Seahawks low cap space won’t doom them to a bad off-season

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Running back Chris Carson (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Running back Chris Carson (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /

The Seahawks don’t have much room to maneuver this off-season. That won’t necessarily doom them to a poor talent haul. They always figure it out.

Just how low is the cap space for the Seahawks? At $13.7 million, according to, there are only five teams in worse position. Worst of all is the world champion Philadelphia Eagles, who have managed to amass a total cap space of minus $12.6 million. Yes, that is minus, as in negative or in the red. If you think Seattle will be making roster changes, Philadelphia says hold my beer. I’m pretty sure it would be impossible to find an Eagles fan who minds that a bit, either. It’s all about winning the Super Bowl, after all.

Back to the Seahawks, our favorite sports raptors. They can’t exactly pick up whoever they want, not with that cap. That would be the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland proved the adage, ‘you get what you pay for”. Over $100 million in cap space is ridiculous. Don’t worry, they’ll manage to sign the worst possible contracts to field the worst possible team, as always. It’s terrible, because the Cleveland fans deserve so much better.

Okay, really, now let’s get to Seattle. We’ve mentioned Jimmy Graham – nope, won’t be back – and Sheldon Richardson – it’s going to take some John Schneider financial voodoo to keep him – already. But they are going to have to be very careful about the free agents they do sign. I could just steal the brilliant work of John Clayton, but I’d rather let you read it for yourself. It’s all about compensatory picks. Here, just read what the man says:

"This is the way compensatory picks are distributed: teams get a compensatory pick for each qualifying free agent they lose in free agency. If a team signs three free agents and loses four in unrestricted free agency, it can get a compensatory pick. A team can get up to four compensatory picks if it loses four more free agents than they sign."

The Seahawks don’t need the high-priced spread

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If Graham walks, the Seahawks could pick up a third round compensatory pick for the 2019 draft. Same goes for Richardson. Heck, Luke Joeckel could net a fifth or sixth round pick. With seventeen free agents in all and their low cap space, the Seahawks could net as many as four compensatory picks, the maximum allowed. The trick is, you have to lose more comparable free agents than you gain. So if Seattle lets Jimmy Graham walk, but signs guard Josh Kline, no pick for you, Seattle! The Seahawks could really use Kline, too. Maybe that’s a topic for another day.

Of course getting Kline, my new favorite example, would help Seattle as long as he plays up to his expected value. That would cost the pick, but we get great play in exchange. If he turns out to be mediocre, Seattle could still get a lower round compensatory pick. The problem is, you may drop from a third round pick without Kline to a sixth or seventh rounder with a player that you had to overpay. For the record, I think Kline would be excellent.

The Seahawks don’t need to sign big names. They just need to sign good ones. They’ve done pretty well with low-priced free agents in the past. Dion Jordan epitomized the low risk high reward contract last year. Seattle has done pretty well in the third and later rounds in the draft, too. Remember third round pick Russell Wilson, anyone? Last year’s seventh round sensation, Chris Carson certainly comes to mind as well.

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Those four extra draft picks could be huge for the Seahawks in the 2019 draft. Especially since compensatory picks can be traded. Pete and John have certainly never met a draft pick they didn’t want to package for more. Two third rounders could become four fifth rounders. Free agency is pending in 2019 for Duane Brown, Frank Clark, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas. The Seahawks may need all the picks they can get.