No reason for the Seahawks to release Malik McDowell yet

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Seahawks Malik McDowell
EAST LANSING, MI – OCTOBER 3: Malik McDowell #4 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates after a tackle for loss against the Purdue Boilermakers in the first half at Spartan Stadium on October 3, 2015 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Seahawks have a lot of room to maneuver on this

Briefly, the Seahawks placed McDowell on the NFI  – that is, the Non Football Injury list. As Condotta explains in his excellent article in the Seattle Times:

"NFL rules allow for teams to not pay players any weekly salary (players get paid in 17 installments during the regular season for each game and the bye week) when they are on NFI. Seattle instead decided to pay McDowell $5,000 per seek — or $85,000 for the season — compared to the $465,000 salary he had been due (or $27,352 per week)."

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Notice, teams don’t have to pay players on the NFI any salary. If the Seahawks keep McDowell on the roster, they will still have to pay his pro-rated signing bonus as that was guaranteed. That amounts to just under $800,000. Jump here for his contract details. But as for his 2018 salary, they can pay as little of the $781,156 as they like.

Another unknown factor here is the exact contract language between McDowell and the team. As Condotta writes in a further exploration of the saga, it’s all in the details. Condotta spoke with salary cap expert Joel Corry of to wade through this mess:

"And as Corry also noted, if McDowell is cut prior to June 2, then Seattle doesn’t have any salary cap charges for him in 2019. All of the bonus proration and next year’s $471,843 base salary guarantee will accelerate and go on the 2018 cap regardless of when he is released. While Seattle would get some cap relief with the post-June 1 designation, the downside is that the money does not come off the cap until June 1. But given that we’re now past the major part of free agency that probably isn’t a big deal to Seattle at this point."