russell Wilson!

      Excited to See… Game Time!!! Let’s go CRUSH GB in lambo for the first time since 1999!!!!!

      Go Hawks!

  7. DC

    A Sherman trade is a real possibility in 2018. That frees up $11M and recoups some draft capital. It undoubtedly weakens the team next year. As painful as it would be to see, should they perform, keeping both SR and Clark is a top priority. Not to mention they are both young.

    • Trevor

      If Pete feels they have a CB1 in Griffen then I agree for sure because I think there is Zero chance they re-sign Sherm the following year.

  8. Aaron

    Given the iffy situation surrounding Malik McDowell, it seems highly likely that they’d try to keep Richardson. However, if he’s an All Pro or Pro Bowler he’s gonna command $18mil a year at least. I still think it’s 50/50 on them keeping him past this year. However, pass rushing DTs are so rare that every effort must be made to keep him. He’s only 26 so we can expect he’s got at least five great years left in him. So excited to see what a Bennett, Avril, Clark, and Richardson combo looks like.

    • CharlieTheUnicorn

      If he is an ALLPRO / PROBOWLER this year, he will be making north of 20M+ per season. Perhaps he will like playing in Seattle and playing in the playoffs…. and take a hometeam discount of say 16M 😉

  9. Kenny Sloth

    Nice work on a supremely relevant topic.

  10. CharlieTheUnicorn

    I seem to recall that the NFLPA and NFL cut a deal for the salary cap to go up more than normal the last few seasons (2016/2017), but anticipate the cap would not go up very much starting in 2018 (?)… part of a grievance involving the lockout year / uncapped year from a few years ago.

  11. Brseahawks

    Nice work but I don’t see this Graham or Richardsom scenario just yet. I think the Seahawks wants to have their number of priority FA cut down to 3: Graham, Joeckel or Richardson. Russ already saves this team so much OL money, don’t think they’ll dare to “steal from the offense” to pay Richardsom. The defense will have to pay for itself, and for this to happen, two things are necessary:

    – Seattle to find a suitor for Jeremy Lane salary before the deadline. Would probably need to be a playoff team with a serious down to their CB depth. This way they benefit not just from the relieving of Lane’s salary but also from the rollover from 2017 to 2018.
    – Seattle to find a team in need of a cheap veteran help in Cliff Avril for 2018 to save us 7.5 mil. This is the easiest part.

    That and the Seahawks’ native ~30 mil in capspace, plus those shedding, plus the natural opening of the cap might put the Seahawks in around 45-50 million in space nexf season, enough to extend two of the three I listed and space to make early extensions for the prioritized ones of Thomas, Wright, Clark, Lockett, Rawls (?), Glowinski (?). I assume they let Sherman walk after 2018.

    • Brseahawks

      This also sets up the Seahawks 2018 drafting priorities to:

      -> TE or OL: depending on who leaves between Graham or Joeckel;
      -> CB for the dealings of Lane, Thorpe and leverage for the need of letting Sherman go;
      -> LB for leverage if we need to let KJ Wright go;
      -> Nickel EDGE to fill the void that Avril would leave;
      -> WR to leverage Lockett;
      -> Extra OL to keep replenishing this unit.

      The Seahawks defensive core for 2019 and forward would have to be:
      DL: Clark, Richardson and Reed (and Naz Jones and maybe Malik McDowell);
      LB: Wagner and a 2018 pick.
      DB: Thomas, Chancellor and Griffin (and draft picks made down the road).

      The problem is: Clark, Richardson and Reed as the next generation of Avril, Bennett and Mebaneis a sweet thing on paper, but these three youngsters aren’t nearly as reliable to stay out of off field trouble as the vets from 2013-2014 runs.

    • Dylanlep

      Good post Br, man when you list Graham, Joeckel, Richardson my first thought was one of these is not like the others. As in Joeckel is jag and Graham and Richardson are elite talents. They would clearly be the priority in my mind. Assuming Fant comes back healthy (as it appears he will), then Odhiambo just slides inside to LG. Let Joeckel walk.

      • Thy Hawk is Howling

        Calling Joeckel a JAG? We all know he was formerly a Jacksonville JAGuar so isn’t he now a SEA? Am I missing something? Psyche!

        Go Hawks

        • Joe

          JAG = Just A Guy, an average replacement player

          • Thy Hawk is Howling

            I know! I was just having a Laugh! It was too easy of a play on words one of my personal favourites!

            Honestly calling an NFL player Just A Guy is quite disrespectful I believe. These players all work their tale’s off and deserve to be treated with respect as Footballer’s for their effort!

            These so called JAG’S have name’s

      • Trevor


  12. KyleT

    I think this article presents a great perspective on what could happen. I would pump the brakes on all the responses to thi article about what we can and cannot do with players like Clark, Avril, etc. JS has made it clear he will pay/keep the top N players regardless of position. The amount of money becoming available in 2019 is unprecedented in the PCJS era, when looking at it now and what’s currently on the books. I’ve been building a 2018-2019 financial model based on OTC data to figure It off-season needs for 2018 and it’s a crazy number of scenarios when you consider contracts up in 2018 and the last year deals likely to be torn up.

    Some of the big questions are more likely around whether you extend Wright, Lockett? Do we pay any RB’s? Do we pay any other OL? And I’m assuming we extend Clark, Avril, Graham, Thomas, Sherman.

    The answer to these questions come down to how people play in 2017. We could absolutely pay a bunch of these players, but will we? How will this season unfold? What script will be written?

  13. nichansen01

    Rumors are flying around the Malik McDowell may be retiring from football.

    Also, UCLA’s Tight End Caleb Wilson looks like a possible Jimmy Graham replacement. New Wilson to Wilson connection?

    • millhouse-serbia

      “There is talk inside the league that #Seahawks draft pick Malik McDowell may never play again, he’s really hurt” via Lombardi’s Podcast

    • Ukhawk

      Be nice to know exactly what his injury is, why all the secrecy esp on Mcdowells part. Is there a lawsuit or insurance claim pending ?

      • C-Dog

        I think , by law, the team cannot comment on specifics about the injuries, since they are non football related, and the family of Malikhas requested that they don’t disclose the specifics. I think the inference is there that the injuries are pretty severe and that he is nowhere close to being able to play football again anytime soon. Speculation could include motor skills, possible brain damage and all kinds of stuff, but unless someone in the know has leaked anything out, it’s speculation.

    • Kenny Sloth

      I doubt the injury will stop him from playing beyond this year.

      I don’t like Lombardi

      • AlaskaHawk

        If it does it will be the second player drafted and lost before preseason. I’m thinking of that offensive linemen with the heart problem. The Seahawks treated him pretty well, my recollection is he got paid for the season.

        • cha

          Garret Scott.

  14. Thy Hawk is Howling

    Hey Boys and SheHawk(I imagine other Sea Gals read this blog also). Well I just found this at the Library archives okay I was online. This kid Jake Olsen lost both of his Eye’s by the age of 12 due to the indiscriminating painful affects of cancer. He was the long snapper in USC’s game this weekend. I hope they trust him again when the game is close!

    What an Amazing, brave, courageous, and inspiring young Man!

    It’s okay to get emotional for it makes you truly feel Alive!

    Go Jake!


    • Thy Hawk is Howling

      You don’t need the physical ability to see with your eye’s to have Vision!

  15. C-Dog

    If Seattle has a serious interest in extending Sheldon Richardson, I think that they probably figure a way to make that work. With Graham, Carroll have referred to him as a player that they want to keep around for a long time. At first, I had the assumption that it might likely be one or the other, but this paints a clearer picture. This kinda brings it back to my first initial thought that Seattle doesn’t trade its second round pick for Richardson to not makes long term deal happen.

    Can’t keep them all, but Seattle has shown a consistent ability to retain their premier players.

    • Thy Hawk is Howling

      Well worded C-Dog! We shall find out very soon how Sheldon enhances our Defense. Rob has mentioned quite alot what a unique and rare dominating inside DT would do to make us even more powerful of a team. We’ll now we have one and I forsee complete dominance!

      If I had to choose two out of Richardson, Clark, and Graham I would go with the Defensive Linemen. However I just got this feeling that we’ll find a way to keep all three!

      Go Death Row

      • Thy Hawk is Howling

        I swear I know the difference between We’ll and Well.

        Go edit button!

        Go Hawks

        • C-Dog

          Go edit button!

    • NicotineJones

      Whenever Schneider has previously traded a high pick for a player, the plan has been to keep them long-term.

      • C-Dog


  16. Ukhawk

    I believe there is a possibility Graham may not be extended. He doesn’t look nearly as explosive nor as athletic as in years past; and his production esp in the redzone is poor. Lots of scenarios but ultimately will boil down to who plays well & is deserving and who isn’t.

    • Rob Staton

      Not sure that I agree he looks less explosive. To me he looks as good as he always has.

      • D-OZ

        He is healthier this year. He look’s fantastic to me!!!! Ready for a great year from JG….

        • C-Dog


    • Alex6674

      Don’t forget though that he has not been fully functional as a Hawk for long spells due to iniury; and also, you can’t blame him for Bevell’s pervcevied misuse of him in the red zone. Plus, the Hawka passing game is not as extravagent as the Saints, so with one or two exceptions wherever he ended up he would have a drop of in production compared to when he was in NO. But I still think close to 1000 yards last season is a good return for a TE. Maybe without Kearse around Jimmy will be more inclusive in red zone options this year.

      Probably going to be a thread but I want to get my prediction out early for the GB game – there is no way the Hawks lose this one. Not after the debacle in GB last season. ET is going to lay down some Chancellor type hits and take a soul or two, making anyone pay for his injury last season!. To say they will be fired up for revenge wouldn’t even come close. Score wise? It will be close on the numbers but not really a reflection of what happens on the pitch.

      • AlaskaHawk

        I love your prediction. But somewhere in cheese head land there is someone making the exact opposite prediction!!!

        I am hoping for first of all = no injuries. Will be a hard hitting game in what is a rivalry. Yes I think Green Bay is a rivalry – and I can guarantee you the Green Bay fans hate the Seahawks in a competitive way.

        My question is, what will the two teams offensive strategies be? Lots of passes from Green Bay? Rodgers can pick defenses apart? Heavy on the run game for Seahawks? We got three backs that are ready to run. And someday Rawls will be worked into the scheme.

        Any thoughts on game strategy?

        • Alex6674

          Haha yeah you are probably right!

          Well I would think that we run the ball a lot early on. If pre-season accounts are accurate RW3 is injury fre and fully mobile. Establish the run and set up the play-action and read option plays. Keep the GB offense off the field, put less strain on our D. I don’t know what GB’s pre-season has gone like or where the issues of concern they have are. But I would think that whoever is their lead back they won’t be able to run like Montgomery did last year on us.

          For me it will be like the Falcons regular season game last year where we dominated for 3 quarters then had a couple of costly lapses. Only this time they won’t be so costly!

          I don’t like predicting scores…………..but on this one 31-24 Hawks, with two of GB’s scores coming late in the 4th.


  17. D-OZ


  18. Forrest

    If all three of Clark, Graham and Richardson have monster years, then I think Clark and Graham take priority simply because of familiarity with the system, and Richardson will likely be looking for a Goliath contract. Either way, I think those three are the priority targets next season. Willson also has to factor in as he only resigned for one season; both Willson and Graham leaving would leave a huge hole at TE.

    Also, what if P-Rich has a amazing season? Does the FO prioritize him over the other three? There’s a lot to consider. Moving older players (on defense), and letting the 1 year contract guys go seems like the best bet. I personally see the Lacy, Joeckel, McDougald, etc. 1 year contracts as “one and done” deals (Richardson is a little different). They may keep someone if they really standout, but otherwise I think they let them walk. I also think Lane and one of Avril or Bennett will be cut or traded by next season. Both Bennett and Avril have gas left in their tanks, but how much? If Sherman remains a distraction I could also see him traded away.

    In my view the team is on the cusp of greatness offensively (think 2nd half of 2015), and the defense is on the cusp of regression (from dominance (not this year though)). Provided he maintains his effectiveness, Graham helps push the offense into greatness. LB and the DB positions have been revitalized a bit, but they still rely on the same core starters. The DL is really deep (this year), but how long can Bennett and Avril prevail, and how many of the younger guys can be retained?

    The core guys that I believe must be kept for future success are:

    Wilson, Baldwin, Graham, Britt, (insert best RB this season here), and Lockett on offense. Graham is the only immediate concern.

    Clark, Richardson(?), (young DL guys in general), Wagner, Wright, Thomas, Chancellor, and Sherman on defense. Richardson and Clark are the two priorities.

    • Brseahawks

      Theoretically you could dish Clark and Richardson big contracts in the same time. Make Richardson’s deal back loaded with tons of incentives and low guaranteed money from year 2 and on. Make Frank Clark deal front loaded, and trade Cliff Avril to a pass rush hunger AFC team and make it work.

      I might not believe Graham is a core piece at this point. Great player indeed, came back out of shape last season because of injury amd still put up close to 1k yards… Monster. But I see that as luxury at this point compared to continuity and veteran presence in the OL, at this point. Time to start thinking on analysing closely the merit of going him over a guy likr Joeckel for Russell Wilson and the run game happiness.

      If P-Rich has a killing season, let prople pay him and net a comp pick. This guy is good but the opposite of reliable.

      • Forrest

        See, I think Graham is more than a luxury chess piece for the offence. If Willson or Vannett were the heir apparent then I’d agree with you, but Willson has been really quiet (will probably be gone next year), and Vannett doesn’t have the playmaking ability of Graham.

        The only reason I mentioned P-Rich is because Seattle has a habit of rewarding its players, and if P-Rich had a monster season I could see a deal from Seattle (especially if Graham and Willson leave).

        Agree with your first point fully.

    • Rob Staton

      If Richardson wants a Goliath contract, they can just franchise him.

      • FAN Person

        Exactly. Sheldon might be pissed about being Franchised, but he would still make either $8.45 as a DT, or $11.175 as a DE…

        So if nothing else, we can at LEAST have Sheldon for basically 2 years $16 million… Great Value!

        Plus if Malik plays at least next year 2018 WITH Sheldon, we see if Malik has “it” and he learns from the best…

        Then would could franchise for a third year, or just so we could trade him and get a pick/picks back that SAME year… Many Options!

        • red

          We could use the tag on Richardson then negotiate a new contract if we can not come to terms trade him off the tag for second or third maybe.

      • Forrest

        True, but depending on how he plays this year he may become Moody and malcontent if he gets franchised. I just don’t want another Harvin lockeroom situation. I think it will work out.

        • Rob Staton

          I don’t see any reason to fear such a situation. Worry about that when it happens.

          • Forrest

            Just friendly conjecture on my part ☺

  19. Ishmael

    I wonder if there’s scope for Wilson to take a smaller salary, but then set up companies that he owns that the club can pay/promise him a sneaky side deal for when he retires – a percentage of team ownership of similar. Go the Tom Brady route.

  20. Redhawk87

    While there are deals the Seahawks can do between renegotiations and trades/cuts, the Seahawks true usable cap space for extensions is $17M, to spend on filling 11 roster spots, before any additional adjustments are made. You can read about it here if you wish a more in depth view:
    Rob as you said they have options to increase that amount, but this is how much they can allot for re-signings before any action is made. I wanted to add this in to provide a more accurate salary cap picture, so we can better understand and theorize about JS decisions now and in the future.

    • Kenny Sloth

      Cap increase?

      • Redhawk87

        This accounts for the cap going up to $178M in 2018, from $167M this year.

  21. dean

    Hello Rob can you give your thought’s on the newest Seahawks how they fit : Jarron Jones OT(Tom Cable new project??) like the NYG or DT while at Notre Dame. 6’6 320 with 35-inch arms . linebacker Austin Calitro ,offensive lineman Isaiah Battle (Tom Cable new project??)6’6″ 312-pounds with 35-inch arms and slot/cornerback Justin Coleman

  22. Josh

    Isn’t the question more about Clark and Richardson? If the defense is as dominant as it should be, both will want/need new deals and both could be extremely expensive. Clark will have 1 year remaining, but if he puts together another 10+ sack season he’s going to want $14m+ IMO. If Richardson has another 2014 type 8 sack season, he’s going to be looking at $18m+. There is no way they will overload the contracts to the defensive side of the ball that way IMO. In 2018 the contracts are already $84m on the defensive side. It would require cutting some guys to make it work.

    • AlaskaHawk

      What teams would take them at that price?? Who has the cap space? I’m curious. Seems like Oakland had a lot of cap space last year. Jets are rebuilding and just dealt him. Who else?

      Detroit Lions will have 66 million. They have a history of finding good defensive linemen and poaching off the Seahawks (Golden Tate). They also like good receivers.

      • FuzzyLOgic

        Remember Sheldon has never even sniffed the playoffs or been on a team like this before. There is no way he is just mediocre on our line. He may even be the best player on our line. Jimmy is Russel’s best friend on the team and he is the only legit big target so I don’t think we let him go. Can we replace him with another TE in the draft…maybe.

        For me I like to look at how much of an impact on game days our players seem to make on a regular basis. Put this into perspective along with how hard it would be to replace them with another player who would be almost as effective or hopefully just as effective. How do you even come close to getting a player in the draft if you are not in top 15 of Sheldon’s position and ability? The dude is a freakin unicorn in this league. We have our own slightly less version of Aaron Donald now….Let’s just let him walk.

        • Sea Mode

          Well said, Logic.

          We can only hope that having experienced his first 3 years in the NFL on a dumpster fire team will convince Sheldon to take a couple million less in order to stick with a contender.

          • FuzzyLOgic

            Hopefully so. But even if he doesn’t take a team friendly deal I still think we should keep him. Chances are in next 3-5 years we won’t have another of his ilk. For this season at least we can see what a guy like him can do for us….maybe I’m wrong.

  23. Volume12

    I’m wondering if fans will do the same thing with Richardson that they have for Jimmy Graham. Meaning….

    A lot of fans complain about his play. Jimmy wasn’t JUST brought in to do the things he does so well. One of the biggest benefits of adding him was it opened everything up for Doug Baldwin to thrive even more. How does this relate to Richardson?

    Michael Bennett. Those are 2 of the premier interior rushers in the game. NFL O-lines and offensive coordinators won’t be able to double team both of them. One of them is gonna get 1 on 1 matchups. So if Bennet or even Clark for example are the ones to see a big/huge spike in production this year will those same fans feel the same way?

    I’m fascinated by narratives just for the sake of narratives. 😉

    • Greg Haugsven

      I agree about Graham opening things up for Baldwin. Just look at Baldwins numbers the last 2 years since Jimmy has been here.

      • Volume12

        Yup. And now that teams realize Baldwin is in fact an elite receiver it’ll open things up for Lockett. And same thing if Clark is one the benefit the most from Richardson’s addition. Teams will realize just how good he is and the next guy will get 1 on 1 opportunities to shine. Its a domino effect.

    • cha

      I agree but I tend to think Richardson showing up will benefit the DB’s just as much or even more than the other DL. The number of bad decisions they’ll force QB’s into should increase dramatically, as they simply don’t know where the rush is coming from on any given down. Many more opportunities for some ball Hawking.

      I could see a scenario where the 4 “Death Row” guys have say “only” around 8 sacks each next year, but the turnovers and resulting field position show marked improvement from previous seasons. Which gives this offense even more options. Which means more pressure on the opposing teams’ offense to keep up. Which means more bad decisions from the QB,etc etc etc

      • FuzzyLOgic

        Good stuff. I agree completely. Remember how good the Niners were with Justin Smith in there? How good the Rams are with Aaron Donald? Take those 2 guys out of those D-lines and are you worried in the least? Nope. Sheldon will be the KEY piece on our line we’ve been hoping for and I think JS would agree.

        • Greg Haugsven

          Thats where its good to not just look at sack totals like most people do. You have to look at pressures and QB hits. Bennett has never really been a high sack guy but he is always up there in pressures and hits.

          • Greg Haugsven

            And you have to love the nickname “Death Row” thats fantastic.

  24. swisshawk

    What do you think will be the priorities in the upcoming draft?

    1. CB; Sherm will be gone in 2 years (age, cost, to outspoken for the FO?) and Lane will be traded or cut after this year. They failed in the 2017 Draft with not getting Rasul Douglas (I think he was the target with the third 3rounder, as someone between Hill and Naz was taken to which the Hawks room reacted negativly)
    2. LB; KJ could also be gone in 2 years time from now. Additionally the depth is, well… They had another fail in the 2017 Draft in my eyes, they allowed SF to take Foster. Should have taken him in a perfect world (sorry King). Position of strength in this draft.
    3. Punter; Ryan is just old, not as good anymore and costs a lot (3.2 mill). I don’t understand why people don’t want to invest a late round pick in a player that gets the ball as much as a punter/kicker on a week to week basis. What did the Hawks accomplish with the 5/6/7 round picks in the last 3 years? Well, maybe Carson (1 out of 10?)
    4. OT; Fant and Ifedi are the long-term starters (at least in the coaches eyes). An upgrade at the right price/for the right player can’t be dismissed. Position of strength in this draft.
    5. DE/NT; Potential depth for the invitable loss of Avril/Benett in the following years, or if the right player drops (some nandi fans out there?). Positon of strength in this class.

    It’s not my purpose to list the priorities equivalent to the capital that should be invested (I don’t want to spend our third pick on a punter, just to be clear)

    Why no…
    …TE? I think they will reup JG and with Vanett and Swoopes as 2+3, I’m ok. Backups don’t really have to be superstars (see Willson last year)
    …Interior OL? Odi-Britt-Pocic will be interior for next 2 years, only depth could be worth investing in (but better draft for tackles).

    • swisshawk

      Side note: This draft will be relatively boring for hawks fan, but the 2019 draft has the potential to be a really funny/interesting one:
      3Comp Joeckel/Graham/Richardson
      3Trade Avril/Sherman/Benett
      4Comp Lacy
      (4Trade KJ/Prosise/Lockett)
      5Comp WR Richardson
      5Trade Lane

      • Volume12

        Early gut feeling says OT, DL, and either a CB or TE. Thing to keep in mind with Seattle when it comes to them drafting for needs? As we know, they’ll select multiple players for those certain position/s.

        When the Seahawks had 3 games last year where they failed to score a TD, I don’t think anyone on this O-line other than Britt is a ‘lock.’

        They’re close and fingers crossed that this is THEE group.

      • C-Dog

        I would think OT might end up being the biggest need, with the Fant set back, but if Odhiambo manages to pull off a decent year at LT and stays relatively healthy, that could definitely change things. IMO, Fant needed to play this year to develop, and I have a bit of a sinking feeling that losing this year of experience can’t be helpful for a guy still pretty green to football.

        DE could also be a big need, in a couple ways. If the team is intent on resigning Richardson and Graham, it might be a challenge to retain Clark, but the team usually finds a way of keeping it’s superstar athletes. The other is the condition of Malik McDowell, and if he’s able to play football again. My guess is that they might have been looking at him as the 5 tech of the future, if not the 3 tech of the future. If he can’t play again, it would be a real shame, and it might force them to dip into that well again.

        If they let Richardson go, that could signal pretty strongly that they think Naz Jones is the 3 tech of the future, and they’re feeling better about Malik McDowell coming back from his injuries, but DT could still be drafted for depth.

        I think CB might be target. I don’t have the sunny vibe that Richard Sherman is going to retire a Hawk. I hope he does, but if we think the team might work out long term deals with Richardson, Graham, and Frank Clark, I find it hard to imagine that they aren’t looking at third contracts of Russell Wilson and Earl Thomas right around the corner. They might feel compelled to draft CB again in 2018, and possibly with the first pick.

        I think LB might be a need target. It will be interesting to see what Garvin is able to do at SAM. I know it’s a bit of a phased out position presently, but if Garvin shows a weakness against the run, offenses might look to expose that, if they want to avoid chucking it all day, and feeling the steady dose of Death Row.

        TE of course if Jimmy leaves, but I kinda like what they got tucked away on the PS with Swoopes.

        Paul Richardson is going to be a FA after the season, and Tyler Lockett’s contract will be up after 2018. Can’t keep everyone, so WR could be a definite need.

        QB could be a need, as a backup to groom behind Wilson.

        So, on the early vibes, I’d say, OT, DL, CB, TE, WR, QB

        • Rob Staton

          I think the Seahawks are at a point now where drafting to keep loading the OL and DL makes sense. And that’s what they’ve been doing really. First pick in 2015 was a DE, first two picks in 2016 were OT and DT and first two picks in 2017 were DL and OL.

          Cornerback and receiver come into play too if the right player is available.

  25. Steve Nelsen

    We can probably realistically expect the cap to grow through 2025.

    I wrote a guest article back in December 2014 about how the projected cap growth would allow Seattle to keep all their “core players” after winning the Super Bowl. Here is the key part of that piece:

    “The 2011 Bargaining Agreement: Perhaps one of the most significant pieces of the 2011 bargaining agreement was a provision tying annual increases in the NFL salary cap to increases in league revenue. You will be forgiven if in all the hype during the two weeks leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII you missed Bill Schrotenboer’s article in USA Today outlining the NFL’s plans to grow revenue from $10 billion in 2010 to $25 billion by 2027. Growing to $25 billion annually will require compound annual growth of about 7 percent which will come from increased media rights to live games, more palatial stadiums, expanded playoffs, and more exposure in more places including smartphones, games in London and more Thursday night games sold to the highest-bidding network. Seattle fans need to be aware of the potential benefits of these changes.

    You can see the effect of revenue growth beginning to manifest in salary cap growth in the table below. A seven percent annual growth would mean an increase of about $10-12 million per year in the salary cap for the next 3-4 years.
    Year Maximum team salary
    2015 $143 million
    2014 $133 million
    2013 $123 million
    2012 $120.6 million
    2011 $120 million ”

    You can see how the revenue growth has pushed the cap up exactly as expected through 2015 and beyond. I don’t know how the NFL revenue growth was last year (ratings were down) but I don’t think revenue was flat so a projected $1 million increase seems low.

    But, don’t forget how Seattle freed up the money to trade for Richardson in the first place by converting some of Doug Baldwin’s salary to a bonus. Cap space is really only half of the equation. The other half is the flexibility of the existing salary. You can convert base salary into bonus to free up cap space. There was a great series of articles on this point years ago. Seattle has a healthy and flexible base team salary.

    There is money to keep all these guys.

    I will email you my stuff Rob.

    • Sea Mode

      Great point on the cap flexibility over mere cap space as the most important factor. The media at large and most fans like to throw out the cap space number, but JS has set himself up with the flexibility to act quickly whenever an opportunity/need presents itself.

    • cha

      Great thoughts Steve.

      Cap flexibility is nice but should be kept like the fire extinguisher – behind glass and labelled “emergency use only.” I agree with the move for Baldwin’s deal to get Richardson on board, but consistent use of this provision can get you in a heap of trouble if not kept in check.

      On that note, would be fascinating to be a fly on the wall and see/hear how Baldwin reacted to this – Hawks converting his salary to bonus $, then trading his close friend with that newfound flexibility. I know he’s a pro, I know he knows it’s a business. And he’s not stupid, he knows pretty much what’s coming when something like that happens, but the human cost would be something to witness.

      • Steve Nelsen

        The biggest danger to this strategy is guaranteeing money to an aging player and then spending it on an extension or free-agent signing to remain competitive when you really aren’t in a championship window. That was the mistake Dallas made by converting Romo’s base salary into bonus several years in a row and going 8-8 every year. At the end of his career Romo was untradeable and uncuttable because of his contract. Dallas hit the lottery by finding a young cheap starter at QB and RB in the same year and bailing out the Dallas front office. They weren’t crippled by Romo’s dead money and didn’t have to go through “salary-cap hell” and rebuild for 3 years.

        Doug Baldwin and Russell Wilson are both young enough and good enough to consider this strategy. Seattle has a loaded core right now. Some guys are in the back half of their career, but nobody looks to be in their last productive year. Barring injury, this core could run another year after this season at least.

  26. vrtkolman

    Big news about a prospect that was considered with the Seahawk’s first draft pick –

    Michael Gehlken‏Verified account

    Raiders S Obi Melifonwu been placed on injured reserve. Had knee surgery, sources say.

    Ouch, big loss in his development.

  27. FuzzyLOgic

    ~ Years of Age ~

    C. Avril 31
    M. Bennett 31
    J. Graham 30
    R. Sherman 29
    K. Chancellor 29

    Many of our other guys are 28 or younger which isn’t a problem. Sherm and Kam I believe can play 2-3
    more solid years and maybe Jimmy. Avril and Bennett are gone after 2 years for sure….and if not they will
    be role players. These I believe are guys we need to replace in the draft in the next few years. As well as
    a RT and a big WR if possible.

    • FuzzyLOgic

      So in other words….We need to address Edge Rusher, TE, CB, SS, RT & WR. IMHO

      • Greg Haugsven

        The Defense is definitely starting to get long in the tooth. We do have Reed, Clark and may be Richardson for the future and hopefully McDowell and with some luck Nazir Jones to replace Bennett and Avril so we might be good on the DLine. Maybe Delano Hill to replace Kam. Sherman could be the tough one to replace. If Earl can stay around for awhile and we can slowly replace the LOB that would be ideal.

        • Greg Haugsven

          Graham could be the interesting one. He spent some time talking with Tony Gonzalez about longevity and he said to keep playing at a lighter to weight. This can protect the knees over time of carrying a big load. Maybe he plays at a good level until 35 or so?

        • Coleslaw

          All fingers crossed to Quill Griffin being a star from day 1. He hasn’t really been tested deep too much but he’ll see plenty of that vs Aaaron Rodgers

    • Rob Staton

      I think we’re fine with those guys for now. The positions I think to focus on at the moment are O-line (again), receiver, cornerback, keep looking at running backs and D-line (can’t have too many).

      • FuzzyLOgic

        PCJS don’t think CB is a 1-2 round priority it seems. I’m hoping for either a stud WR in the 1st or maybe even a RB even though it seems we are pretty deep right now. I agree we’re good with those older guys right now but it usually takes time for rookies to become the next in line type of guys…..especially the guys we are replacing them with. Let’s just move up and get Saquon Barkley 🙂

  28. Alexander Hudson

    Rob, I believe the current numbers for the team’s 2018 cap assume the 2018 cap is set at $178 million. I just added the cap liabilities, $147 million, to the projected cap space, $31 million, to get that number. So OTC already assumes a rise in the cap similar to what we’ve seen in recent years, and it’s unlikely the team’s 2018 cap space will be much higher than $31 million. Although in principle that (coupled with cutting Lane for an additional $5-6 million) would probably be enough to re-sign Richardson and Graham, I think the main issue is that the 2018 cap projection only includes 36 players. Even if you figure 9 rookies make the team (same as this year), that leaves 8 spots to fill, or 7 after re-signing Richardson and Graham while cutting Lane. (Credit to Redhawk87 for pointing out these issues above.)

    So in all likelihood they’d have to get a little creative, and maybe start thinking about moving on from some of the old core. Maybe they’d trade Sherman? That’d save them $11 million and give them additional draft capital.

    • Rob Staton

      Perhaps — but you can save nearly $10m by cutting Lane, Thorpe and Ryan.

      And we’ve seen with the Baldwin contract move this week — they’re willing to get creative to make all this fit. Can also backload some contracts for when the likes of Avril, Bennett etc might’ve retired or moved on.

    • Steve Nelsen

      Russell Wilson has $9.3 million in cap space in 2018 and $17 million in 2019. Unless you are worried that he will not be the Seahawks quarterback in 2019, then you have over $26 million you can use for extensions that is completely separate from any cap growth and doesn’t require cutting anyone.

      The Seahawks’ base salary is so healthy and so solid right now that they can keep all the “core” players including Richardson and Graham and KJ and Sherman.

      The squeeze will fall on the middle class players looking for a second contract just as it has the past 4 years. Don’t worry about keeping core players but be ready to say goodbye to good but not great starters looking for 2nd contracts like Richardson and Glowinski and any backups looking for 2nd contracts.

      • cha

        So if I am getting what you’re saying, the $9.3 and $17m of cap space for RW, the Hawks have flexibility to convert to bonus & spread the hit further out to fit cap $ elsewhere in?

        What about the next RW extension though? The Hawks have to bank some of that room because if Matt Stafford can net $27million/year this year, RW in 2 seasons is going to need at least $30million, unless he decides to Tom Brady his contract.

        • Steve Nelsen

          RW’s contract only goes through 2019 so spreading it out past 2019 would require an extension. But, we know an extension is being planned for by JS.

          Without an extension, they could convert his 2018 salary to bonus and free up $4.6 million in 2018 and push it to 2019.

          If they do an extension going into his final contract year 2019, then they could spread some or all of the 2019 salary of $17 million over the life of the deal.

  29. Jeff

    Seattle as a lot of options, and if Depth At DE continue to be a strength… and i know this sounds crazy but the could trade Avril in the off season, save 7.5 million, and use that money in addition to the money saved by removed lane and Thorpe. And i think that decision might come down to, does the team think it will be easier to replace Avrils production outside or Richardson’s inside.

    Of course the team does have to take into account the possibility of Joeckle playing really well and the desire to sign him to a long term deal. It must also consider PRich who will be a free agent i believe. If he balls out, how do they handle it. How do they handle Lacy and Rawls going forward.

    IMO This off season poses more questions than any in the PC/JS era. Definitely once to keep track of.

    • RWIII

      Agree about the off season. A lot of players on the roster this year the Hawks will not be able to keep. However, this season could be something very special.

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