Agent Russell Okung has his work cut out for him, if his goal is to keep his client in Seattle.
Peter King of TheMMQB.com has a sobering stat for the week, relating to the Seahawks. He shows that the franchise has nearly $100 million per year tied up in only 10 guys. That leaves roughly $50 million (in 2015) for paying the other 43 guys on the 53-man roster, along with all the other extra players who need to be signed as members of the active roster land on injured reserve.
Five of those players now have eight-figure annual averages, up from three only three days ago. Quarterback Russell Wilson’s average burden increased by an order of magnitude (nerd), from $1.542 million to $17.82 million. Cornerback Richard Sherman remains at $14 million per year, running back Marshawn Lynch moves to $10.8 million for 2015, linebacker Bobby Wagner has increased to $10.75 million (another order-of-magnitude move), and safety Earl Thomas remains at $10 million even.
Behind them are tight end Jimmy Graham ($9 million), defensive end Cliff Avril ($7.13 million), defensive end Michael Bennett ($7.13 million), safety Kam Chancellor ($7 million), and linebacker K.J. Wright ($6.75 million).
Bennett skipped much of the offseason program in an effort to get more money, and Chancellor was a surprise holdout for the start of training camp. Three days in, the holdout continues.
And that’s where team goals and individual needs conflict. Players always should go for every last dollar during careers of limited duration, even if the pursuit of every last dollar could land the player (or some of his teammates, like Tony McDaniel) elsewhere.
“You’ve only got so much [cap room],” Sherman said Sunday, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. “If it was like baseball we’d have quite a team.”
They still have quite a team. The challenge will be holding that team all together as guys clamor to get compensation that better reflects their perceived value, commitment, and sacrifice.
“He has taken a stand and I support him,” Sherman said regarding Chancellor. “He’s like a brother to me and when you take a stand like this, you don’t get a lot of support from the fans about honoring contracts. But we understand the things he goes through week in and week out and the trauma he puts his body through and the sacrifices he makes.”
Sherman pointed out that players constantly face very real risk of injury, and that Chancellor played in the Super Bowl with an MCL that was “80 percent torn.”
“It’s a 100 percent injury rate, as they have said so eloquently time after time,” Sherman said. “But that’s what you play for, guys play to win because we obviously play to win. The compensation is just something that comes with it and guys appreciate compensation, guys appreciate being taken care of.
“But there is always more. Kam is making $4.5 million this year. I mean, you can go down the list of guys making more than Kam Chancellor this year that are not better than Kam Chancellor in any way, stretch or form. But that’s unfortunate. So hopefully they can come together on some number.”
If they do, it’ll reduce the number available for the other 43 guys who make the 53-man roster. Which will force the Seahawks to rely on plenty of younger guys with low fixed incomes via the rookie wage scale, who eventually will be in position to earn more money from the Seahawks or someone else after putting in three or four years of high-level performance.
Of course, if/when that happens there’s a chance that the Seahawks will choose the younger stars over some of the 10 players currently accounting for nearly $100 million in cap space.