Something that has been alluded toquite a bit lately is that there are going to be cap casualties for the Seahawks before the season starts. While no one should panic that core pieces will be tossed aside, the Seahawks are bound to lose some useful guys in the coming weeks.
Due to the nature of football contracts some players are clearly in a better position to be cut lose than others. For example, Zach Miller has a cap hit of $11 million but cutting him would save the team under a million against the cap. Therefore even though he is overpriced it makes no sense to get rid of him. Not having a viable alternative and the fact that he is a really good player are clearly also factors in the Miller example. I thought today I would look at guys that Seattle could cut that would improve their cap situation.
I looked exclusively at guys I figured had a chance to get cut, specifically those that would provide $1 million or more in salary cap relief. The following players are ranked by the salary cap relief their exit would provide.
Breno Giacomini ($3.5 million)
The first player on this list is unfortunately the least likely to get cut. There are many different opinions about Giacomini but I am firmly in the camp that considers him a waste of space and a dumb penalty waiting to happen. Cutting him would clear up a lot of space but it is pretty unlikely given that he’s the starting right tackle at the moment. However, I’m clinging to reports of Michael Bowie excelling earlier in the off-season and praying. In all seriousness, Giacomini seems safe although I’m absolutely certain there is a better use of $3.5 million dollars out there somewhere.
Paul McQuistan ($3 million)
McQuistan, is reliable, experienced, and versatile. All of those traits are valuable but the Seahawks need to decide if they are worth the rather bloated price tag. Given James Carpenter’s durability issues McQuistan is not a bad insurance policy at left guard, but this is a lot to pay for an insurance policy. Also it seems like the loser of the Sweezy/Moffit battle to start at right guard could probably shift to the left. I’m on the fence about this one and I imagine the Seahawks front office might be as well. However, all it’ll take to make McQuistan utterly expendable is for some younger cheaper options to demonstrate growth and flash some potential in training camp and the preseason.
Michael Robinson ($2 million)
Michael Robinson is one of the best lead blocking fullbacks in the NFL. However, given that the position is going the way of the dodo, that claim isn’t as impressive as it used to be. Not only are fullbacks on the decline, but the Seahawks have a younger cheaper candidate at fullback in Spencer Ware. I hope Robinson sticks around because I think he is a fit for what this offense likes to do. He is reliable in both blocking and catching the ball and I love to see gadget plays where he throws once in a while. I would be surprised if he goes. It’s hard for me to say anything definitively because I’m not in the locker room, but he really does seem like a “glue guy” on this squad.
Heath Farwell ($1.33 million)
Heath Farwell is very effective in his highly specialized kick coverage role but his salary cap hit is kind of absurd for someone in his position. He’s also on the wrong side of 30 and one would have to think that he can be replaced by a younger, cheaper, more athletic guy.
O’Brien Schofield ($1.32 million)
The Seahawks just claimed Schofield off of waivers but as Keith pointed out he is really going to have to flash something as a pass rusher to stick around. The Seahawks have a lot of potential LEO/rush line backer types on this team and most of the options to provide depth at the position are cheaper than Schofield. Coming into the draft in 2010 Schofield was very well regarded talent-wise but had major durability issues. He does have 8.5 sacks in the last two years and started 9 games with the Cardinals last year so it’s not like he’s done nothing since he reached the NFL. Schofield will be a very intriguing guy to watch as the off-season progresses.
Clinton MacDonald ($1.32 million)
MacDonald has been passable as a rotational DT with some upfield burst, but the undersized lineman just hasn’t produced many big plays in his two years with Seattle. He has no sacks, one pass defended and one fumble recovered in his last 29 games with the Seahawks. Given the influx of talent at this position I doubt there will be a spot for MacDonald, but he may be able to cling to a roster spot if Jesse Williams misses time with knee problems.
Clint Gresham ($1.32 million)
Clint Gresham is a long snapper. This is too much money for a long snapper. The Seahawks recently signed a long snapper who costs far less (Kyle Nelson for $435K per year). I don’t think Gresham sticks around.
Chris Maragos ($1.32 million)
Maragos is the only true backup to free safety Earl Thomas on this team. He is also a special teams contributor. He would seem to be pretty safe. However, there isn’t a great deal that is special about him and if someone else this front office liked was in another team’s final cuts I don’t think they’d hesitate to drop Maragos. He is also a bit pricey for what you are getting; meaning John Schneider might be actively looking for a replacement. I know I would.
Almost all the players on this list could be reasonably replaced by a player making half their salary without making the 2013 Seahawks much worse. That makes them expendable and puts them in a dangerous position. I would be surprised if more than half of them were in Seattle when the 2013 season kicks off. Personally, I’d like to keep Michael Robinson but I would understand if Spencer Ware stepped it up and he got cut. I have to say I don’t feel strongly about any of the other guys here, so I won’t be heartbroken when the axe falls on the players in this group. I’m not going to make any firm predictions on who stays and who goes here but I will say that if I were any of these guys I’d be more than a little nervous.