Jan 6, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons (91) lies on the ground after being injured against the Washington Redskins in the fourth quarter in the NFC Wild Card playoff game at FedEx Field. The Seahawks won 24-14. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Seahawks Face A Tough Decision At Defensive End

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Yesterday, I made the mistake of looking at the contract for Chris Clemons. If I could go back, I’d force my self not to look. Seriously, I wish I hadn’t.

It’s not huge, especially for a player with his production. In fact you could argue that he’s underpaid if you compare his contract so some of his peers.

So why, you might ask, do I wish I hadn’t looked? Because there’s a problem.

Clemons will count $8.16 million against the cap in 2013, and will almost certainly miss at least the first 10 games of the year. That is, unfortunately, not smart way to use your salary cap space. Especially if his injury pushes the Seahawks to sign another DE (John Abraham perhaps) to a fairly large contract to try and offset his absence.

Look, I am not, in any way, advocating that the Seahawks release Clemons. I advocated for the Seahawks to get him his new deal when it was time. And would love to see him retire as a Seahawk. I believe that John Schneider and Pete Carroll agree, and want to keep him on the roster.

I also know that they might not have a choice. The Seahawks are gearing up for a run at a Super Bowl. They need to fix the pass rush, and it might not be able to be done on the cheap. It’s quite possible that the Seahawks will get to a point where they need that cap space to sign another player, and can’t find it in any other way.

This is one of those unfortunate aspects of a salary cap league. Resources are limited. Tying up a bunch of those resources in a player who you know wont be playing just isn’t using your resources wisely.

It would be an easier choice If Clemons was locked up long-term, but he’s not. He only has 2 years remaining, and one of those being the this next year when he’s unlikely to play much. So keeping him with his current contract would be  handcuffing them this year just to get one more year of his services.

Basically what I’m saying is don’t be surprised if something changes. Releasing Clemons would be the most extreme of all the options, and likely would be a “last resort” measure.

More likely is that the Seahawks will rework his contract. Adding a year would make sense as long as it allowed the team to drastically reduce his cap number in 2013. The could even simply ask him to take a pay cut for this season since he wont be playing much, but they’d also have to be willing to deal with the situation if he says “no” to that request.

Ultimately, I don’t have the answer. I want Clemons to remain with the team, but I understand that using 6.5% of your total cap space on the player you know ahead of time wont be playing also doesn’t make much sense.

Clearly, the Seahawks have a tough decision to make here. I’m just glad I’m not the one who has to make it.

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