2016 Cap Analytics: Seattle Seahawks

Because the Seahawks have executed a number of large extensions with high-profile players, there is a tendency to assume that the team must soon be entering a period in which salary cap considerations may force a break-up of the familiar core.  These extensions may account for a considerable amount of cap space from the perspective of total contract value, but the more important consideration is that the portion of the contracts representing an actual salary cap commitment have largely passed in the cases of Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and KJ Wright.

This is reflected in the team’s 15th place ranking in Commitment Index (low for a team with a large QB contract on the books), and it has two important consequences.  First, any contract restructurings will be more productive in terms of freeing up current-season cap space.  Second, the team can walk away from these contracts more freely as the players see their performance decline (therefore providing the players with less leeway to suffer declines).  It is therefore not a coincidence that some of these players have demanded new contracts, and it is also not surprising that the team has declined to acquiesce.

The takeaway is that any Seahawks demise will be due to a combination of aging and poor drafting, rather than salary cap considerations.  The team has not even had to begin engaging in the type of contract gymnastics that teams such as the Saints, Steelers and Cowboys have performed, and eventually doing so will likely buy a few year’s worth of time beginning in the year of such policy change.

Expected Contract OutcomesExpected Contract Value 2.0 utilizes an algorithm based on a player’s contract characteristics, age, position and 2015 performance to forecast probabilities as to the outcomes of contract termination decisions.   The lower the Expected Outcome, the more likely the player’s contract will be terminated in 2016.  A pay cut is treated as a termination.  We have applied ECV 2.0 to all contracts scheduled to count $2 million or more against the 2016 salary cap with the exception of exercised 5th year rookie options.  Expected Savings is the calculated by multiplying the probability a player will be released by the cap savings realized by the team upon such release.

PlayerPositionExpected OutcomeExpected Savings
Bobby WagnerF7100.0%($1,299)
Richard ShermanDB99.8%$14,704
Russell WilsonQB99.7%($18,148)
KJ WrightF798.2%$57,850
Steven HauschkaKP98.2%$49,950
Earl ThomasDB97.6%$102,900
Michael BennettF793.4%$197,400
Cliff AvrilF793.0%$349,500
Doug BaldwinREC84.5%$619,600
Kam ChancellorDB75.4%$1,010,250
Jimmy GrahamREC55.4%$4,010,400
Marshawn LynchRB51.4%$3,160,300
Expected Change in Cap Room+$9,553,407


True Cap SpaceRealizable Cap Space depicts the total amount of salary cap space potentially at the team’s disposal in 2016, and True Cap Space makes further adjustments to take into consideration amounts that are accounted for in practical terms.  Most True Cap Space will be used on players currently under contract as a result of the team choosing to not release them.

True Cap Space (2016)
Adjusted Salary Cap$150,199,087
Prorated Signing Bonus Amounts($27,385,705)
Realizable Cap Space$122,813,382
Fully Guaranteed Salary($0)
Minimum Salary Cap Holds($23,850,000)
True Cap Space$98,963,382
League Rank11th

Commitment Index – Commitment Index identifies the degree to which a team has “mortgaged its future” by measuring its net future salary cap commitments as a percentage of the average net future salary cap commitments of all teams.  A Commitment Index Score of 100% is average, and a negative Commitment Index Score indicates that the team has more current salary cap space than future salary cap commitments.  The Commitment Index Score of every team in the league changes to at least some degree with every transaction executed by any team in the league, so Commitment Index Score is measured as of a specific point in time (in this case, January 11, 2016). 

Commitment Index (2017+)
Prorated Signing Bonus Amounts$45,241,148
Fully Guaranteed Salary$0
Current Cap Space($26,201,279)
Net Commitment$19,039,869
Commitment Index Score110%
League Rank (1st = Most Committed)15TH