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Former Husky Kevin Smith Standing Out with Seahawks

August 20, 2015
Kevin Smith has been dubbed "One-A-Day" for seemingly catching at least one TD at practice every day.

Kevin Smith has been dubbed “One-A-Day” for seemingly catching at least one TD at practice every day.

I wrote about Kevin shining for the Seahawks earlier in the week. Today, John Boyle with Seahawks.com got a chance to catch up with the former Husky.

While the Seahawks were on their way to another NFC championship last season, receiver Kevin Smith was back home in Southern California working a slightly less glamorous job than he might have hoped coming out of the University of Washington.

“I was working at FedEx at a warehouse unloading and loading trucks,” Smith said. He then noted, “but I always felt like that was something temporary at the time, just something to keep me busy.”

Smith doesn’t have time for a warehouse job right now, because he is back with the Seahawks for his second training camp, and looking very much like a player who has a chance to stick around in the NFL for longer than three weeks of training camp this time around.

After going undrafted out of Washington in 2014, Smith first signed with Arizona, then after a brief stint with Jacksonville, he signed with Seattle, where he spent camp before being cut prior to the final preseason game. No teams called after that, so Smith went home, got a job, and kept working out knowing he would make the most of the next chance, wherever that might come. Smith was in talks with an Arena Football League team about a contract, but that deal was never finalized because the Seahawks called offering another shot.

Smith is part of a deep position group, and winning a spot on the 53-man roster, or even the practice squad, is far from a given, but he has impressed his coaches in his second go-around with the Seahawks. After two solid weeks of camp, Smith really caught Pete Carroll’s eye in Seattle’s preseason opener, catching two passes for a team-high 36 yards, including a very impressive catch on a ball thrown behind him across the middle of the field.

“Gosh, he sure did,” Carroll said when a reporter mentioned Smith making some nice catches. “He had two great plays and good finishes on catches. It was really cool to see that. He has been really active in camp and done very, very well for us. The catch on the one behind him was a fantastic grab to hang on, and he got whacked, too, so a good showing.”

Two days later, Carroll’s take on Smith’s game hadn’t changed after watching film: “Kevin Smith played really well. Yeah, he had some really nice catches and tough plays that he made. It was cool to see him.”

For Smith, it’s nice that his coach is noticing his play, but he isn’t letting that praise go to his head. If he is going to follow in the footsteps of fellow Husky Jermaine Kearse, who went from undrafted to NFL starter, Smith knows he has to focus on each practice, each meeting and each walk thru, and not worry about the nice plays he made a week ago or dream about what his future might hold.

“That’s always a good thing coming from the head guy, but all I’m looking for is one day at a time,” he said. “You can’t worry too much about the future or looking back… I’m doing a better job taking it one day at a time now than I was last year.”

The other change for Smith is easy enough to spot when you look at him up close—he has slimmed down quite a bit from playing at 225 pounds last summer. Smith said he was down to 197 pounds this spring, and carrying less weight is paying off in the form of more speed and agility.

“He was a little bit heavy last camp, and then he took his fitness very seriously,” receivers coach Dave Canales said. “He slimmed down, he’s explosive, he makes great plays on the ball, and his best attribute is that he’s really reliable and consistent. He’s been able to be versatile, he’s just on his assignments, and he really works hard studying and knowing the system.”

And like any young roster hopeful, Smith knows that making his mark on special teams will be just as important, if not more so, than anything he shows at receiver.

“Special teams is always a big key,” he said. “A lot of people talk about offense and defense, but special teams is one of the biggest parts of the game. Special teams is a way to make the team, so that’s a big emphasis for me. I played all four (return and coverage units) in college and I’m looking to make an impact here.”

Whether Smith or fellow Husky Kasen Williams or any other young player on the bubble can do enough to make the team remains to be seen, but training camp No. 2 for Smith has gone very well so far. And hey, this summer job sure beats working in a warehouse.

For more information about an NFL agent, contact a Seattle NFL Agent.

Kevin Smith Shines for Seahawks

August 17, 2015
Kevin Smith hauls in a 24 yard reception week 1 against Denver in the preseason.

Kevin Smith hauls in a 24 yard reception week 1 against Denver in the preseason.

The Seattle Seahawks kicked off the 2015 preseason on Friday under nasty thunderstorm and rainy weather conditions. One of the lone bright sports, however, was the outstanding play out of receiver Kevin Smith. Kevin, a 2nd year undrafted free agent out of the University of Washington led the Seahawk’s in receiving yards Friday night. Smith’s first professional catch came on a 12 yard slant route on a pass throw behind him by third string QB R.J. Archer. A couple plays later Kevin had a 24 yard reception on a back shoulder throw down the sideline. Competition for the roster is heating up at the wide receiver position. Very intrigued to see how this position group performs Friday at Kansas City against Kevin’s teammate at UW, Marcus Peters. For more information about an NFL agent, contact a Seattle NFL Agent.

NFL Players Filing Bankruptcy

August 14, 2015
TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 11:  Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Warren Sapp speaks at a ceremony retiring his number during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Raymond James Stadium on November 11, 2013 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

TAMPA, FL – NOVEMBER 11: Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Warren Sapp speaks at a ceremony retiring his number during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Raymond James Stadium on November 11, 2013 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

I have written before about the ESPN 30 for 30 titled “Broke”. More than 2/3 of professional athletes are broke less than 5 year after retiring. CBS Moneywatch and Moneytips have updated information on NFL players and filing bankruptcy. How do you go from being on top of the world with a multimillion-dollar contract to filing for bankruptcy? By spending like it is never going to end. Former professional football players are finding that out the hard way.

Studies have shown that a high percentage of NFL players declare bankruptcy after their playing days, and many others suffer financial difficulties. A Sports Illustrated (SI) article from 2009 indicated that after two years of retirement, a whopping 78 percent of former NFL players went bankrupt or suffered financial stress due to joblessness or divorce — although in fairness, that analysis falls into the heart of the Great Recession.

A recently released study by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) focused on the bankruptcy aspect. The NBER working paper studied NFL players who had been drafted between 1996 and 2003. The authors found that bankruptcy filings began relatively soon after retirement and continued all the way through the first dozen post-retirement years.

Taken in total, almost 16 percent of the players studied declared bankruptcy during the first twelve years of retirement. The bankruptcies did not correlate with the amount of money made over a career or the length of time in the league.

Keep in mind that there are plenty of undrafted players who spend some time in the NFL (just over 31 percent in 2013 according to the Elias Sports Bureau) and most make nowhere near the money that drafted players do. Adding those players could skew the statistics either way — the undrafted players made less money to save, yet the undrafted player may have a greater sense of how short the NFL experience can be and may be more likely to engage in financial planning.

Financial planning, or more precisely the lack of it, is the main point. While the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) started a financial wellness program around the time of the SI article, too many players either do not take the advice or do not fully understand it. It is hard for an NFL athlete to fully grasp the fact that his career is short-lived and that he must plan for the future.

The NBER paper points out that NFL players do not follow the “life-cycle model” of savings. In this model, people try to balance their consumption over their lifetime and save for the future, instead of simply consuming more in proportion with their current income. One could argue that most Americans do not follow that model either — but most Americans do not get annual contracts averaging millions of dollars, especially knowing in advance that the income is short-term.

The author of the 2009 SI article, Pablo Torre, created four general categories that often lead NFL players astray.

  • The Lure of The Tangible – Owning a restaurant, bar, or car dealership is a tangible, sexy idea. Investing a portion of your wealth in a diversified portfolio containing lower risk assets is not.
  • Misplaced Trust – Bad financial advice is a common thread. Too often there is a trusted advisor who did not deserve that trust, whether through incompetence or fraud. Players that lack the financial understanding to understand risk or spot fraud can easily fall for “can’t miss” investments.
  • Family Matters – Divorce is common among athletes; pre-nuptial agreements are not. Divorces with NFL athletes tend to occur after retirement, when the athlete has far less income (if any) than during his playing days. In essence, he loses a disproportionate amount of his likely lifetime wealth.The other aspect of family matters involves prolific procreators such as former running back Travis Henry. Paying child support for one child can be a financial burden. Multiply that by eleven children with ten different women, and you end up in jail for failure to pay child support (as Henry did).
  • Great Expectations – Your peers are living large, and you have a new set of “friends” that sap your resources. What is an NFL athlete to do? Young NFL players often follow the pack with spending and don’t think about being taken advantage of by hangers-on.

If the NFLPA’s efforts succeed in raising financial awareness among NFL players, perhaps a follow-up study in a few years would show dramatic improvement. While no one can blame these working players for having fun both on the field and off, this research shows that a hard-hitting tackle of spending trends will prevent them from being blindsided in retirement.

For more information about an NFL agent, contact a Seattle NFL Agent.

Key NFL Dates, Schedule and Cut Down Dates

August 7, 2015

NFL

Important NFL Dates below. First NFL cuts from 90 men to 75 occur after the 3rd preseason game. CBS Sports Compiled the dates and information

Aug. 6-9: Hall of Fame Weekend, Canton, Ohio.

Aug. 9: Hall of Fame Game, Minnesota Vikings vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, in Canton, Ohio.

Aug. 11: Special league meeting, Hyatt-Schaumburg, Schaumburg, Illinois.

If a drafted rookie has not signed with his club by this date, he cannot be traded to any other club in 2015, and may sign a player contract only with the drafting club until the day of the draft in the 2016 league year.

Aug. 13-17: First preseason weekend.

Aug. 20-24: Second preseason weekend.

Aug. 27-30: Third preseason weekend.

Sept. 1: Prior to 4 p.m. ET, clubs must reduce their rosters to a maximum of 75 players on the active list.

Sept. 3: Final preseason games.

Sept. 5: Prior to 4 p.m. ET, clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players on the Active/Inactive List.

Sept. 5: Simultaneously with the cut-down to 53, clubs that have players in the categories of Active/Physically Unable to Perform or Active/Non-Football Injury or Illness must select one of the following options: place player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness, whichever is applicable; request waivers; terminate contract; trade contract; or continue to count the player on the Active List.

Sept. 6: Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 12 p.m. ET.

Upon receipt of the personnel notice at approximately 1 p.m. ET, clubs may establish a practice squad of 10 players. No club, including the player’s prior club, will be permitted to sign a player to a practice player contract until all clubs have received simultaneous notification via the above personnel notice that such player’s prior NFL player contract has been terminated via the waiver system.

After 4 p.m. ET, a club is permitted to place a player on Reserve/Injured as “Designated for Return.”

Sept. 10: At 12 a.m. ET, the Top 51 Rule expires for all NFL clubs.

Sept. 10, 13-14: Regular season opens.

Oct. 4: NFL International Series — New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins in London.

Oct. 6-7: Fall league meeting in New York.

Oct. 16: Beginning on the sixth calendar day prior to a club’s seventh regular-season game (including any bye week) and continuing through the day after the conclusion of the 11th regular-season weekend, clubs are permitted to begin practicing players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform and Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness for a period not to exceed 21 days. Players may be activated during the 21-day practice period, or prior to 4 p.m. ET, on the day after the conclusion of the 21-day period, provided that no player may be activated to participate in a Week 6 game.

Oct. 25: NFL International Series — Buffalo Bills vs. Jacksonville Jaguars in London.

Nov. 1: NFL International Series — Detroit Lions vs. Kansas City Chiefs in London.

Nov. 3: All trading ends for 2015 at 4 p.m. ET.

Nov. 4: Players with at least four previous pension-credited seasons are subject to the waiver system for the remainder of the regular season and postseason.

Nov. 17: At 4 p.m. ET, signing period ends for franchise players who are eligible to receive offer sheets.

Prior to 4 p.m. ET, deadline for clubs to sign their unsigned franchise and transition players, including franchise players who were eligible to receive offer sheets until this date. If still unsigned after this date, such players are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2015.

Prior to 4 p.m. ET, deadline for clubs to sign their unrestricted free agents to whom the “May 12 Tender” was made. If still unsigned after this date, such players are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2015.

Prior to 4 p.m. ET, deadline for clubs to sign their restricted free agents, including those to whom the “June 1 Tender” was made. If such players remain unsigned after this date, they are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2015.

Prior to 4 p.m. ET, deadline for clubs to sign their drafted rookies. If such players remain unsigned after this date, they are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2015.

2016

Jan. 3: Week 17 of the regular season.

Jan. 4: Earliest permissible date for clubs to renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of a drafted rookie who was selected in any round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Any permissible renegotiated or extended player contract will not be considered a rookie contract, and will not be subject to the rules that limit rookie contracts.

Option exercise period begins for fifth-year option for first-round selections from the 2013NFL Draft. To exercise the option, the club must give written notice to the player on or after Jan. 4, 2016, but prior to May 3, 2016.

Jan. 9-10: Wild Card playoffs.

Jan. 10: Assistant coaches under contract to playoff clubs that have byes in the Wild Card weekend may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the conclusion of the Wild Card games.

Jan. 16-17: Divisional playoffs.

Jan. 17: Assistant coaches under contract to playoff clubs that won their Wild Card games may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the conclusion of Divisional Playoff games.

Jan. 18: Deadline for college players that are underclassmen to apply for special eligibility. A list of players who are accepted into the NFL Draft will be transmitted to clubs on Jan. 22.

Jan. 23: East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Jan. 24: AFC and NFC championship games.

Jan. 30: Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.

Jan. 31: NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.

An assistant coach, whose team is participating in the Super Bowl, who has previously interviewed for another club’s head coaching job may have a second interview with such club no later than the Sunday preceding the Super Bowl.

Feb. 7: Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

Feb. 22: First day for clubs to designate franchise or transition players.

Feb. 23-29: Combine timing and testing at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

March 7: Prior to 4 p.m. ET, deadline for clubs to designate franchise or transition players.

March 12-15: Beginning at 12 p.m. ET, clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents upon the expiration of their 2015 player contracts at 4 p.m. ET, on March 15. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4 p.m. ET, on March 15.

March 15: The 2016 league year and free agency period begin at 4 p.m. ET.

The first day of the 2016 League Year will end at 11:59:59 p.m. ET, on March 15. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 4 p.m. ET and 11:59:59 p.m. ET on March 15.

Trading period for 2016 begins at 4 p.m. ET, after expiration of all 2015 contracts.

March 20-23: Annual League Meeting in Boca Raton, Fla.

April 4: Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2015 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.

April 18: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.

April 22: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.

April 27: Deadline for prior club to exercise right of first refusal to restricted free agents.

April 28-30: NFL Draft (site Chicago).

For more information about an NFL agent, contact a Seattle NFL Agent.

Seahawks Future Cap Space

August 5, 2015
Wagner and Wilson both received massive contract extensions last week.

Wagner and Wilson both received massive contract extensions last week.

With the recent massive contract extensions for Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner, Seattle has locked in most of their core players for the extended future.

2015-2016: The Seahawks currently have the least cap space in the NFL with just over $2 Million still available for the upcoming season.

2016-2017: Seattle has allocated over $135 Million for the season, 23rd most cap space available. Projected salary cap is $150 Million.

2017-2018: The Seahawks have already allocated over $131 Million this season, 2nd least cap space available. Projected salary cap is above $160 Million.

2018-2018: Seattle has allocated over $81 Million for the season. 3rd least cap space available. Projected salary cap is $170 Million.

Joel Corry of CBS Sports breakdowns the Seahawks Cap Space.

The Seattle Seahawks are facing the challenge of making the rare transition from a championship-caliber team having a low-paid quarterback to a Super Bowl contender with a quarterback on a lucrative contract.

The San Francisco 49ers can serve as a cautionary tale for the Seahawks. Seattle’s NFC West division rival was set to make the same transition before head coach Jim Harbaugh wore out his welcome despite a 49-22-1 record during his four-year tenure, quarterbackColin Kaepernick regressed last season and a few key players unexpectedly retired this offseason.

Seattle has been one of the NFL’s more proactive teams in signing key young players to contract extensions prior to free agency being reached. Quarterback Russell Wilson and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner became the latest to be rewarded by receiving four-year extensions for $87.6 million and $43 million, respectively, at the start of training camp last week. Wilson’s deal, which contains $61.542 million of guarantees, makes him the NFL’s second-highest paid player with an average yearly salary of $21.95 million. Wagner reset a stagnant inside linebacker market with his extension.

The Seahawks have re-signed eight key players in the chart listed below to contracts totaling close to $350 million since winning Super Bowl XLVIII in February 2014.

SEAHAWKS RETAIN EIGHT KEY PLAYERS
PLAYER AGE GUARANTEES DEAL TOTAL LENGTH FINAL SEASON
Cliff Avril 29 $16,000,000 $28,500,000 4-year ext. 2018
Michael Bennett 29 16,000,000 28,500,000 4 years 2018
Marshawn Lynch 29 12,000,000 24,000,000 2-year ext. 2017
Richard Sherman 27 40,000,000 56,000,000 4-year ext. 2018
Earl Thomas 26 25,725,000 40,000,000 4-year ext. 2018
Bobby Wagner 25 21,977,427 43,000,000 4-year ext. 2019
Russell Wilson 26 61,542,000 87,600,000 4-year ext. 2019
K.J. Wright 26 16,000,000 27,000,000 4-year ext. 2018
TOTALS 209,244,427 334,600,000

In addition to these eight players, Kam Chancellor received a four-year, $28 million extension in 2013 and Jimmy Graham, who was acquired from the New Orleans Saintsalong with a 2015 fourth round pick for center Max Unger and a 2015 first-round pick in a March trade, is the NFL’s highest-paid tight end at $10 million per year. Chancellor and Graham are 27 and 28 years old. Both players are under contract through the 2017 season.

The Seahawks are now extremely top heavy salary-wise with their roster where a majority of the money is on defense. The emphasis on defense is understandable considering the Seahawks are first in the NFL in total defense (282.3 yards per game) and scoring defense (15.2 points per game) over the last three seasons. The Indianapolis Colts did something similar under Bill Polian, except the focus was on offensive skill position players.

The Seahawks structure most of their lucrative contracts, which usually don’t have more than four new years, with modest signing bonuses and salary guarantees in the early years of the deals. Most of the guarantees after the first year of a contract are conditional guarantees. Injury guarantees become fully guaranteed either on the fifth day of the waiver period in each specific contract year or five days after the start of the waiver period. The waiver period always begins the day after the Super Bowl. This gives the Seahawks flexibility to exit the deals early on without adverse cap consequences.

Can’t keep everyone: The initial reaction to Bobby Wagner’s “Can’t keep everyone” tweetwas that he was referring to his own situation. This principle is already operating in Seattle because of general manager John Schneider’s ability to assemble a deep roster and coach Pete Carroll and his staff’s knack for developing talent.

Cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond, right tackle Breno Giacomini, and wide receiver Golden Tate left via free agency in 2014. Left guard James Carpenter, cornerback Byron Maxwell and linebacker Malcolm Smith, the Super Bowl XLVIII MVP, followed suit this offseason by signing with new teams.

Defensive ends Chris Clemons and Red Bryant, who were starters in 2013, were released following the team’s Super Bowl victory. Tight end Zach Miller was a salary cap casualty early this offseason.

Seattle has also been quicker than most teams to admit player acquisition mistakes. A taker was found for quarterback Matt Flynn one year into the three-year, $19.5 million contact (worth a maximum of $26.2 million through salary escalators and incentives) he received as a free agent in 2012 by trading him to the Oakland Raiders prior to the 2013 NFL Draft. Wide receiver Percy Harvin was sent to the New York Jets for a 2015 sixth-round pick during the middle of last season. This was 21 regular season games after he received a six-year, $67 million contract when he was acquired from the Minnesota Vikings for three draft choices, including a 2013 first-round pick. The roster turnover will continue by these methods in the coming years.

2015: The Seahawks are attempting to become the first team in the salary cap era to reach the Super Bowl in three consecutive seasons. The last team to accomplish this feat was theBuffalo Bills, who lost four straight Super Bowls to start the 1990s. The Seahawks slightly trail the Green Bay Packers as favorites by Las Vegas oddsmakers to win Super Bowl 50.

Seattle had two major offseason contract priorities, which were accomplished in signing Wilson and Wagner to long-term deals. There has already been fallout from these contracts. Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel, who had been a starter during his two years in Seattle, was released. His departure saves $3 million in salary cap space, which is now a more precious commodity.

The Seahawks have $4.787 million of cap room after factoring in Wilson and Wagner’s contracts, McDaniel’s release and cornerback Mohammed Seisay being acquired from theDetroit Lions for a 2016 sixth-round pick.

The $4.787 million may not be enough of a cushion because salary cap accounting switches from the top 51 players counting to every player under contract, including those on injured reserve and the practice squad, when the regular season begins on Sept. 10. There probably won’t be any more extensions this year because of Seattle’s tighter salary cap.

Since Seattle has refrained from restructuring contracts to free up cap room, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Brandon Mebane, who is in the final year of his contract, was approached about a pay cut to lower his $5.5 million base salary. Mebane would likely have a difficult time finding another team willing to pay anything close that on the open market this close to the season starting.

The Seahawks could attempt to get his salary more in line with Ahtyba Rubin‘s one-year, $2.6 million deal (worth up to $3.1 million through incentives). Mebane could be given a chance to make up the difference between his old and new salary with not likely to be earned playtime incentives that could start at 30 percent defensive playtime. The 30-year-old, who was sidelined after nine games in 2014 with a hamstring injury, played 28.6 percent of Seattle’s defensive plays last year.

Mebane might draw interest from the Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders if released, which would create another void with the interior of the defensive line, because of Seattle ties on their coaching staffs. Former Seattle defensive coordinators Gus Bradley and Dan Quinn are head coaches of the Jaguars and Falcons. Ken Norton, Jr. is in his first year as Oakland’s defensive coordinator after five years as Seattle’s linebackers coach.

One pressing issue is Kam Chancellor’s holdout. Chancellor, who has three years remaining on his contract for $16.775 million, is missing training camp in an attempt to secure a new contract. The All-Pro strong safety is subjecting himself to a $30,000-per-day fine while he holds out. Since Chancellor’s holdout has now reached six days, the Seahawks can recover 15 percent of his $1 million 2015 signing bonus proration. That’s $150,000. It’s one percent for each additional missed day with a maximum of 25 percent of the prorated amount during training camp, which is $250,000 in Chancellor’s case.

Chancellor isn’t underpaid. His deal was near the top of the veteran strong safety market when he signed in 2013. Eric Berry is the NFL highest paid strong safety on the six-year, $50 million deal he received as the sixth overall pick in the 2010 draft.

The only material changes to the safety market since then are three free safeties, Thomas,Jairus Byrd and Devin McCourty, signing deals averaging at least $8.75 million per year with over $25 million in guarantees.

The Seahawks should be careful about making any adjustments to Chancellor’s contract with so much time left because of the potential ramifications. Accommodating Chancellor could create a situation where multiple players over the next few years are continually looking to renegotiate regardless of their contract status.

Addressing Chancellor’s situation will likely upset Bennett who is already unhappy with his contract. Bennett couldn’t realistically walk out because he would be exposing himself to a “five day letter” from the Seahawks where if he didn’t return to the team within five days of receipt, he could be placed on the reserve/left squad list. Once a player goes this list, he can’t play for the rest of the season.

2016: The Seahawks have slightly over $135.5 million of 2016 cap obligations with 60 players under contract after Wilson and Wagner’s deals. Depending upon where the cap is set, Seattle should have between $14.5 million and $20 million of cap room next year.

The Seahawks are extremely top-heavy cap-wise. The five highest cap numbers Wilson ($18.542 million), Sherman ($14.769 million), Lynch ($11.5 million), Thomas ($9.9 million) and Bennett ($9 million) take up $63.711 million of cap space. The top ten account for slightly under $96 million of cap room.

Thirteen projected 2015 starters with five on offense and eight on defense are under contract in 2016. The Seahawks are going to have to be selective in re-signing the 10 most important players set to become unrestricted free agents, which include outside linebackerBruce Irvin, Mebane, wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, left tackle Russell Okung, punter Jon Ryan, and right guard J.R. Sweezy.

Left guard Alvin Bailey will be a restricted free agent. Seattle should be able to retain him for another year with the lowest restricted free agent tender, which will be between $1.619 million and $1.696 million.

The most intriguing free agent situation may be Okung’s. He recently decided that he will represent himself on his next contract. Okung could price himself out of Seattle. He probably won’t be interested in a new contract that’s less the six-year, $48.5 million deal (with $29.3 million guaranteed and worth a maximum of $58 million) he signed in 2010 as an unproven commodity when he was the sixth overall pick in the draft. Okung probably needs a strong 2015 season for his rookie deal to realistically be his salary floor. He hasn’t consistently played at a high level since his 2012 Pro Bowl season partially due to injury.

Right tackle Justin Britt, a 2014 second-round pick, and Bailey might be the only returning starters from the 2015 offensive line. Outside of Unger, who was a part of the Graham trade, Seattle hasn’t made a much of a financial investment in veteran offensive line contracts. Sweezy may view the four-year, $19.1 million deal Carpenter received from the Jets as a salary benchmark. Lemuel Jeanpierre and Patrick Lewis, who are both filled in for Unger in 2014 and battling to take his place, will also be up.

The Seahawks have started making plans for the potential offensive line turnover. Fourth-round picks were used this year on guards Terry Poole and Mark Glowinski, and a sixth round pick on center Kristjan Sokoli, who is making the switch from a defensive line position like Sweezy did.

Seattle’s approach to the offensive line is interesting considering no team has been more dedicated to or successful in running the ball over the last three years. During this span, Seattle is first in the NFL in rushing yards (157.7 per game) and rushing attempts (32.7 per game). The team is also second in yards per carry (4.8).

It is in stark contrast to the Dallas Cowboys, who have arguably built the league’s best offensive line after using first round picks on offensive lineman in 2011, 2013 and 2014. Losing Okung may make keeping a first round pick for the time since 2012 a necessity in order to find a left tackle.

The Seahawks also seem to have a succession plan in place at wide receiver, which could make Kearse expendable. Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood were taken in the second round and fourth rounds in 2014. These selections were followed by drafting Tyler Lockettin the third round this year. There’s a good chance Richardson begins the regular season on the physically unable to perform list, which would keep him out of at least the first six regular season games, because he tore the ACL in his left knee during the playoffs.

Chris Matthews, who came out of nowhere to catch four passes for 109 yards and a touchdown in Super Bowl XLIX, is another receiving option. Since the Arena Football League and Canadian Football League product doesn’t have any years of service towards free agency yet, he is extremely affordable.

Irvin will likely move on in free agency after Seattle turned down a fifth-year option with him for $7.751 million. His preference is to reunite with Quinn in Atlanta. The secondary should be able to survive cornerback Jeremy Lane‘s possible departure with Seisay and Tharold Simon waiting in the wings.

An important situation to watch is Marshawn Lynch’s since he is the driving force behind Seattle’s offense. It would not be a surprise if he retired after the 2015 season regardless of how he performs. Lynch contemplated retirement before signing his two- year extension.

It will be incumbent upon Wilson to start demonstrating he can shoulder more of the offensive load, much like Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger have done as their careers progressed. Robert Turbin, who is in a contract year, and Christine Michael haven’t shown that they are capable of replacing Lynch. Grooming someone to take over for Lynch whenever that is should be a priority.

The five-time Pro Bowler isn’t showing any signs of slowing down but he is an older running back with significant mileage. Lynch is 37th all-time in the NFL with 2,033 career rushing attempts. The Seahawks can exit Lynch’s deal if he hits the wall during the 2015 season since none of his $9 million 2016 base salary is guaranteed. $6.5 million of 2016 cap space will be gained if Seattle parts ways with Lynch or he retires.

2017: The Seahawks have a little more than $124 million of cap space devoted to 40 players. There are 12 current starters under contract, which are four on offense and the same eight on defense as in 2016.

Seattle continues to be top heavy with Wilson leading the way with an $18.8 million cap number. The top five, which have cap numbers of at least $10 million, take up $65.331 million of room.

Some of the more important players that will be unrestricted free agent include wide receiver Doug Baldwin, kicker Steven Hauschka, defensive tackle Jordan Hill and tight endLuke Willson. Core players Bennett, Chancellor, Graham and Wright will be entering contract years. Britt, Norwood, and Richardson could be extension candidates since they will be in the final year their four year rookie contracts. Matthews will be a restricted free agent after this season.

Prognosis: The pieces are in place for Seattle to be Super Bowl contenders at least through the 2017 season. It’s more important than ever for the Seahawks to have more draft classes like in 2012, which produced Wilson and Wagner, because to roster is so top heavy financially and to sustain the loss of players in free agency.

Schneider has done an excellent job of identifying talent that fits head coach Carroll’s vision, especially with undrafted players and in the latter part of the draft. Chancellor and Sherman were fifth round picks. Maxwell was taken in the sixth round. Baldwin, Smith and Kearse weren’t drafted. There isn’t a reason to think that will change. More pressure will be put on the defense when Lynch departs, particularly if there isn’t an obvious successor or Wilson has plateaued.

It will become increasingly harder to sign players to one-year deals like Bennett’s initial $4.8 million contract (with an additional $200,000 in incentives) to become a Seahawk since the salary paradigm has changed with the inclusion of bunch of high end contracts. However, Seattle should be a favored destination for talented free agents once it becomes a buyer’s market in the secondary phases of free agency.

One of the biggest threats to Seattle’s potential supremacy could be changes to the organizational structure. Schneider and Carroll are both under contract through the 2016 season. Because of his unbridled enthusiasm, it’s easy to forget that Carroll is the NFL’s second-oldest head coach. He turns 64 in September.

The Packers should be the team that is the biggest continued obstacle to Seattle’s title hopes. It’s conceivable that the Seahawks and Packers become to NFC what the 49ers and Cowboys were during the first half of 1990s when they met in NFC Championship Game three years in a row.

For more information about an NFL agent, contact a Seattle NFL Agent.

Tom Brady Suspension Upheld

July 30, 2015
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The Tom Brady “Deflategate” saga has ended, for now. Will Brinson NFL writer for CBS Sports has the story.

In a massive win for the NFL over the legal fight starting to cook up between the league, union and Tom Brady, Judge Richard Kyle ordered the lawsuit filed by the NFLPA be moved and conjoined with the NFL’s original filing in New York.

Judge Kyle noted the NFL’s action in New York “triggers application of the first-filed rule” and therefore “perceives no reason for this action to proceed in Minnesota.”

The short version of the court’s ruling?

“The Court strongly suspects the Union filed in Minnesota because it has obtained favorable rulings from this Court in the past on behalf of its members,” Judge Kyle wrote.

Yeah, pretty much. As we noted last night while looking at the lawsuit filed by the union on behalf of Brady, the NFLPA has had a ton of success in Minnesota, particularly with Judge Doty. Adrian Peterson overcame a suspension-related ruling there and based on the context of the union’s lawsuit, it seemed possible the Patriots quarterback might find similar success.

That’s out the window now and the union didn’t make any friends in Minnesota with their filing, apparently.

“Indeed, the Court sees little reason for this action to have been commenced in Minnesotaat all,” Judge Kyle wrote. “Brady plays for a team in Massachusetts; the Union is headquartered in Washington, D.C.; the NFL is headquartered in New York; the arbitration proceedings took place in New York; and the award was issued in New York.”

So now we focus on the Big Apple and the NFLPA’s next move in what feels like a lengthy legal battle.

For more information about an NFL agent, contact a Seattle NFL Agent.

Russel Wilson’s Contract Negotiation with the Seahawks

July 27, 2015
Seahawk's Training Camp starts Friday. Will Wilson agree to a deal before then?

Seahawk’s Training Camp starts Friday. Will Wilson agree to a deal before then?

Articles like this is why John Clayton is a hall of fame sports writer. Many media members have made a mockery of the Seahawk’s contract negotiation with Russell Wilson. Many incorrect facts have been reported and rumors have been portrayed as non-fiction. Straight to the point, here’s exactly what is going on with Russel Wilson and the Seahawks.

For the second time this year, Russell Wilson is on the 1-yard line with time running out and the chance to reach paydirt. In the Super Bowl, Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell called a pass instead of a run. This week, it’s Wilson’s call.

If Wilson doesn’t reach a contract extension by the opening of training camp later this week, he is likely to play out the season for $1.542 million and await the likelihood of getting a franchise tag next February. It’s not that the Seahawks want to shut down negotiations on a long-term extension — Wilson is their most important signing. But talks won’t extend into camp.

Logic says Wilson and the Seahawks will agree to a deal. He’s arguably the seventh- or eighth-best quarterback in the league. And while the team behind him has played a huge role, the results are there. He’s 36-12 during the regular season, 6-2 in the playoffs and has been to two Super Bowls. He has made less than $3 million since coming into the league as a third-round pick. He deserves to get paid, and the Seahawks aren’t low-balling him.

But if they don’t reach a deal, the decision is his. Wilson hinted publicly he wants something in the range of $25 million a year. Aaron Rodgers is the league’s highest-paid player, with an average annual salary of $22 million. While the Seahawks might be able to finesse some kind of deal that might get the average slightly over $22 million, Wilson could still have to accept a deal much less than he believes is his market value.

According to sources, the Seahawks would be willing to give him a contract worth a little less than that of Ben Roethlisberger, who is the league’s second-highest-paid player at $21.85 million a year. That deal established this year’s top quarterback market. Roethlisberger has three Super Bowl appearances and two rings, and he’s coming off a season in which he threw for 4,952 yards and carried a team with a defense in decline.

The market for $24-25 million quarterbacks is next year, when the cap is expected to increase by as much as $10 million. Timing is everything when the cap is involved. And that’s the crux of Wilson’s dilemma: waiting could be costly. First, he would lose the $18-20 million he might be able to bank this season. Second, his bargaining leverage could be neutered by a nonexclusive franchise tag that could be around $20.3 million or less, depending on the 2016 cap number.

The nonexclusive tag does give his agent the ability to find a team willing to give him a tender worth signing. That team would have to be willing to part with two first-round picks. While Wilson might be worth two first-rounders to a number of teams, interested teams might not be willing to go that route knowing the Seahawks would probably match.

We can play out a hypothetical: Let’s say another team is willing to give Wilson a four-year deal for $100 million in 2016. With Wilson making only $1.542 million this year, that deal will still allow him to make only $101.5 million over the next five years (including 2015), an average of $20.3 million. That’s less than what the Seahawks are reportedly offering now.

To match what the Seahawks are offering now, Wilson would need a four-year deal (starting in 2016) averaging $26 million per year. Andrew Luck, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers probably don’t even have the clout to take the numbers that high.

One thing that has to be annoying to Wilson, though, is what the Seahawks can give him in 2015. Roethlisberger received a $31 million signing bonus. Cam Newton was paid $31 million this year. The Seahawks probably can’t go to more than $20 million in cash this year because of the salary cap (they have $9.27 million in cap room). Suffice it to say, things are tight.

If it’s important for Wilson to get $25 million this year, the team might be able to work out something in a five-year deal to stretch out the signing bonus pro-ration.

The clock is ticking. Wilson is always looking for the big play. Not getting $25 million a year would be disappointing to him, but we will find out this week whether he is willing to take a “checkdown” instead of gambling too much downfield.

For more information about an NFL agent, contact a Seattle NFL Agent.

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