Oh, well…better luck next year.
There were a few interesting developments in comparison to previous years. The biggest news is that Lofa Tatupa signed what appears to be a solid 5-year deal. Previous second-round picks usually signed 4-year deals, which meant a big payday for CB Ken Lucas, the second round pick in 2001 who left for greener (and I’m not talking grass) pastures in Carolina.
Tatupu signed for 5 years and just under $4.2 million. However, if he plays like the team expects, an escalator will jack up the last year of the deal.
Another change is the 3rd and 4th round picks inked 4-year deals instead of the usual 3 years. They would still have unrestricted free agency after 4 years, but they have given up their 4th year of restricted free agency. Of course, I’m assuming that the Collective Bargaining Agreement is extended with the same rules that currently apply. If the CBA is allowed to run out after 2007, then all bets are off.
Mid-round picks LeRoy Hill, David Greene and Ray Willis are all committed to the team for 4 years. In return, they have the opportunity to increase their fourth-year salaries if their performances on the field merit additional compensation.
First-round pick Chris Spencer received a standard 5-year deal worth over $7.4M. The key component of his deal is a 2006 option bonus of $2.5M. Option bonuses have become a standard part of rookie deals because they are the easiest way to circumvent the rookie pool. Since the bonus isn’t technically guaranteed, it doesn’t impact the first year cap figure, which is all that the rookie pool considers.
As an aside, does anyone remember OT Chris McIntosh? McIntosh held out for his rookie deal all through training camp in 2000. He was vilified in the local media and even on our own website. Well, Chris McIntosh signed a deal with no second year bonus and what appears to be a relatively small signing bonus. The next year, Steve Hutchinson (who was taken with a similar pick) DID receive a second year bonus. It’s all water under the bridge now, but after looking at the facts in hindsight, I’ve come to the conclusion that Chris McIntosh got a raw deal, even if injuries ended his career before it really started.
As another aside…. I DO believe that an unsigned player is “holding out”. He’s holding out for a contract. It’s an argument of semantics, but one I need to take a side on anyway. Some pundits will say you really aren’t holding out if you’re not under contract. If a player is under contract and stays away from the team, that’s not a “hold-out”, that’s called a “breach of contract”.
And while I’m on asides, let me just say I had another great trip to Cheney, Washington with my friends from Seahawks.NET. A big shout out to all the folks who had kind things to say about our website, with an extra yell to Rob Rang from www.nfldraftscout.com. Nobody tracks the prospects better than Rob, so you should definitely be following his site to learn who will be playing wide receiver for the Seahawks in 2006.
OK, back to business… Assuming the Seahawks are finished adding players for 2005, they have between $1.7 and $1.9 in salary cap space remaining. I can never pin down an exact figure because certain items are still being worked up even this late in the process. These figures include the trade of Kris Richard for Ronald Flemons, which saved the team about $200K.
Fortunately, the team has enough of a cushion that they should be able to make final roster decisions based entirely on merit and not on economics. After final rosters are set, all contracts count towards the cap, so the available space could go up or down depending on which players make the final roster and how many guys land on injured reserve. I’ll have an update in September to give the final picture on the team’s 2005 cap, as well as an initial peek at their financial prospects for 2006.
For complete details on all Seahawk draft picks, check out the hot news for each player. Thanks as always to AdamJT13 for his essential help in providing this information. If you have any further questions, please shoot me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a query in our fan forum.