Would Seahawks choose Quandre Diggs over Jamal Adams to keep Geno Smith?
Seattle needs cap space and there's one obvious place to go get it: Seaside Joe 1452
Lately, I’ve been suffering from a disorder that the medical community refers to as SEA, which stands for Streaming Expiration Anxiety.
The average American now has over six separate streaming subscriptions and when one of those services is set to expire, that person or family goes through a tremendous about of anxiety as they attempt to finally watch all the shows and movies that they had been putting off and talking themselves out of for months. If not years.
In my case, we decided to let go of Hulu and for me that meant finally watching seasons two through four of Atlanta. Normally this would not be a problem if Atlanta was mediocre like most modern TV shows, but unfortunately for someone suffering from a severe case of SEA, Atlanta is great.
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From having nothing to watch on Hulu (other than 30 Rock, which I can now watch with a subscription to Peacock) to suddenly having 30 episodes of a show to burn through in a matter of days. And worst of all, I had also just ordered a free week of Starz so I could watch Venom 1 and 2.
Streaming Expiration Anxiety can lead to perfectly normal adults making stupendously stupid subscription decisions.
At least now I had the opportunity to watch…*scrolls for 37 minutes*…Escape Room 2: Tournament of Champions.
We’re all going through some form of overchoice, also known as choice overload, at any given time. It could be choices of streaming services, it could be coffee order options, it could be that you’ve been needing to buy new curtains for six weeks but you just can’t decide which color!
In the case of Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider, or anybody making personnel decisions for an NFL team, it’s choice overload with players, prospects, and contracts.
I would feel bad for Schneider, if not for the fact that he’s not the one who has to choose through watching a season of What We Do In the Shadows or Spiderman: No Way Home. It’s probably much easier to decide between Phil Haynes or Gabe Jackson.
The biggest decision for Schneider and Pete Carroll right now is what to do about pending free agent Geno Smith and their other options at the sport’s most important position for next season and beyond. For the previous 10 years, the answer was so simple: From 2013-2021, the answer was to keep Russell Wilson. In 2022, the answer was to trade Wilson and to go cheap at the position.
A Pro Bowl season for one of those bridge quarterbacks has complicated the issue in 2023.
The ideal situation would be that the Seahawks could have as much cap space as the Chicago Bears do right now ($40 million more than any other team), in which case they could give Geno Smith the franchise tag and extend the bridge for another season in the hopes that either he proves to get better or a younger option steps up in the process of the next two drafts.
But with less than $16 million remaining in “effective cap space” according to OvertheCap.com right now, making moves to get the other $17 million that they would need for the QB franchise tag would prove not only complicated and costly for those Seattle players getting sacrificed in the process, it just doesn’t really add up to making any sense to me that Pete and John can afford a $32.4 million quarterback.
The Seahawks will probably still tag Geno and they will probably do it on March 6 or March 7, which 11-12 days from now. Then Seattle will have a week to let Geno talk to other teams, find out his free agent market value, and either work out a franchise tag trade with another organization as they did with Frank Clark in 2019, match the offer if they feel it’s affordable, release him from the franchise tag to free up the $32.4 million that they temporarily committed to him because they’ve found no trade is happening, or to somehow cut corners faster than Americans have cut the cord in order to pay him that unimaginable amount of money.
One such corner to cut would be at the position that the Seahawks value more highly than every other team in the NFL: Safety.
In 2022, the Seahawks ranked fifth in safety spending, $20,000 behind the Buffalo Bills for fifth place. In 2023, that number jumps from $18.1 million to $37 million, putting Seattle in first place for safety spending by a whopping $8 million. And in 2024, the Seahawks are projected right now to spend $39.7 million at safty, $9.2 million more than the second place Arizona Cardinals.
Individually, Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs each cost $18.1 million against the cap for 2023 (Adams makes $10,000 more than Diggs), ranking fourth and fifth, repectively. In 2024, Adam is the highest-paid safety in the NFL by a wide margin: $23.6 million to Derwin James at $19.9 million.
Diggs is currently set to have a $15.1 million cap hit in 2024.
There was a time during the 2022 season that Diggs looked like a potential cap casualty. Coming off of a major injury in 2021, Diggs wasn’t quite the same player imagined when he signed a three-year, $39 million contract last offseason and many wondered if he could be as valuable without a running mate like Adams.
Internally, Carroll may have never questioned his value but on the outside, there were debates and Diggs carried big cap savings if released this year.
Then Diggs posted his first two interceptions of the season against the Raiders in Week 12 and closed the year out as Seattle’s most valuable player on defense, including the game-winning play against the L.A. Rams to send the Seahawks into the postseason.
Diggs is now guaranteed to be on Seattle’s roster in 2023, having his salary guaranteed on the fifth day of the league year. Adams is also fairly comfortable in his position, as the Seahawks stand nothing to gain by releasing him even though he still hasn’t recovered from the quad injury that cost him 16 games and the playoffs.
Releasing Adams now would cost Seattle money, as would trading him, and there’s little chance that any team would take on his $11 million salary if moved before the season.
But the Seahawks could still make a move at safety right now that would free up $6.1 million against the 2023 cap even though it would also increase Seattle’s safety spending in 2024 to a more ridiculous sum, climbing over $45 million for basically two safeties.
And we haven’t even talked about the fact that Ryan Neal is a restricted free agent who could cost between $4-$6 million this season.
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Like some of you, I used to think that cutting a player with a post-June 1 designation simply meant that the team saved more money, but it’s never that easy. All that a post-June 1 cut means is that the team is pushing back what they owe the player by a year. It’s essentially the same deal when teams restructure the contracts of each player.
The Seahawks should not restructure the deal for Jamal Adams because they would be saving $6.6 million this year but increasing his salary cap hit to $27 million in 2024. That would be worse than Don’t Breathe 2, now available on Starz!
It would also make Adams more difficult to cut or trade in 2024.
However, the Seahawks maybe should restructure the contract for Diggs and prepare to trade or release Adams in 2024. By doing those two moves in order, the Seahawks would save about $9 million over 2023 and 2024.
Restructuring Diggs would save $6.1 million this season, but increase his 2024 cap hit to $21.5 million. That would make Diggs the second highest-paid safety in the NFL, behind Adams at $23.6 million.
But by releasing Adams in 2024, Seattle would save $9.4 million, leaving $14.2 million in dead cap for 2024 and $7.1 million in 2025.
With these two moves:
2023 cap total for Adams + Diggs (no changes): $36.2 million
2023 cap total for Adams + Diggs (res.): $29.7 million
2024 cap total for Adams + Diggs (no changes): $38.7 million
2024 cap total for Diggs (res.) + Adams (dead money): $35.7 million
If the Seahawks need to play Tetris with the salary cap to find money that they would pay for Geno, then safety is where they have tied up cash at an inordinate amount compared to the rest of the NFL. There are no moves to save money this year other than a restructure, and that decision has to be for Diggs, not Adams.
Then if Jamal Adams has a bounceback All-Pro campaign, what does Seattle do then? Are they going to pay $50 million for the safety position in 2024?
No. If Adams is actually that great and they want to keep him after all, they can restructure his contract in 2024 to save $7.6 million against the cap and bring his hit down to $16 million. Then the numbers would look like this:
2024 cap total for Diggs (post-res.) + Adams (‘24 res.): $37.4 million
This would bump Adams’ 2025 salary cap hit to an unreal $32.25 million, but there’s also the opportunity to extend him at that point if he’s on a Hall of Fame trajectory or to release him for cap savings.
The Seahawks may work to restructure Diggs anyway, with or without Geno Smith, because money is already tight and Adams is already halfway out the door. But Seattle can choose to just push their decisions back a year instead of suffering now…
Buying themselves a little more time until Streaming Expiration Anxiety hits them once again.
In Kenneth scenario, we did not draft a QB. Drew Lock is not under contract. If I am Drew Tampa looks better than Seattle for success. After all they want to win. Pete may want to win but we don’t because we want a top QB next year. So it is better to jettison Geno and suck big time with a much more difficult schedule.
Geno goes to the Commanders. They also want to win now and are not in position to draft a QB and when they dump Wentz (contract is not guaranteed this year) will have plenty of space to sign Geno. I think Washington Who is going to want to play for peanuts for an organization that dumps you even when you succeed.
My fave 30 Rock bit: