Seahawks general manager John Schneider is betting on himself for these great reasons

Schneider loves it when a plan comes together.

Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA
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The Seattle Seahawks didn't make a big splash in free agency, but there's a method at play here. No, no madness, something better. It's called building a team.

Just a quick glance at social media will show that many 12s are upset that the Seahawks didn't sign one of the bigger names in the free-agent market this year. No Christian Wilkins, no Danielle Hunter, no Arik Armstead for the Hawks and the loyal 12s.

There's a really good reason for that; money. The Raiders signed Wilkins for four years and $110 million. Hunter signed with the Texans for two years and $49 million, $41 of that guaranteed. Armstead split the difference and got a three-year deal with the Jaguars for $51 million. Hey, at least he's out of San Francisco.

For the Seattle Seahawks, the sum is greater than the parts

Could Seattle have afforded to make one of those deals? Wilkins, probably not, but Hunter or Armstead, sure. But then the trade for Leonard Williams would have been a complete waste, and he's certainly as valuable as any of those guys. The Hawks couldn't have afforded to sign Williams and Hunter, not if they wanted to build a team around them. That's exactly what they're doing with the free agents they've signed, and it's a great strategy.

After releasing Jamal Adams, Quandre, Diggs, et al, the Hawks had about $42 million in cap space to play with. Except, they didn't have all of it, not really. If Seattle stays with every draft pick they have, they'll need to allocate just over $6 million to those draft slots. Well, it's really $8.4 million, but as far as the top-51 cap is concerned, it's $6 mil. The top 51 contracts are all that matters until the regular season begins.

So with just $42 million, John Schneider had to get creative. Thankfully, he agreed with Tyler Lockett to restructure his deal. With Lockett's new contract, Seattle had over $50 million in cap space. Other moves eventually got the Hawks up to about $57 million. Again, that doesn't count the allocation for draft picks. So, not a lot of money. Schneider knew he wanted to keep both Wiliams and tight end Noah Fant. Between the two of them, they swallowed $17.9 million of that cap space (per

Within days, the Hawks were down two starting guards, two starting linebackers, and a starting safety. That's five starters and zero depth at tight end, center, and tackle, well, practically at every position. Clearly, the Seahawks couldn't spend another $9 million on each position, as they'd averaged on their first two signees. Instead of signing name players, they got creative and built a team.