With star LT Duane Brown still holding out in Houston and Seattle’s offensive line still struggling, recent rumors have surfaced regarding a potential trade. And this isn’t just pure speculation — for a while now, many local writers have been hearing whispers of Seattle’s rumored interest in the star left tackle. These rumors aren’t coming out of left field.
With Luke Joeckel set to undergo a knee cleanup surgery (keeping him out for several weeks), Seattle may look to move Rees back to LG and either trade for Brown or sign free agent Branden Albert. Of course, the question at the center of all this is: can the Seahawks afford Brown? My short answer: yes. But it’s going to require a move or two.
Let’s start from the top. After moving some of Doug Baldwin’s money around and trading for Sheldon Richardson, the Seahawks are working with very little cap space (approximately $1-2M). The Texans, on the other hand, are dealing with around $16M in cap space. If Seattle wants to make a move for Brown, it will absolutely require a move to make it work. Per my favorite Texans Cap guys — the left tackle would cost $6,635,294 to roster the rest of the season.
With $1-2M in cap space, there’s several methods Seattle could fit the left tackle under the cap:
Option A: Trade Jimmy Graham
From a cap perspective, this is the most logical move. Jimmy carries a 2017 salary of $7.9M (his $2M roster bonus and $100K workout bonus were already paid out by Seattle). Removing Jimmy from the books would go a long way to make room for Brown. It would be close — but purely from a financial perspective (not considering draft compensation at all here), trading Graham in a 1-1 trade for Brown would probably fit under the cap. But it would be tight.
However, as I just mentioned, the compensation is probably the hiccup here. Do the Texans even want Jimmy? Could Jeremy Lane be a more desirable option? Moving Lane alone alone wouldn’t open up enough room. Michael Bennett’s name has also been thrown around — trading him would open up about $7M in cap space. The Texans just lost a couple of big pass rushers (JJ Watt + Whitney Mercilus) and suddenly that area looks like a need. Offloading Bennett would also help Seattle extend Frank and Sheldon a bit easier. However, I don’t think the Hawks want to trade Mike B — and I find his presence in a trade to be highly unlikely.
Rumor is Houston wants a first round pick as compensation.
Option B: Seattle uses the credit card
Just like the Sheldon trade with Doug Baldwin, Seattle could choose to convert a core player’s base salary into a signing bonus (effectively opening up cap space immediately, but increasing a player’s cap hit in future years — and ultimately leveraging the future). When you do this, you’re supposed to do it with a core franchise player — a player who is absolutely not going anywhere (hence, Doug Baldwin previously). Many cap guys call this the “cap credit card”. Historically, General Manager John Schneider has opposed this type of cap maneuvering.
But never say never — if it happens, it might be with either Russell or Earl.
Option C: Texans eat some of Duane’s salary
Unlike the MLB, in the NFL, you can’t truly eat a player’s salary. However, you kindddd of can.
If the Texans really wanted to move past Brown, they could convert most of his 2017 base salary into a signing bonus (lowering his current cap hit and spreading money into future years), thus allowing Seattle to fit him under their cap with minimal moves. Houston would then eat the future dead $$ and trade him to Seattle with a low 2017 cap hit.
Of course, with a move like this, there’s a ton of moving parts. Brown wants a new deal, so the re-negotiation of his deal with Seattle would likely be included in any trade. Nevertheless, Seattle needs to open up room for him somehow. A combination of the above mentioned options could occur, allowing the Seahawks to immediately upgrade their left tackle position. A Brown-Joeckel-Britt-Aboushi-Ifedi line might not be so bad.
Ciara would be happy, that’s for sure.