I have this grand idea of the Seahawks bringing in free agents like Andrew Norwell, Isaiah Crowell and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Maybe even the more off the radar offensive tackle like Ty Nsekhe. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to happen. John Schneider and Pete Carroll have always been a duo known for building through the draft. This year, with the players likely to leave, we have an opportunity to get three or four compensatory picks. Compensatory pick regulations will limit our foray into free agency. With that in mind, what kind of targets can we 12s expect?
Accumulating Compensatory Picks
"The number of compensatory picks allotted each year is limited to the number of teams in the league (32), per the Collective Bargaining Agreement. However, compensatory picks are not divvied up equally among the teams and no team can receive more than 4 compensatory picks in a single year. To qualify for compensatory picks, teams must end up with more or better compensatory free agents lost than gained in a particular year.Teams are awarded compensatory draft picks in Rounds 3-7 based upon a formula, which is not release by the league, that takes into account a player’s average salary per year (APY), snap count and postseason awards. While there is a general expected level of compensation for a player based upon the amount he has signed for, playing time (or lack thereof), will often alter the expectation by the end of the season. – Lance Zierlein, NFL.com"
The Seahawks have the potential for three or four compensatory picks based on the players expected to leave in free agency this season. Paul Richardson, Jimmy Graham, Luke Willson, Sheldon Richardson and Bradley McDougald all have the potential to return a compensatory pick to Seattle. I don’t envision receiving a pick for Willson, but all the others could. The Seahawks intend to try to resign both Richardson and Bradley McDougald. With Seattle’s limited cap space, though, that isn’t a great possibility. Of this group, I expect only McDougald to be back. That leaves three players that could give Seattle additional picks. Graham and Sheldon Richardson will likely fetch 3rd or 4th round selections. Paul Richardson a 5th or 6th.
Why would this restrict free agency?
The key component mentioned above is in regard to how you actually earn compensatory picks. If you acquire more free agents then you lose, or if you get better players than you lose, you do not receive compensatory picks. Compensation does not figure into this formula. Any player signed cancels out a player lost regardless of the contract the player receives. If Seattle brings in more than four players, Seattle will not receive picks. If Seattle signs two big free agents they will likely remove two compensatory picks.
What types of players are available that won’t cost us draft picks?
Exceptions to the above rule are players who received little-to-no playing time on league minimum contracts and players who were cut by their previous team.
Some of the players cut so far are:
Chris Baker – DT Doug Martin – RB
Jerrell Freeman – LB Vontae Davis – CB
Players with bigger names will get released as the off-season rolls on. These are usually players with large contracts that are not living up to their pay. This is where I believe Seattle will dip their toes into the free agent waters.
Keep hope alive and keep an eye on the waiver wire.