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March 1, 2014 at 3:21 PM

Talking salary cap with OverTheCap.com

The Seahawks’ release Friday of Sidney Rice and Red Bryant was done to try to clear up salary cap space for prospective moves in the future.

Given that, I thought I’d reach out to someone who works for a site I find informative on these matters, Jason Fitzgerald of OvertheCap.com.

Here’s what Fitzgerald wrote about where the Seahawks stand cap-wise following the moves with Rice and Bryant and how it will  impact the attempts to sign free agents Golden Tate and Michael Bennett, whether they might still be looking to release or restructure Chris Clemons and Zach Miller, and more:

“Following the release of Rice (which saved the team $7.3 million) and Bryant (which saved $5.5 million) the Seahawks will have about $17.8
million in cap room. They should only have to set aside around $1.5 million in cap room to cover for rookie draft picks and likely want at least a $6 million cushion come August, so I think a safe spending level is $10-$10.5 million in cap this year without too much worry.

“In theory they could probably keep both (tight end Zach) Miller and (defensive end Chris) Clemons and make things work, but I would imagine that they would also view both as too expensive on the current deals. Clemons is set to earn $7.5 million and Miller $6 million in cash. I believe that ranks both as the 6th-highest real cash earners in 2014 for their respective positions and I have a hard time picturing both staying there, especially since the Seahawks have leverage. At the least I would guess they create an extra $2-$3 million in space with Miller through a reworked deal.

“Seattle does not have too much money tied up in the future — their cap is around $76 million in 2015 — so there should be room to take care of
(Russell) Wilson, (Russell) Okung, (Richard) Sherman, and (Earl) Thomas  over the next two years, especially since they can stagger some of that by extending Sherman and Thomas now. I think they could extend both and defer most of the charges to 2015 and beyond when their cap is more clean. I think extending Sherman is important. The quicker they do it, the more reasonable his number should be. If he gets into (Darrelle) Revis-level numbers then it could be more difficult. The Safety franchise tag is not expensive, so even if no deal is reached with Thomas they can afford him in the future.

“I wouldn’t expect (Golden) Tate to be that expensive. The Eagles just grabbed Riley Cooper at $4.5 million a year and I would think the two are somewhat comparable in terms of value. If they think (Percy) Harvin will play a similar role, they may also play hardball with Tate since they are already in with Harvin. Cooper’s two-year cap charges are just $6.6 million so Tate should have minimal impact on the Seahawks cap even if he earns slightly more.

“Bennett is a trickier one because he maxed his value last season at a premier pay position. If Seattle likes the approach of multiple pass rushers that rotate, I don’t know if they can do that if Bennett gets in that $9-10 million a year range. Last year I had them around $27 million being spent on their rushers and they are already over $22 million even with Bryant’s release.

“My gut feeling is that this is a Clemons or Bennett decision rather than a Clemons and Bennett situation, but if they want to operate tight on their
cap for this year they could keep both if they want. They could always restructure Percy Harvin for cap relief, but considering he has been hurt
for the last two years I would not think they want to touch his contract and move more dead money to future years.”

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