Seattle seahawks exiting march still low in cap space, but after gaining 13 players the news tribune database 11g

The seahawks’ $9.9 million in cap space doesn’t include the at least $6 million the seahawks need to allocate for the eight draft choices they are currently scheduled to have in next month’s draft — pending schneider’s characteristic trades to acquire more picks he makes just about every year. So in terms of spending power, seattle really has about $4 million in cap space, per the NFLPA.

The seahawks entered march and the days before the free-agent market opened at about $12 million under the salary cap. That was hardly enough to shop for any of their many needs to answer their first non-playoff season in six years. So they traded away bennett and the pro bowl defensive end’s $2.2 million cap charge for this year to philadelphia.Free agents they waived sherman.

He had the second-highest salary on the team for 2018 behind franchise quarterback russell wilson. Shedding sherman alone saved them $11 million.

Seattle doubled their cap space with those two moves. Then they waived veteran defensive backs jeremy lane and deshawn shead. That saved another $5.95 million. They went from $12 million to $31 million in cap space in time for free agency to begin. Now they could shop.

They re-signed bradley mcdougald with a $1.5 million guaranteed salary for 2018 and a $4 million signing bonus in his three-year deal. He is insurance for kam chancellor not returning from his career-threatening neck injury to play strong safety.This year they tendered offers to restricted free agents dion jordan (for $1.9 million), an edge pass rusher they need this year, and nickel defensive back justin coleman ($2.9 million); the seahawks announced on wednesday coleman had signed his tender. They re-signed their own free agents: defensive end marcus smith (one year, $2.7 million) and running back mike davis (one year, $800,000 salary with $443,000 in signing and roster bonuses).

And they imported seven free agents, all with short-term, low-cost contracts: pass rusher barkevious mingo (a $2.55 million cap charge for this year), tight end ed dickson ($1.9 million cap hit in 2018), safety maurice alexander ($720,000), wide receiver jaron brown ($1.78 million) and guard D.J.Free agents fluker ($1.37 million). While the defending division-champion rams got defensive tackle ndamukong suh for one year at $14 million, the seahawks couldn’t spend even half that to keep sheldon richardson from leaving and signing with minnesota for a base pay of $8 million this year. So seattle signed former vikings defensive tackles tom johnson ($2.1 million), who turns 34 in august, and shamar stephen ($2.1 million) instead.

Seattle signed dickson for three years to replace departed free agent jimmy graham (to green bay, for $10 million) as its lead tight end, and far more of a blocking one. The team signed mingo, a first-round draft choice in 2013, for two seasons and brown from arizona for two years.Million seahawks all the seahawks’ other free-agent imports are one-year deals.

We can debate theory of wanting a quieter locker room, of bennett’s activism, of sherman yelling at coaches, and whatever some more if you’d like. The bottom line for why the seahawks did what they did and didn’t do in march is, in fact, their bottom line.

Seattle saved $19 million getting rid of four former starters and seven combined pro bowl selections on defense. They re-signed five players from last year’s team plus imported seven veterans. It’s eight counting marcus johnson, the wide receiver the seahawks got from the eagles in the bennett trade.

That’s essentially a four-for-13 swap.Last year that’s a favorable ratio this undoubtedly transitioning team had to have to fill its many holes. Those 13 players signed or brought back have a combined salary-cap charge in 2018 of $22.8 million — or just $3 million more than sherman, bennett, lane and shead would have cost seattle this year.

We’ll find out this fall and winter what the value of these budget signings are on the field, how adequately they fill those holes. But this is what the seahawks could afford. The entered the month with the seventh-worst cap situation in the league. They are leaving it with the 11th-worst. What’s next?

The seahawks are letting cliff avril decide, on his own terms and timetable, if and when to announce his retirment from a neck injury and surgery.Last year if that happens, as expected, seattle saves $7.1 million against the cap.

Even if that occurs, expect any further signings — the team needs a backup quarterback, if you haven’t heard, was reportedly hosting former jets starter geno smith and has hosted free-agent running back demarco murray, for instance — to be at or near veteran-minimum deals for one year. There are reasons guys are still available in free agency in april, may and june. And they aren’t great reasons, either.

Schneider made it clear this week at the NFL owners’ meetings in orlando, fla., the seahawks are still open to trade offers for earl thomas that might floor him. None have happened.Free agents schneider also said talks with agents for the three-time all-pro safety on an extension past this last year of his contract have stopped for now.

The draft is always important, but next month’s is especially so for seattle. The team is still reeling somewhat from last year’s top pick, defensive lineman malik mcdowell, still not having practiced even once since head injuries from a mysterious ATV accident last summer. His status remains unknown for 2018 and beyond.

"It’s like a reset: OK, how did we get here? We got here drafting players and putting guys on the field," the GM said. "I think it’s been hard over the last several drafts …This year don’t get me wrong, we haven’t made some great decisions, the best decisions we could possibly make in certain situations. I don’t think anybody does."

The seahawks can’t afford to miss again at the top of this draft; the 18th-overall choice is their highest first-round pick in six years. Seattle is still without a second- or a third-round pick, the result of trading for sheldon richardson and duane brown during last season.

The team has six of its eight picks in rounds five (four choices) and seven (two picks). Those gaps from rounds two through four are huge on any draft board, especially one for a team trying to rebuild with young, affordable talent.Last year

"Right now, we’re sitting here specifically without a two and a three, which is a really fun challenge for us," schneider said, invoking his word of the offseason again.

It’s almost impossible to imagine schneider, renowned in the NFL for draft maneuvering, standing pat and idle through the entire second day of the draft without a pick. Him trading down from 18 in the first round to get more picks remains a viable if not likely scenario.

Thing is, because of their cap situation and how it affected their free-agent shopping, the seahawks need youth that can play this year. That means top rookie picks. Or 2010-12-esque steals in the later rounds, such as sherman and chancellor, that set up seattle for consecutive super bowls.Last year those franchise-shaping steals haven’t happened for the seahawks since, not that they ever will again.

"Now, do we have some challenges this year? Absolutely," schneider said entering this month. "We’re pretty disappointed the way (last) season ended. We went 9-7 and you would have thought that we won two games.

"It’s a pit that sits in your stomach and really fuels you. We’re excited about the challenges ahead, because we feel like we want to get rolling on this thing."

Gregg bell joined the news tribune in july 2014. Bell had been the director of writing for the university of washington’s athletic department for four years.This year he was the senior national sports writer in seattle for the associated press from 2005-10, covering the seahawks in their first super bowl season and beyond. He’s also been the sacramento bee’s beat writer on the oakland athletics and raiders. The native of steubenville, ohio, is a 1993 graduate of the U.S. Military academy at west point, N.Y., and a 2000 graduate of the university of california, berkeley’s graduate school of journalism.