Dec 2, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Seattle Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson (26) catches a pass during the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. The Seahawks won 23-17 in OT. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Who Are The Potential Cap Casualties On This Team?

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.

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  • Eran Ungar

    First – you have mentioned the players salaries as if those are saved from the total cap. The cap is the sum of the top 53 salaries. So, sending a player that makes 1.3M home means we’ll have the 54th player in his place – usually a rookie making 700K a year and saving just 600K from the cap.

    Now, to the list – This HO is going for a championship. We wont have a rookie RG on a championship team. Nor will we send McQ home when he is a veteran and reliable replacement for both LG and LT other then promising rookies.

    Gresham, McDonald and Farrell will probably gone. Scholfield too once Irvine is back or sooner. Maragos – a hard one….i don’t know.

    Robinson – only if he fails to produce.

    Of course – if the season goes to hell for whatever reason – All of the above are out.

    • 12thMan_Rising

      a couple things:
      1) it’s only the top 51 salaries, not the top 53. it’s weird because the rosters are 53, but that’s the way of it. That also includes players on PUP lists and IR, so most teams have 4-5 players on the 53 man roster who don’t count against the cap.

      2) Because of this, the player who is cut is inevitably replaced by someone making less than you suggested. usually the cap number for a 7th round pick is just under 500k. Veteran minimum guys have their cap #reduced to that of a 2nd year player, so it’s usually right around 575k.

      3) keep in mind that the team needs to cut almost 4 million from it’s salary cap this year. someone will have to get cut. At least one of Robinson and McQuistan are more likely to be cut than people want to admit, since that’s the only way to get the cap number down to where it needs to be.

      • Cuenca Guy

        Where do you get the info that they need to cut 4 million from the cap? They still have over 2.6 million in cap space because of the carryover from last year (which will be adjusted down by 500k after workout bonuses accrue).

        They also should save a bit of money naturally (100 to 200k per player) by cutting Quinn (more if they cut Jackson), Brett Swain, Ron Parker, Mike Person, etc. I expect to see Farwell, MacDonald, and possibly Gresham and Maragos gone. While I believe the Seahawks want to cut salary, I see no evidence that they have to.

        • 12thMan_Rising

          The problem with carryover is that sets up a problem for next year. They carried 13 mil over from last year, so they are currently over 10 million above the actual cap.

          Teams have been told to expect the cap to increase only about 1 million for 2014. Doing the math, it means that if they carry over less than 6 mil from 2013 to 2014, then the actual spending in 2014 will be less than it is this year.

          given that the team has a large number of expiring contracts for players expecting to have key roles this year (Winfield, Bennett, Browner, etc.) plus they will need to extend Sherman and Thomas, having to cut significant spending from the team will be a major problem.

          If the team carries over 6 mil or more, then the problem of decreased spending goes away. This is a part of the “3 year plan” that Schneider talks about creating with Matt Thomas, the team’s cap expert.

          • Cuenca Guy

            Ah, got ya. I’ve seen stuff on that, but it’s been a while. I see some confusing numbers looking at charts, but it looks as if the Seahawks will currently have 2.1 million in cap space when all is said and done so they will want to cut 4 million to stay on plan.

            Given the inevitable cuts they’ll have to make to keep some of the smallest contracts around like Sean McGrath, J.R. Sweezy and others around, coupled with the couple million of savings by cutting 2 out of Gresham, Maragos, McDonald, and Farwell means they should still relatively easily be able to get to the cap number they want to without having to cut Robinson or McQuistan. With the injury to Harvin, I think Robinson becomes more of a lock to make the roster, and the depth that McQuistan provides at multiple positions is hard to get rid of.

            If I had to guess, I’d figure those 2 stay on the roster this year, but they along with Giacomini are gone next year with the development of Bailey or Bowie. I also wonder about the possibility they trade a guy like Winfield this year in order to keep all of the depth in their defensive backfield now that Thurmond seems to be finally healthy and impressing. I’ve heard talk he may be the best CB on the team.

          • EranUngar

            I agree.

            While they may want to keep 6-8M rollover – this is a possible championship year and thta comes first.

            The effects of a low rollover for next year may be counter effected by various other steps such as – Miller drops to 7.5M next year. There is no way we pay Rice over 10M in 2014 with a healthy Harvin(if and when) so he’ll have to restruct or be traded/cut. There is a lot of young talent behind well paid vets. You mentioned Giacomini ending his contract and you can add possible young talent replacing Mebane or Red, even Miller or Lynch. Bennet is on a 1 year contract etc.

            I think the FO future plan is complex and includes restructuring of some big contructs as well as cuts or trades. Sherman and Thomas will get thier extention but those will have a big cap effect in 2015 more then 2014. The new cap hits on 2014 will be Browner/Tate/Baldwin/Thurmond.

            I also think that they will keep some option into the year and maybe trade during the year according to the progress.

  • ricefield

    So what happens if Carpenter doesn’t win the LG spot? Are you saying he has to lose the spot? If he does lose does he challenge for the RT spot? Money management seems to make the coach’s job even more difficult.

  • Hawkman54

    Couldn’t Disagree with you more on Breno. After the first few games he got ( Most) of the stupid penalties in order. Until they have a legit player to take over for him , It Makes No Sense to get rid of him- Besides he really wasn’t the problem on the O-line it was ORG!!!!! Carpenter hurt his knee in practice and I just don’t know if he can be trusted enough to let McQuistan go this year.
    They need the O-line to come together , whomever is going to win the spots, for this team will go as far as the O-line allows them to go !!!!!