I’m asking you, because honestly I don’t get it.
Before, when we were looking at a modest increase to the 2013 cap figure ($123 million), people were freaking out because the Seahawks were right up against it. As soon as the Super Bowl ended, people were coming out with articles telling us what the Seahawks needed to do (read: who they needed to cut) to be enough under the salary cap to fit in all of the guys we needed to fit in. Michael Bennett. An Earl Thomas & Richard Sherman extension. Another edge rusher, another interior lineman or two. Maybe some help for the offensive line. And, of course, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin. Would it even be POSSIBLE to do all the things we needed to do to go back to the Super Bowl next year? Or, would we have to make sacrifices that would ultimately hurt our depth going forward, making our chances of a repeat title a little less solid?
So, what happened? Well, we’ve been graced with this gift! Instead of a modest increase (in the $125 or $126 million range), we have been given a very big increase, to around $133 million. That’s an extra $10 million to throw around that we weren’t able to last year! What’s the big fucking deal? How is having MORE money for an ostensibly cash-strapped franchise a BAD thing?
Because everyone else has more money too.
Ol’ Deep Pockets Raiders down there in Oakland just got a little more healthy in their ability to throw money bins at free agents. And they’re not the only team like that. All over the league, you’ve got teams with tons of cap room looking to make immediate splashes to get back in the good graces of their fans.
Here’s the deal, though. The Seahawks have two guys we should be legitimately worried about losing: Michael Bennett and Golden Tate. Does this higher salary cap increase the chances of another team over-paying for either of these guys? I suppose. But, I would contend that if a team is willing to over-spend for these two guys, they would have done so regardless of where the cap ended up. Michael Bennett isn’t going to be offered $7-$8 million more than he would have under a lesser cap, just because! Furthermore, the Seahawks shouldn’t be worried about what other teams are willing to shell out anyway!
We didn’t get to where we are by playing ball the way other teams play ball. We have a bunch of very smart guys in our front office, headed by John Schneider and Pete Carroll. This influx of extra cap space isn’t going to make them lose their minds in free agency. They have a price in mind for guys like Michael Bennett, Golden Tate, and everyone else in the league. They may be willing to SLIGHTLY alter that price if it means bringing back a proven contributor, but they’re never going to get into a bidding war. They’ll just go out and get someone else to fill the void. There may not be another Michael Bennett out there on the market, because he’s really a one-of-a-kind talent. But, there could be a couple of lesser guys out there that we could bring in at a similar price that might add up to 80% of what Michael Bennett can produce. With the rest of the team set up, I’ll take 80% of Michael Bennett and I’ll like our chances to repeat very much. Same goes with Golden Tate. Same goes with everyone else.
There were teams out there with more money than us before this cap increase. Our odds of re-signing the guys we want to re-sign have not changed one bit. In fact, they may have increased. We have more money now, and we don’t have very many holes. We’ve got 57 guys signed up right now, and remember how many roster spots we’ll have in the pre-season. About 40 of those guys are more-or-less people you’d expect to be on our 53-man roster when we break camp. Sprinkle in some draft picks, and whoever we bring in/bring back from free agency, and there’s your team. So, it’s not like we have to go out there and beat out all the teams for a bunch of different guys. We just need a couple of important pieces, and maybe a few other depth pieces to compete for a roster spot. That’s it.
Also, people seem to be forgetting that Seattle is a destination now. All things considered, if the deals are close, would you rather play for a sure winner? Now, maybe if you’re Michael Bennett and this is your last big contract, you’re willing to go just about anywhere as long as they’re giving you the most money. Hell, you got your ring, right? But, if the money is CLOSE, then you’re most likely coming here. And, if not, then guess what? We’ll find some other veteran who’s never won a ring and get HIM to take less money to roll with us (Jared Allen, anyone?).
And this argument that Seattle won’t be able to sign anyone to a big contract because of Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson, and the like who are due hefty raises soon, just remember this: the salary cap will be going up by another $10 million or so in 2015 and again in 2016! The money will be there! The league is more popular than it has ever been; the revenue won’t STOP coming in! Quite frankly, I’m surprised the cap figures are only increasing by ten million a year. Seems like it should be more than that. But, either way, signing Bennett and Golden and Baldwin will NOT prevent us from signing Earl and Sherman and Russell.